Magazine article Workforce

NASA

Magazine article Workforce

NASA

Article excerpt

In 1915, when aviation was still in its infancy, Congress created an organization that would supervise the scientific study of flight. That organization evolved into NASA four decades later when Congress formed a civilian agency to continue the work. Today, virtually every aircraft in use utilizes technology pioneered by NASA. And new industries have been built on the technology that made space exploration possible, including personal computers, advanced medical equipment and communications satellites.

How did you end up with this particular job in this industry? I've worked in some aspect of HR at NASA since I came here in 1979. I got into government work initially on a tip from an employment counselor who told me the government hires college graduates who take a civil service exam.

What is your background? I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in zoology. Then I got out of the army in 1971 and began working for what's now called the office of personnel management. It's the federal government's central personnel office.

What are the biggest chal- lenges of your industry? Work- ing in a government agency is perhaps different than the business world because we I have a set of customers that's pretty varied. We have the higher level management, plus Congress. A Congress asks questions about the agency s workforce, about the budget and so forth. And then we've got the administration which has two outside entities-the office of management and budget, and the office of personnel management-both of which we have to answer to in one way or another. …

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