case study

Unlocking Personalized Career Opportunities at the Office of Personnel Management

SkillsEngine's technology and industry-wide best practices let OPM actively serve its current and future workforce with the ability to grow their skillset and continuously progress in their career.


As our nation’s largest employer, the federal government is committed to exemplifying inclusive employment practices that advance the United States’ ideal of equal opportunity for all.

Under the charge of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), our nation’s human resource enterprise overseeing the U.S. federal civilian workforce, this mission translates into creating unbiased and barrier-free pathways of entry into the federal workforce and streamlining means of equipping employees with skills and professional opportunities beyond their current role.

In part of a longstanding partnership with OPM, SkillsEngine collaborated to solve a complex challenge: how to create a more personal, simplistic, and robust job and skills search experience. Federal role descriptions at times include jargon and complex processes, creating an opportunity to enhance usability for novice employees and external applicants.  

In part of accomplishing this goal, OPM opted to beta test solutions utilizing Open Opportunities, a product line within USAJOBS, which offers an internal job and skills acquisition “marketplace” solely available to the currently employed federal workforce.

OPM utilized SkillsEngine’s Data Services / APIs and technical advisory counsel to deploy the following streamlined job search solutions:

Simplified federal job descriptions:

In leveraging 300+ sub-competencies within SkillsEngine’s data library, OPM standardized job description requirements, responsibilities and priorities using a commonly-defined, jargon-free lexicon to clearly showcase which skills are required for the job and which skills an employee can expect to acquire within the role.

Federal hiring managers simply entered a free-format description of the role’s competency requirements and the description was sent to SkillsEngine via an API for translation. SkillsEngine would then send back standardized skills for each competency that would populate directly to the job description.

Real-time upskilling opportunities:

Federal employees in search of new skills, mentors, or temporary job details are able to create a promotional profile on Open Opportunities to seek out and apply to new professional development opportunities. Within a free-form box on their profile, employees list their biography, broad statements of interest, current skills, as well as those skills they hope to acquire.

This text is then sent to SkillsEngine via an API and translated into over 300+ sub-competencies within its data library. Each time the employee then logs into their profile, the system makes real-time suggestions of “recommended opportunities”, pulling both roles and upskilling opportunities, categorized by “good, better, and best” skills matches.

Additionally, as applicants search for new opportunities, they will see a measure of percentage fit for the role based upon current skill set.

Once an employee has completed a new role or external training to acquire a new skill, they then can demonstrate this skill acquisition with a badge upon their Open Opportunities profiles.

Expand this benefit to external job seekers:

In utilizing SkillsEngine’s Data Services and technical counsel, OPM will soon expand growth opportunities to internship candidates within student communities in search of internship and resume building opportunities in unbiased and skills-focused manners.  

In creating a job profile similar to that of a federal employee, professional experience and skills to date will be matched back to SkillsEngine’s extensive database of sub-competencies and translated into a standardized skills language to match applicants with available opportunities.

Outcomes & next steps:

With over 42,000 users to date, and nearly 15,000 active users within the past year, OPM is achieving its goal of creating a more personal job experience by utilizing SkillsEngine’s technology and industry-wide best practices to proactively serve its current and future workforce with the means to upskill and continuously grow in their career pathway.

“Our partnership with SkillsEngine has ensured the Office of Personnel Management can deliver on its promise of inclusive employment practices to create equal opportunity for all Americans in new ways. SkillsEngine’s Data Services solutions have unlocked a common language around competencies and enabled turnkey means for federal employees to connect with new skill sets and professional opportunities in an on-going and seamless manner,”

Michelle Earley
USAJOBS Program Manager,
Office of Personnel Management

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