THE BLOG
12/20/2012 02:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 19, 2013

Getting Americans Back to Work: Safeguarding Your Federal Job in 2013

It's almost a new year, but high unemployment rates, sky high federal debt and our hyperpartisan Congress will unfortunately be grandfathered into the new year. In our post-election political landscape, the spotlight has turned to President Barack Obama and how he plans to change our nation's current circumstance.

Unemployment in particular has seen slow recovery. But unfortunately, federal employment has seen record drops and is projected to drop by nearly 11 percent from 2012 to 2022.

This points to my next question: What can we do to get Americans back to work while safeguarding our own jobs in 2013? The Department of Labor's (DOL) $12 billion budget summary for 2013 highlights several points on "Getting America Back To Work." If approved by Congress, this plan includes expanded training and employment opportunities for unemployed workers, dislocated workers, and vulnerable communities.

The plan highlights necessary changes and modifications that were needed to provide unemployed workers with a way to become more competitive. Moving forward into the new year, you should be doing the same, regardless of your employment status. There are some takeaways from the DOL budget that may help you safeguard your own job against possible cuts.

Training and employment programs

The DOL 2013 budget extends $6 billion for training and employment programs that, if approved, would ideally prepare workers by focusing on employment in industries that offer good wages and opportunities for advancement. These programs will also match current skills to new jobs and help develop skills needed to succeed on the job and stay employed.

These all sound like reasonable outcomes of training and employment programs in 2013. Not to regurgitate what the budget already states, but it's important to know. Why? Because the goals of these training programs are also how you can start safeguarding your own job.

Strategies to safeguard your own job: Pursue company training and educational opportunities. By attending as many training opportunities as possible, you're not only freshening up on your own skills, you're also showing initiative that might grab upper management's attention in a good way.

Innovation and new strategies for better employment

To spur job training innovation among states, the DOL 2013 budget allocates $125 million in the Departments of Education and Labor for the Workforce Innovation Fund. According to the budget summary, "this Fund will test new ideas and replicate proven strategies for delivering better employment and education results at a lower cost."

As you already know, federal programs are being forced to do more with less. You must be cost-effective while provided with diminishing resources. The Workforce Innovation Fund encourages innovation in employment and training approaches using a similar approach.

I'm hoping you can guess the strategy to take away from this fund.

Strategies to safeguard your own job: If you're not already doing this, show your passion and be innovative. The best way to safeguard any job against potential layoffs is to become irreplaceable. I know changes happens slowly in government -- but by improving the wheel or finding a niche that needs covered or expanded, you are making yourself more competitive within your department and beyond.

Support a nation of collaborators

This section is not included in the DOL's 2013 budget, but it's just as necessary to discuss going into 2013. As I mentioned previously, our hyperpartisan Congress (or our government in general) has modified how change occurs in our country. Instead of promoting collaboration, spite, ignorance, and pride fill our state seats. If our government can't collectively shift back toward collaboration and team building, then nothing meaningful will change.

Not all federal entities perform in this way, but there's certainly a shift occurring.

Strategies to safeguard your own job: Of course there's a takeaway for you from this. Becoming an intellectually curious collaborator versus a nay-sayer is important at work, too. If you're worried about budget cuts in your sector, dissect your budget clearly so you can anticipate where money is going, discuss where it can be saved, and collaborate with others to find solutions.

In 2013, our nation is faced with getting Americans back to work. And with trust in our government, we can expect great strategies will be implemented. But remember, no matter your employment status, your job maintenance isn't over. Professionals, federal or otherwise, who prepare themselves for any career change or shift while still employed are already thinking with an innovative mind.

How do you safeguard your job against potential cuts? What's your opinion on the DOL's Getting Americans Back To Work plan?

Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a platform that helps job seekers find a job via their social networks. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.