Oregon IT office prepares for silver tsunami

As the baby boomers in the IT workforce retire, the Oregon CIO wants to cultivate interest in technology in grade school students.

Oregon is looking to adapt to the way new generations work and learn, state CIO Alex Pettit said.

He said the state is increasingly hiring workers for specific projects with shorter timelines rather than expecting someone to stay long term.

“Activities are becoming more project-oriented, that means limited duration positions,” Pettit said in a StateScoop TV interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ midyear conference in April in Baltimore. “I think that’s kind of in line with where the millennial generation is looking for [in] work.”

Pettit also said the benefits structure and retirement plan offered by the state need to change to attract this younger generation.

IT is linked to all parts of the “fabric of the community that we serve” and allows the state to better serve constituents and employees, he said. And it starts in schools. He said the state is working to blend technology into the current curriculum for students in kindergarten through high school.

He also talked about the state’s Base Camp project, which offers interconnecting procurement and training for all levels of public employees.

But he said there’s still more his office must do to achieve many of these goals.

“Admittedly, we’ve done not enough yet,” said Pettit, who came to his post in 2014. “My hope is, this next few years will be spent on … things I’m hoping will make a difference in citizen’s lives directly.

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