WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a provision to increase the number of young Americans entering public service championed by Future Forum, an influential group of young Democratic Members of Congress who advocate for issues and opportunities important to younger Americans. The measure, spearheaded by Future Forum Chair Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Representative Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., addresses a potentially debilitating shortage of government workers in the coming decades by authorizing federal agencies to expedite the hiring of college graduates and post-secondary students. The amendment was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which was passed by the House and is likely to soon be approved by the Senate and sent to the President to be signed into law. Murphy worked on this provision with Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who has been a leader on this issue.
“Our federal workforce is desperately in need of young talent to drive innovation and lead our country towards a brighter future,” said Murphy. “I’m proud that Future Forum successfully worked to include this commonsense measure that will increase access to public service jobs for young Americans who wish to serve their country.”
“The federal government’s ability to attract and retain talented young workers has steadily declined,” said Kilmer. “Forty years ago, more than a fifth of the federal workforce was under 30 years old. Today, that figure hovers between five and seven percent. We need to do a better job of making sure that young people with new, innovative ideas and perspectives – who will ultimately form the backbone of the federal service – are welcomed into civilian service to our country.”
“Successful American companies routinely recruit and hire employees under 30, and would find themselves greatly disadvantaged if they had to operate with the federal government’s weak pipeline of young talent,” said Max Stier, President of the Partnership for Public Service. “Now, thanks to a bipartisan, bicameral effort, Congress has given agencies a new tool to recruit and hire the next generation of public servants.”
According to the most recent U.S. Office of Personnel Management analysis of federal employment, only six percent of the approximately two million federal civilian workers are under the age of 30, far below the 21 percent that this demographic group constitutes in the private sector. Additionally, research from the Partnership for Public Service indicates that the underrepresentation of young people in government can be explained in part by a complex and burdensome process that discourages them from pursuing opportunities in federal service.
Future Forum is a generational caucus of 50 young House Democrats—72 percent of whom have prior experience in public service. Since its inception, Future Forum has held events in more than 50 cities in an effort to engage with millennial and Gen Z Americans where they live, work, and go to school on issues important to them.