State IT Pros in Tennessee Forced to Reapply for Their Jobs

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    Tech workers know the importance of keeping up with the latest technology, but the state of Tennessee is forcing the issue.

    All of the state’s 1,600 IT workers will have to reapply for their jobs in a restructuring designed to ensure the state has tech staff with the right skills in the right jobs.

    That, understandably, has those workers worried about their livelihoods, though state CIO Mark Bengel sought to quell their fears. He’s quoted at Nashville Public Radio as saying:

    “So what we’re trying to do is create a baseline. Our current classifications are probably 20, 30 years old, and really in many cases meaningless. The description doesn’t necessarily match the jobs people are doing.”

    The state has brought in consulting firm Science Applications International Corp. to evaluate the 23 state agencies’ IT operations and analyze the gap between the skills employees have and the ones they need. Most of its recommendations won’t take effect until the 2014-15 budget year, reports the Nashville newspaper The Tennessean.

    There’s some precedent for the skills evaluation. A massive ERP overhaul known as “Project Edison” a few years ago was considered quite the boondoggle.

    Gov. Bill Haslam, who previously told The Tennessean that some state computer systems are “in the ditch,” has set up a Business Solutions Delivery office to centralize IT expertise for contracting on future projects, the newspaper says.

    Existing staff are to get first crack at jobs in state agencies, with other state IT pros from other agencies to be considered before outsiders.

    The question is how much this will tick off the tech workers it has. There’s been a big push in the area, involving the Nashville Technology Council, to lure more IT pros to the area. Health care remains a major employer of tech workers in the area and big names including Vanderbilt University could siphon off some unhappy state workers.

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