Matthew Swanson represents the workforce behind the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) workforce. An HR Information Systems Specialist and Hiring Management Program Director within the agency's Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer/Information Management Division, Matthew is a critical link in the hiring process for employees at DOE facilities across the nation.
Matthew describes his job as bridging the gap between Information Technology (IT) and Human Resources (HR). He serves as the point of contact for many IT governance projects and works to make the IT procurement process for DOE's human capital operations more customer friendly. He has been at DOE since June 2010 and — because of his participation in the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) — arrived with significant federal work experience already under his belt, despite his young age.
The WRP connects federal and private sector employers to qualified and pre-screened college students and recent graduates with disabilities. Matthew, who is visually impaired, found out about it through the Disability Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, shortly before completing his degree in technical communication. He had been planning to search for a job in Minneapolis, but when he heard that someone from NASA was coming to interview students for a federal work experience program, his interest was piqued. He was one of several people who met with the recruiter, but the only one who was not majoring in a technical field.
Not long after that, Matthew moved east instead of west, taking a temporary position in the Equal Opportunity Programs Office at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center just outside of Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for drafting and designing a wide range of informational materials. Six months later, he joined the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as an HR specialist, an appointment he obtained through the Federal Career Internship Program (FCIP). This eventually led to him becoming a regular federal employee and pursuing a Master's degree in Federal Human Resource Management at Catholic University.
"I attribute my success to the WRP," Matthew says. "This path would not have been possible had I not had so many educational opportunities that very first summer." Now, in his daily work, Matthew uses his unique combination of education and experience to help others pursue opportunities to contribute to the federal workforce as well.