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Highlights

Recognizing the importance of human capital to information technology (IT) and the need to improve the skills of federal IT workers, Congress created the Information Technology Exchange Program (ITEP) as part of the E-Government Act of 2002. ITEP aims to improve federal IT skills through exchanges of staff between the government and the private sector. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was required to issue implementing regulations, which it did in September 2005, and to report semiannually to the Congress. OPM's regulations require that each participating agency develop an ITEP plan before proceeding with exchanges. Agencies' opportunity to begin exchanges ends in December 2007. GAO is required to evaluate the program by December 2006. As agreed, GAO's objectives were to determine (1) the status of the program and (2) challenges facing agencies. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed key documents and interviewed OPM, participating agencies, and others.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Personnel Management As part of OPM's responsibilities under the E-Government Act of 2002, the Director of OPM should include in its semiannual reports to Congress the number of exchanges that have occurred, as required by law.
Closed - Implemented
OPM agreed with, and took action that addressed, this recommendation. Specifically, in its semiannual E-government reports that were submitted to Congress in April 2007 and October 2007, the agency included information pertaining to the number of ITEP exchanges that had occurred. In this regard, the reports noted that no exchanges had occurred.
Office of Personnel Management As part of OPM's responsibilities under the E-Government Act of 2002, the Director of OPM should include in its semiannual reports to Congress the status of efforts to address challenges facing agencies in implementing ITEP exchanges and whether these efforts are leading to exchanges.
Closed - Implemented
OPM took action that addressed this recommendation. Specifically, OPM included in its April 2007 semiannual E-Government report to Congress information relating to agency efforts to address challenges in implementing ITEP exchanges. For example, among the challenges noted was that employee exchanges could hinder future business, since a company with an employee at an agency might be seen as having an unfair advantage in bidding on agency procurements. OPM stated in its reports that agency program officials were working with their general counsels to resolve the challenges.

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