Government Eagle Award winner: Gundeep Ahluwalia

Gundeep Ahluwalia has been the Labor Department’s IT director since 2016, supporting work across 27 agencies and a staff of 15,000.

During this period, her colleagues have praised Ahluwalia’s ability to provide sustained and consistent leadership in mission areas and modernization efforts.

“Gundeep’s ability to successfully navigate multiple IT modernization efforts and mission areas with the OCIO team demonstrates how the Department is becoming a leader in customer service offerings for the American public,” the Undersecretary said at the Job Julie Su at FCW.

One of Ahluwalia’s main strengths moving forward has been “its strategic vision to leverage all available funding resources to meet excessive demands”, Su said, which is “evident in the results produced by the OCIO team”.

This aggressive effort to find every possible source of money also impressed this year’s 100 federal judges. Ahluwalia capitalized on the department’s annual information technology appropriations, but also used working capital and led the department to receive two investments from the Technology Modernization Fund.

A TMF project resulted in the modernization of a decade-old legacy system used to issue temporary work certifications, issued by the ministry for positions in agriculture, construction and other specialized professions like biotechnology.

The new cloud-based system not only provided a streamlined and more user-friendly process, but also enabled the creation of a new data hub that supports cross-agency sharing throughout the temporary work visa certification process. .

The second TMF-funded project aims to help break down data silos across the department and facilitate foundational data infrastructure work that will ultimately improve data quality and make more labor data available – at the both inside and outside the department.

This data initiative integrates predictive analytics and reporting capabilities into the IT platform and supports a public data portal to share data, as well as establish enterprise data management capabilities .

Under Ahluwalia’s leadership, the OCIO office has also created an emerging technology branch in 2021. Its first focus is robotic process automation robots, intended to reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks. The OCIO says it plans to invest more in automation, AI and machine learning.

All of this took place as Ahluwalia also oversaw several other modernization updates across the Ministry of Labor and continued to strengthen the organization’s cybersecurity posture, using multi-factor authentication and other tools to work towards a zero-trust architecture.

“We are proud of his leadership and accomplishments, and we are thrilled to see him continue to move the needle forward,” Su said.

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