In 2014, the *California Government Operations Agency (GovOps) launched an initiative to revamp the way the State hires, trains, retains, and develops its workforce. The Civil Service Improvement (CSI) Initiative was a bold, but honest attempt at revamping bureaucracy to bring it into modern times. Acknowledging this effort required new ways of thinking, the Agency Secretary of GovOps, Marybel Batjer, made an active effort to ensure work-groups formed for this initiative and sought input from recent civil service hires.
In a state as diverse as California, there remains a need for a workforce that can represent multiple stories. A diversity of experience and thought at all levels is needed throughout the State. Furthermore, as a result of the economic downturn, the State had less than 1% of “millennial” civil service hires resulting in an unintentional divide of generations across civil service. To this end, Secretary Batjer and other leaders hosted a “Millennial Brown Bag” inviting passionate public servants to share their stories. They spoke about the challenges experienced while applying to State jobs, silos within government, and the opportunities the State had to remediate them. Public servants did not have a platform nor a space to come together and actively break the unintended silos of government.
The Rise of NxtGov
NxtGov launched on February 2, 2017 with support from GovOps and many other public servants. NxtGov was born out of the need to ensure public servants would have a space and voice in important government initiatives impacting the workforce. We recognized that it was not just millennials that wanted change. We rebranded the term “millennial” to include all generations because true change requires collective action from a diverse community.
NxtGov is a professional network of people passionate about public service, improving our community, and the overall success of society. We recognize that to drive transformational change, there is a need to actively collaborate across sectors. The core of our work is built on our values to serve, collaborate, and inspire. To this end, NxtGov focuses on a few core program areas and values:
- Recruiting the next generation of public servants.
- Empowering change agents throughout government to be NxtGov Ambassadors.
- Consulting with California government entities looking to incorporate the perspective of the new workforce into their projects and strategic agendas.
- Giving back to our community by coordinating regular community engagement events and forming partnerships with local nonprofits.
- Expanding our network across silos and sectors by building our membership.
- Providing professional development opportunities for current members.
NxtGov continues to evolve and grow. In November 2018, we hosted an Executive Team election. The new Executive Team leads the program areas and our membership has expanded along with our partnerships with state government, private sector, local government, and nonprofits.
Spaces like NxtGov are unique. Public service is an honorable and hard endeavor. However, when you have a safe space and a community to collaborate and experiment your innovative thoughts, it makes our work much more rewarding and fulfilling.
*The California Government Operations Agency (GovOps) is a state entity focusing on improving government. It was created in 2013 to increase collaboration across the operations of all state government, including the task to ensure departments had the right people, the right tools, and the processes in place to deliver services to all Californians. GovOps is an umbrella to many departments that provide services to other government entities including the core functions of technology, procurement, and human resources.