Developing a State-of-the-Art Workforce

The public health workforce is our first line of defense against outbreaks and other health threats.

developing a state-of-the-art workforce
With this priority, we’re increasing the ability to use next-generation skills for actionable public health insights.

“Everyone who wants to do good things with data should have the intellectual support to do so.”

Chad Heilig, PhD, Associate Director for Data Science, CDC Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Science

Recruitment: We are working to attract a diverse, qualified public health science workforce.

Training: We are continuing to build the skills of the current and future workforce through team-based programs and career entry fellowships.

Forecasting future needs: We are modernizing and expanding the use of public health workforce data.

State and local support: We are supporting our state and local partners to build a public health workforce that represents the communities in which they work.

Reimagining data: Modernizing the hiring process

Across the entire government, about half of all open, competitive job announcements close with no job selection. To help, CDC recently partnered with the US Digital Service to pilot Subject Matter Expert-Quality Assessments (SME-QA), an innovative strategy being used by federal agencies to recruit world class talent as fast as possible.

Projects and activities

Explore a few of the many projects and activities that are developing a state-of-the-art workforce.

Reimagining data: Cloud-based, on demand training

With the development of new tools comes the need to help people learn how to use them. Housed within CDC’s new cloud-based platform, the Data Academy delivers a one-stop source to help users of all experience levels learn about the agency’s enterprise data analytics and visualization tools, including self-paced courses in Power BI, R, Socrata, and Tableau.

DMI in Action
Learning by doing...together

As part of modernization, CDC developed an innovative way to provide hands-on training and peer mentorship in data science, while at the same time working to address the nation’s most pressing health priorities.

Data Science Upskilling@CDC (DSU) is a team-based, project-driven program that takes a unique “learning by doing” approach. Participating on teams gives CDC staff unique opportunities to develop or build their data science skills, including machine learning and artificial intelligence training. Projects selected for DSU support modernization by improving data on priority topics like vaccine safety, HIV, tobacco, flu, hepatitis, heatwaves, hearing loss, COVID, cancer, injuries, and more.

Based on the same ideas as DSU, CSTE’s Data Science Team Training Program is a team-based, on-the job training program to promote data science upskilling at state, territorial, local, and tribal public health agencies. Learners in the 12-month program work collaboratively on a project that addresses a current agency need related to DMI.

Developing a State-of-the-Art Workforce: By the Numbers

As of July 2022, CDC staff had completed 3,202 training hours in CDC’s new cloud-based, on-demand Data Academy — a 25% increase in training over the previous 6 months.

CDC’s team-based Data Science Upskilling@CDC fellowship program began its first cohort with 79 unique learners on 18 teams.

The first cohort of Data Science Team Training (DSTT) represented 20 teams and 93 learners from a mix of state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments.

In the first test of the SME-QA hiring process at CDC, 600 applications were received in record time, and the qualified candidates were shared with hiring managers across the agency.