The FINANCIAL — IBM on October 15 announced that the Peace Corps is implementing new cloud-based capabilities from IBM to recruit applicants and fill volunteer openings worldwide. Using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering as part of its overall talent management program, the Peace Corps is one of the first federal agencies to embrace new, proactive approaches in engaging potential candidates.
The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide, according to IBM.
Since most volunteers typically serve on two-year assignments, there are always openings to fill. At the same time, the Peace Corps wants to increase transparency for applicants, including exploring the incorporation of more social and mobile capabilities. Using cloud makes that possible. According to IDC’s recent federal cloud computing forecast, the federal government is expected to invest more than $9 billion in cloud computing by 2018.
In 2010, the Peace Corps selected Kenexa (acquired by IBM in 2012) to modernize its Volunteer Delivery System that was comprised of silos, disparate databases and multiple organizational practices. As part of the new five-year contract, the Peace Corps is advancing its recruiting and talent management platform to include the full IBM Kenexa Talent Suite, a SaaS that will run on SoftLayer’s Federal cloud infrastructure in a hybrid environment integrating with applications that run internally at the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps plans to take advantage of the platform’s social capabilities that allow applicants to connect to each other and Peace Corps staff prior to going overseas.
“Federal agencies are viewing cloud much more strategically than infrastructure alone,” said IBM U.S. Federal General Manager Anne Altman. “For the Peace Corps, it’s about engaging an audience that wants to actively participate in the volunteer application process and is accustomed to using new tools for such interactions.”