Recruiting Diverse, World-Class Talent

We’re growing CDC's data science capacity to make sure we're ready for the future

rainbow-colored hands reaching toward a star

Did you know that, across the entire government, about half of all open and competitive job announcements close with no job selection?

Seeking solutions...

Over the past decade, state and local government health agencies have lost at least 40,000 positions – more than one-fifth of the total workforce.1

As part of our goal to develop a state-of-the-art workforce, we need to make sure open positions get filled quickly and with qualified people. In 2022, CDC partnered with the U.S. Digital Service to pilot Subject Matter Expert-Quality Assessments (SME-QA), an innovative strategy used by federal agencies to recruit world class and diverse talent as efficiently as possible.

SME-QA is based on the idea that subject matter experts (SMEs) are uniquely positioned to help hiring managers find the right candidates. Having experts assess qualification early in the hiring process can help hiring managers receive higher quality candidate lists and hire qualified applicants more quickly.

In addition to being a streamlined process for hiring managers, SME-QA also simplifies the process for the applicant and improves the overall experience for job candidates. In the first test of the new hiring process at CDC, 600 applications were received in record time, and qualified candidates were shared with hiring managers across the agency.

Attracting and retaining the best talent will accelerate the work currently underway and will maximize CDC’s modernization success. It means we will be able to better identify, recruit, and retain a critical workforce in Health IT, data science, and cybersecurity who can be stewards of larger quantities of data and tools, and who can help public health work better and faster to generate meaningful public health insights.

5 part SME-QA process: 1) job analysis workshop; 2) job announcement; 3) resume review; 4) assessments; 5) issuing a certificate

The Subject Matter Experts-Quality Assessment (SME-QA) strategy is being piloted to recruit world-class, diverse talent. The accessible version of the process is available at

Spotlight: Bringing industry innovators to CDC

Innovation isn’t just about technology — it’s also about embracing new ideas. In 2022, we welcomed four new Presidential Innovation Fellows who bring private-sector technical experience to support modernization goals for the whole agency. As industry experts, they are already applying their experience as changemakers to help us all think differently and come together across CDC’s many projects, programs, and centers.

1. de Beaumont Foundation. When We Need Them Most, the Number of Public Health Workers Continues to Decline. Accessed March 10, 2023.