Still Busy after State Service

As happens for many retirees, new Chapter 1 member Kate McGovern finds herself plenty busy these days.

McGovern, who left her post at the helm of the state’s Bureau of Education and Training (BET) earlier this year, also previously worked for the state at the New Hampshire Retirement System and was one of the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members on the NHRS Board of Trustees. While she let go of her full-time position at BET, she’s continued to teach.

“Quite frankly, it’s the part that I liked the most,” she said. “The administrative stuff was important, and I think I moved the bureau forward while I was administrator, but I was ready to let that go and do instruction now.”

McGovern first ended up at the BET after a short gap in her state service, when she went back to school. When she was readying to re-enter state service, a position came up at the BET.

“I’d already been doing some classes there, and it fit in well to kind of move that forward,” she said. “When I went there, I was also teaching public policy and I was able to integrate some of the retirement system stuff and some of the elements of defined benefits.”

She said the program she helped build at BET is a critical resource because it was created to augment the skills of the workforce we currently have.

“Not that we don’t want to go out and seek people to join the workforce, but we also want to invest in those currently in service,” she said.

In addition to a partnership with NHTI, the BET has also partnered with the College for America to offer access to a wider variety of courses and affordable associates and bachelors degree programs. The BET itself offers popular courses in public management as well as LEAN process techniques. McGovern said that LEAN is a valuable program, which is open to all public sector employees, not just state employees. It’s ultimately about changing the management style to get more value out of your current workforce.

“We can start to change the culture so instead of having our folks in a mindless bureaucracy, which residents hate and workers hate, it gives us a chance to get out of that box and create processes that are value-added,” she said. “You have a mandate to start chopping away at some of the processes that don’t add value to the customer.”

She said LEAN can have a really positive impact on morale when it’s done well.

“If people hear about this second-hand, they’re more likely to think this is about cutting positions, but it’s not,” she said. “The purpose of this is not to cut positions, but to reallocate people to higher value-added work.”

You can check out more about the Bureau of Education and Training on the state’s website.

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