Advancing Government with Digital Natives: How the next-generation of tech-minded youth is fueling innovation in government

By Rebecca Hannahs, Vice President of People & Organization, Siemens Government Technologies

rapid digital transformation

As the defense industry undergoes rapid digital transformation, recruiting and retaining top talent is mission critical for aerospace and defense companies.

In 2024, a massive and fundamental transformation is underway across the aerospace and defense industry. From artificial intelligence to augmented reality, the sector is experiencing wide scale digitalization.

Over the next decade, government contractors will increasingly recruit, hire, train, and rely on a tech-savvy workforce that can implement and utilize technologies to support vital government programs. As digital natives, this new generation of talent has been immersed in modern technology as an integrated part of their daily lives, enabling them to seamlessly adapt with rapid changes in software engineering tools and processes.

But as government missions become increasingly complex, the need to attract talent for roles in aerospace and defense is facing stiff competition from commercially focused firms able to move quickly from talent recruitment to project assignment and career progression. While no one solution is the answer, talent sourcing requires a holistic approach with on the job learning programs serving as a key differentiator for recruitment and retention, as cited by a recent McKinsey & Company report.

So how can government contractors address these challenges? In this article, I explore the critical role tech-savvy talent will play in the digital transformation of government; highlight the unique skills of this demographic; and discuss how companies like Siemens Government Technologies (SGT) are leveraging training programs to fast-track this talent pool to help government innovate faster, accelerate modernization, and strengthen overall security and resiliency.

technological advancement
boost of technology perspectives

Tech-savvy youth: the catalyst of government innovation

This generation, often referred to as digital natives, are the vanguards of a digital revolution. Raised in an environment where technology is second nature, they bring an unparalleled understanding of emerging technologies and a fresh perspective to the table. This innate familiarity with the digital realm positions them as invaluable assets in the quest for government innovation.

Understanding the unique skills of tech-savvy youth

  1. Digital fluency and tech proficiency - Tech-savvy youth are fluent in the language of technology. Their deep understanding of digital tools, programming languages, and emerging technologies positions them as change agents for government agencies looking to modernize their systems.
  2. Agile development and rapid prototyping - Tech-savvy youth are accustomed to agile development methodologies and rapid prototyping. These approaches can significantly accelerate the pace of innovation within government agencies. By embracing iterative processes, agencies can quickly test and implement solutions, allowing for faster adaptation to changing requirements and reducing the time from ideation to implementation.
  3. Data-driving decision making - The ability to harness and analyze data is a cornerstone of modern governance. Tech-savvy individuals are well-versed in data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Their skills can empower government agencies to make informed decisions, identify trends, and optimize resource allocation, ultimately leading to more effective and data-driven governance.
  4. Fresh perspectives on problem solving - The digital generation brings a unique perspective to problem-solving. Their ability to think outside the traditional bureaucratic box can breathe new life into stagnant processes. Whether it's optimizing workflows, improving product development, or finding innovative ways to use data, tech-savvy youth can inject creativity into government missions, leading to novel and effective solutions.
  5. Collaboration and knowledge sharing - Tech-savvy youth are inherently collaborative, often engaging in open-source projects and online communities. This collaborative mindset can be harnessed within government agencies to promote knowledge sharing, foster innovation, and break down silos. By creating platforms for cross-agency collaboration, agencies can tap into a wealth of collective expertise.

Embracing the skills of the tech-savvy generation is not just an option; it's a strategic imperative for enabling a government that is agile, responsive, and ready for the challenges of the digital age. From helping to modernize legacy systems to strengthening cybersecurity practices and accelerating product development, the unique skills of the digital native generation are an operational advantage that ensures competitive longevity.

Use-case: Accelerating the deployment of digital twins

Digital twins have the potential to revolutionize how government agencies operate, innovate, and deliver services. A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical system, process, or entity, and it can provide real-time insights, simulation capabilities, and data-driven decision-making. However, while government was an early adopter of digital twin technologies, it existed in limited domains. Now, as part of the 2022 US National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing, accelerating the adoption and deployment of digital twins across government agencies is considered critical to help advance a wide array of missions.

In recent years, SGT has been committed to developing strategies to help agencies adopt and adapt to deeper digitalization for faster innovation. Yet, adopting this technology at-scale continues to be a challenge. The solution is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and a barrier-breaking component is having personnel with the required skillset to expedite the implementation and utilization of digital twins in government operations. This is where the tech-savvy generation can provide significant value.

increasing cybersecurity development
developing strategies for faster technological innovation

For example, SGT is leading a first-of-its-kind effort with the U.S. Navy to deploy the world’s largest industrial digital twin to achieve greater efficiency and productivity at the nation’s four public shipyards. These digital twins serve as the foundational enablers for the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) to modernize facilities, improve maintenance and repair processes, and provide greater visibility into existing and future operations. SGT is also working with the U.S. Air Force to standardize its product lifecycle management using Siemens Teamcenter, a modern, open and adaptable PLM solution that is part of the Xcelerator portfolio that can help connect people and processes across functional silos by providing a digital thread for innovation.

For both projects, SGT assigns highly skilled, integrated teams composed of engineers, developers, programmers, project managers and sales associates to harness the full potential of our digital technologies. Many of the Siemens personnel assigned to these projects include some of our best and brightest early career professionals who are well-versed in programming languages, have a deep understanding of the Siemens software portfolio, and an innate familiarity with data analytics and machine learning to enable the extraction of valuable insights from complex data. Their expertise, problem-solving abilities, collaborative mindset, and commitment to staying at the forefront of technology is invaluable for our government partners.

