Studio Y: Understanding your next-generation workforce

With millennials making up just 7 percent of the federal workforce in 2013 — an eight-year low — federal managers acknowledge that in order to make their agencies representative of the American public, they need to hire quite a few more twenty and thirty- somethings.Understanding “Generation Y,” a generation that is often characterized as lazy, entitled and far too dependent on technology, is a challenge for government leaders, too.

Sean Herron, 25, and Annalee Flower Horne, 29, both started working for GSA’s 18-F innovation lab about six months ago. Their outlook on government and the work they do is anything but lazy or entitled.

“I like being of service,” said Flower Horne, an innovation specialist at 18F. “I like that I’m writing open-source tools that are helping the American people. And I probably could go to the private sector, but I would rather do work that matters than have stock-options.”

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Flower-Horne spent two years working for Congress before she joined an open government startup and learned to code.

Herron, a product lead and developer at 18F, taught himself to code as a way to make extra money during college to pay off his student loans. He started off as an intern for NASA when he was 19 and worked on open data projects for the Food and Drug Administration as a Presidential Innovation Fellow before coming to 18-F. Now at 25, he said it was the moment when he took an oath office at 18-F, that he realized he had the opportunity to do important work for a large group of people.”We’re driven by more than just having a steady career that pays the bills,” he said. “Everyone is looking to have meaning in the work that they’re doing and really have a meaningful experience in their job.”

Nicole Ogrysko

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