School Helps Lead Local Government-to-University Initiative

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February 11, 2021

Pardee RAND is proud to celebrate its first anniversary as a local leader in the Volcker Alliance's Government-to-University (G2U) Initiative, partnering with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to grow the public sector talent pipeline.

By building regional networks of governments and universities and connecting hiring and research needs with local university capacity, G2U aims to address critical governance issues and strengthen governments' ability to develop policies and deliver services.

Sandy Buchan, Pardee RAND executive director of Career Services, said the initiative is important because the public service workforce continues to dwindle "due to competition for top talent coming from private industry, lack of faith in government, and a large exodus of retirements from both federal service and state government."

She cited findings that the federal workforce is aging rapidly. "One third will be eligible to retire between now and 2025, and only 6 percent of federal employees are under 30 years old, according to PEW. Their research indicates that 30 to 40 percent of state workers are eligible for retirement. Where are the new and replacement hires going to come from?"

“The G2U partnership hopes to identify areas we can all work on to reduce the talent pool gap in order to make our local, state, and federal governments more resilient.”

—Sandy Buchan

The L.A. G2U Regional Network is organized around two working groups focusing on (1) Why to Serve in Government and (2) How to Serve in Government. It recently launched a project exploring barriers to attracting talent to public sector careers and building a more diverse public sector workforce.

Pardee RAND professor Charles Goldman is leading the project, with support from professor Tepring Piquado and student Luke Irwin (cohort '16). Piquado explained, “Our effort seeks to document the challenges to attracting talented and diverse college and university students into public sector careers in the Southern California region.”

SCAG executive director Kome Ajise explained, "The project’s objectives are to document these challenges in the Los Angeles region, produce videos to support recruiting efforts, and support the Los Angeles G2U team in formulating action plans to address challenges and messaging for future communication campaigns. The steering committee includes member cities, as well as state, federal, and other local and university partners."

SCAG and Pardee RAND will host two webinars during the project research timeline to share information and broaden awareness and engagement.

Through the G2U Initiative, the Volcker Alliance aims to grow vibrant, regional networks connecting local, state, and federal government leaders with faculty and administrators from surrounding colleges and universities. Regional networks also engage nonprofit, civic, and private sector leaders interested in strengthening these relationships.

Buchan added, "The G2U partnership hopes to identify areas we can all work on to reduce the talent pool gap in order to make our local, state, and federal governments more resilient, and have a more beneficial impact on our lives."

To complement these efforts, the Alliance fosters a “network of networks” to facilitate the rapid exchange of ideas and best practices and provide engagement opportunities with national organizations allied with G2U aims.

The initiative grew out of a series of exploratory conversations that the Alliance hosted around the country to improve dialogue and explore collaborations between governments and universities within a region.

The pilot G2U Coalition launched in Kansas City in April 2019. Building on its success, in February 2020 the G2U initiative expanded to two additional sites, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Two more coalitions launched in August 2020, in Chicago and North Carolina.

—Monica Hertzman