Upskilling: The key to unlocking digital transformation

One of the core challenges of talent recruitment is efficiently and effectively transitioning recent college graduates into real-world professional settings. Upskilling, the process of acquiring additional knowledge and skills to enhance one’s existing expertise, can bridge this gap by providing training not only in areas of data analytics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other crucial digital competencies, but also professional and leadership development.

Siemens’ Genesis Graduate Program

In the examples of the U.S. Navy shipyard modernization effort and U.S. Air Force PLM projects, several of the assigned Siemens personnel were graduates of the Siemens Genesis Graduate Program, a four-month intensive training program that trains recent engineering college graduates on the Siemens Digital Industries Software Xcelerator portfolio. Students undergo a rigorous 16-week course hosted by Siemens leadership and training teams that focuses on developing expertise in Siemens’ full suite of software products, as well as honing soft skills, including communication, collaboration, sales, and customer interaction and implementation. The program benefits not only the students, but also Siemens and the customers the company serves.

The program is designed to accelerate and enhance the transition from academic to real-world professional settings. It places recent graduates into an environment where they quickly learn the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio, a platform that is used by multiple government agencies and contractors, including the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and Northrop Grumman, to name a few.

Xcelerator Key Image
Rey Rasco

“Mentoring and training programs like Siemens’ Genesis Graduate Program enable companies to fill skills gaps and fast-track talent with high-performance outcomes. This program was implemented in 2006, and since then, we have seen tremendous success and growth within the graduates. This program is a way for our company to attract top talent, help them develop the specific skills needed in real-world settings, and better serve our customers.”

- Rey Rasco, Digital Industries Senior Resource Manager

“One of the key benefits of the Siemens Genesis Graduate Program is that the graduates have almost the immediate ability to communicate to any group of people across the project lifecycle – whether its engineers or C-suite executives – how our software works and the value it can deliver. Without this intensive training, it’s nearly impossible to understand how our software can be deployed for multiple applications. And we see a real benefit among our customers who recognize our ability to assign engineers, project managers, and sales associates who can hit the ground running and expedite timelines.”

- Aaron Johns, Technical Strategy and Pre-Sales Director, Digital Solutions

Aaron Johns
Sandeep Mohan

Sandeep Mohan, Solutions Architect of
Siemens PLM Software, SGT

Through the Genesis Program, graduates gain exposure to industry practices, standards, and trends through training. They also engage in team-building activities and develop critical collaboration skills that are vital in the fast-paced, ever-evolving environment of today’s defense industry. “What I found particularly useful from going through the Genesis Program is the camaraderie with my peers,” says Sandeep Mohan, Solutions Architect of Siemens PLM Software at SGT. “We succeeded together. We failed together. Learning how to collaborate with your team members and work through complex challenges is fundamental to innovation. This aspect of the program proved invaluable as we worked on digitalization and modernization projects with Siemens.” 

Another Genesis Program graduate, Jordan Dunseth, who is now working for SGT, shares the same sentiment. “I would recommend the Genesis Program in a heartbeat,” says Jordan. “It’s difficult to imagine a more comprehensive onboarding process. Having a solid foundation in technical and soft skills really takes the stress out of stepping into a new role. Finding a company like Siemens that is willing to invest time in you is a rarity, and Genesis graduates prove time and time again the benefit of this program as they continue to excel in their careers.” 

Advance your career with Siemens Government Technologies

At SGT, we recognize the immense potential of young tech-savvy professionals for the advancement of vital government programs. As integrators of the comprehensive, end-to-end portfolio of solutions from Siemens – one of the most technologically advanced and proficient engineering, industrial and software leaders in the world – SGT stands at the forefront of technological innovation. From deploying the world’s largest digital twin for the U.S. Navy to providing modernization and automation services at government installations around the globe, young tech-savvy professionals and recent college graduates have the opportunity to work on groundbreaking projects that contribute to global advancements and shape the future of technology.

Siemens Genesis Graduate Program is a testament to our commitment to empowering the next generation of tech proficient talent. We invest in the best and brightest individuals, giving them the tools, skills and opportunities needed to advance their career in the aerospace and defense industry. As stated by Matthew Bobbitt, a Genesis program graduate now working at SGT, “I strongly recommend graduates or soon-to-be graduates to consider the Genesis Program. The program sets the tone for an inspiring career and paves the way for limitless opportunities within Siemens, where you can make an impact on tackling the world’s toughest problems.”

To learn more about Siemens Genesis Graduate Program visit:

SGT college graduates

Jordan Dunseth, center left, and Matthew Bobbitt, center right, recognized at the SGT Achievement Awards ceremony in January 2024 for their role in growing company value

Rebecca Hannahs, Vice President of People and Organization, Siemens Government Technologies  

Rebecca Hannahs is the Vice President of People and Organization for Siemens Government Technologies (SGT), Inc., the separate but affiliated arm of technology powerhouse Siemens. Ms. Hannahs leads all aspects of employee relations for SGT as Siemens’ only cleared provider of advanced technology solutions and services for government customers. With extensive experience in employee-focused growth strategies and organizational effectiveness, Ms. Hannahs is responsible for the comprehensive portfolio of people-first policies and programs in pay and retention, talent acquisition, succession and development, and overall employee engagement.

Read her full bio here

Back to Articles
Rebecca Hannahs