Hiring & Recruitment

Language Specialist Corps - State Department

A GAO Report on Foreign Languages: Human Capital Approach Needed to Correct Staffing and Proficiency Shortfalls indicates that personnel with foreign language skills are needed in a range of federal agency programs and missions. It states in part:

 

“In light of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the importance of foreign language skills will increase as the United States expands its efforts to counter terrorist activities. The federal agencies we reviewed face shortages of translators and interpreters, as well as staff with other foreign language skills. These shortages strain agency operations that depend in part on language-skilled employees to meet increasingly complex missions. Agencies have pursued strategies such as training, targeted recruitment efforts, and contracting to fill documented skill gaps. However, these strategies have not been completely effective in closing those gaps.”

 

The State Department has an available pool of native language speakers within our ranks, but as usual, we did not see it fit to factor them in our strategic human capital planning. We have shortages of translators and interpreters in the Federal Government, why can’t we put to use FS family members and partners with native foreign language proficiency? How many foreign born spouses do we have? How many native born spouses do we have who have already availed themselves of language training at FSI? More than I could count. Test them at FSI, keep them on the roster and reward them hiring points for keeping/improving language capabilities, put them on call as translators and foreign language specialist as needed by the Government. With a Language Specialist Corps composed of native speakers from the Foreign Service community, we would not only be filling up a documented skills gap in the Federal Government, we would also give our family members another option at creating a portable career at home and abroad. (Source: Diplopundit)

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Idea No. 1085