More upward mobility, less outsourcing
JLMC promotes new skills database at CalPERS Information Technology Services Branch


When Job Steward Lonnie “Tony” Owens attended a Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) meeting last year, he came prepared to present management with the concerns of his CalPERS coworkers in the Information Technology Services Branch (ITSB).

What he provided was perspective regarding the staff’s frustration with the department’s lack of communication concerning their critical skills and training. That vacuum of communication too often leads to work being outsourced that could have been done by existing state staff.

He summed it up to the JLMC thusly:  “We don’t know what people know.”

Management agreed that there was no way to effectively assess the collective knowledge, skills and abilities of current staff. 

To his surprise, a few weeks later, Owens learned his suggestion to implement a skills-repository/database would be instituted as a project to be piloted by the Information Technology Services Branch (ITSB) and that he had been selected to be part of the project team by the Project Sponsor, ESDD Division Chief and JLMC committee member, Timothy Taylor.

The resulting application, illuminet, is an internal online skills repository modeled after LinkedIn that provides users the opportunity to create a professional profile highlighting current roles and skill sets, education and certifications.

Profiles can include the skills workers already possess as well as the skills they desire to learn. Expert level users can tag themselves as potential mentors, meaning they are ready, willing and able to share their knowledge.

illuminet is available for the ITSB at CalPERS as a pilot for an introductory period before it is rolled out to the entire organization. A full-featured version of the application is currently under review by CalHR for possible deployment across multiple state agencies.

“The development of skills-based networking applications, such as illuminet could really make a significant change in how much work is outsourced,” said Brenda Modkins, chair of Bargaining Unit 1. “It really shows how JLMCs bring members into the conversation in meaningful ways.”