The word "surge" got a bad rap during Hurricane Katrina when related to Gulf waters breaching the levees and flooding into New Orleans.
In some circles, it was further tarnished when used to describe troop buildups in Iraq (though that Surge is now widely believed to have been effective).
Now, the word surge is being used to describe hiring mandates for government agencies and programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – informally known as "President Obama's economic stimulus package."
The legislation from Congress requires certain agencies to hire high volumes for mission critical programs. And the challenges facing those agencies (overhaul the health-care system, police new banking regulations, dismantle our dependence on oil) also require a higher quality of executives, managers and team leaders. And the technical nature of the challenges requires federal employees with more specialized skill-sets.
There is no shortage of wonderful, qualified people currently unemployed and looking for quality work, so what's the problem? "The federal government is a terrible recruiter," according to Max Stier - President of the Partnership for Public Service - a nonprofit group which promotes federal employment. Stier notes that private companies out-recruit the public sector in the trenches and that it often takes six to nine months to get a hiring decision. When it comes to upgrading human capital in the federal government, there are many other problems facing Uncle Sam and President Obama, which Mr. Stier has chronicled in op-ed pieces for the Washington Post and Boston Globe over the past few months.