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Want to Make America Great? Invest in the Public Sector Workforce

It’s only March and 2019 has already been tough on the public sector workforce. Over a month with no paycheck, images of federal workers relying on the safety net services they are responsible for crafting, and the politicizing of the value of government work. The truth is, some of our country’s most important minds work in, and lead, public service organizations. Our public sector workforces are facing head on, the challenges of income inequality, extreme poverty, healthcare, addiction, sprawl, pollution, you name it, and they are finding innovative approaches, being asked to do more and go further with less and less resources.

It’s not just the most recent federal shutdown that has set back the ability of government to perform at peak levels. It’s actually a pattern of years of divestment in the American public sector’s skills. As a nation we’ve shot ourselves in the foot by cutting critical programs that improve the skills and capacity of the civil service. In so doing, we’ve undermined the impact government staff can have to improve people’s quality of life.

It’s high time to invest in the people who have committed themselves to the service of the public. That’s why the Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) at Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, launched the What Works Cities (WWC) Academy, to help governments meet the big challenges they face by deepening the skills through training—from those responsible for front line service delivery to those tasked with policy reforms.

The WWC Academy is transforming the way public sector employees are developing their know-how by providing high quality training options in a variety of formats. Our curriculum is unique in that it combines improving necessary data and critical thinking skills, flexible course options (online and onsite) that meet students where they are, and access to expert instructors with practical government experience.

After nearly four years of working with local governments across the country and around the world, we have witnessed firsthand countless of dedicated and passionate public servants who are committed to serving their communities. With an investment in the public sector workforce, we can leverage expertise and dedication to better the way we all live. Practical skills, such as asking the right questions to deliver the right outcomes, maximizing the potential of data systems within government, and strengthening relationships between the public sector and the community, will accelerate government’s ability to accomplish incredible feats on behalf of the people it serves.

The public sector is hungry for skills. And the WWC Academy is here to help them not just fill that gap, but rise to greater heights. If you are an employee of a city that’s interested in training, we encourage you to apply for What Works Cities’ Certification. Simply by completing the application any employee of your city government will be able to take advantage of the WWC Academy curriculum for free.

Over the last several weeks, it cannot be underscored enough the essential role our public workforce plays. Now let’s recommit and reinvest in these employees who make America great each and every day.


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