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COMPUTER HARDWARE & SERVICES | IT Services

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Acquired | Acquired

About FDC

Provider of computer systems integration and IT services. The company provides turn-key, fully integrated system solutions and professional services to meet the information management needs of the federal government. The company, organized into three separate operating groups which are; systems and technology, systems integration, and science and engineering, has managed and implemented numerous government contracts nationwide.

FDC Headquarter Location

Bethesda, Maryland, 20810,

United States

(301)446-3420

Latest FDC News

Data Literacy in Government: How Are Agencies Enhancing Data Skills?

Jul 26, 2021

The federal government is vast, and the challenge of understanding its oceans of data grows daily. Rather than hiring thousands of new experts, agencies are moving to train existing employees on how to handle the new frontier. Data literacy is now a common buzzword, spurred by the publication of the  Federal Data Strategy 2020 Action Plan  last year and the growing  empowerment of chief data officers in the government . The document outlines a multiyear, holistic approach to government information that includes building a culture that values data, encouraging strong management and protection and promoting its efficient and appropriate use. “While the Federal government leads globally in many instances in developing and providing data about the United States and the world, it lacks a robust, integrated approach to using data to deliver on mission, serve the public and steward resources,” the plan notes. A key pillar of the plan is to “identify opportunities to increase staff data skills,” and it directs all federal agencies to undertake a gap analysis of skills to see where the weaknesses and needs lie. It’s not the first time the government has addressed the issue of data literacy. In 2019, The federal CIO Council  launched the Federal Cyber Reskilling  Academy and received 2,300 applications. It ultimately chose 25 employees without IT backgrounds and trained them in basic cybersecurity defense techniques. The workers graduated but then found they couldn’t ascend the government’s pay ladder to new positions that required the skills. The problem was bureaucratic red tape that requires a mandatory minimum of time in a lower-level job before moving up. “It was a beautiful experiment,” Dorothy Aronson, CIO of the National Science Foundation, told  Fifth Domain  at the time. “At the end, could they get hired? No. Okay, so what did we learn from that? … There’s a pool of people who are talented and could do it. Yes, you can train them quickly.” What Is Data Literacy? Kristin Saling is clear on the definition of data literacy: “It’s whether someone can speak, read and write data and translate it into actionable information.” As acting director of people analytics for the Army, she has her work cut out for her. The goal is to take 1.4 million service members and get them to a base level of data fluency, creating an ecosystem to fully data-enable the military branch. “Everyone needs to be able to use the cutting-edge data analytics platforms,” she says. To better approach the vast challenge, the Army broke its personnel down into five groups: core data scientists, solutions implementers, leadership, data stewards and mission enablers. That last cadre includes contracting and legal teams with little knowledge of data management. The service customized the curricula for each group, Saling says. “We want to make it as accessible and self-driven as possible,” she notes. Ninety percent of the instruction will be in-house going forward. “We have a lot of skill and talent in this area,” Saling explains. That includes U.S. Military Academy junior faculty already posted throughout the Army. Notably, the training effort has strong support from the top brass. “We’re not taking time to convince people you need data in your life,” she says. “People are my most important resource,” says Eileen Vidrine, chief data officer for the Air Force. “Investment in them is critical to moving forward and an opportunity to optimize performance.” The Federal Data Science Training Program The Office of Management and Budget launched  the federal Data Science Training Program  in the fall of 2020. It included 61 federal employees from 20 agencies. The goal this time was to retrain workers to use new skills in their current positions. Key areas of focus included Python and R languages, machine learning, design thinking, data mining, data visualization, statistics, and enhanced presentation skills. Students first completed 28 online courses delivered through LinkedIn Learning in the fundamentals of data science tools and techniques over 18 weeks. The second phase transitioned to virtual, instructor-led classes completed over 10 weeks. Participants completed more than 3,700 hours of online learning. Finally, students were required to deliver a final capstone project to their agencies’ leadership. “Feedback from agencies has been overwhelmingly positive regarding the pilot cohort,” an OMB spokesperson tells FedTech. “The graduates are returning to their regular duties with a deeper understanding of and competencies with data science tools and techniques. We are carefully considering the outcomes of the program and determining how best to build on this success in the future.” Leading the charge on data literacy are federal chief data officers, like Ted Kaouk at the Agriculture Department. The title is a new one at agencies and underlines the recognition that data is marbled through government organizations and increasingly drives missions. Kaouk says he prefers the term “data acumen” to describe the training effort. The USDA is currently conducting a gap analysis per the Federal Data Strategy. “We’ve been assessing data skills broadly — visualization, quality predictive analytics, data prep and aggregation,” he says. “We need employees to leverage these skills to do higher-level activities.”

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FDC Patents

FDC has filed 2 patents.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Character sets
  • Cloud infrastructure
patents chart

Application Date

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Title

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Status

5/19/2017

7/27/2021

Woodworking, Threaded fasteners, Tap dance, Aerodynamics, Vaudeville performers

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Application Date

5/19/2017

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Grant Date

7/27/2021

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Title

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Related Topics

Woodworking, Threaded fasteners, Tap dance, Aerodynamics, Vaudeville performers

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