Via extends retainer program to government workers

The agency is encouraging those affected by the shutdown to lend their expertise while paychecks are in a state of flux.

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history has dragged on for more than 30 days now.

It’s lapsed funding for all cabinet departments and smaller agencies that employ around 800,000 people -- 380,000 of which have furloughed pay.

But one of advertising’s independent shops is stepping in when the government won’t.

Maine-based Via has opened up its Vialocity program to all federal workers in a bid to learn from them on a fully-paid basis.

"The benefits of tapping into these government workers are twofold," explained Leeann Leahy, CEO of Via.

"First and foremost it puts these skilled men and women back to work, in its pursuit of assembling talent with diverse backgrounds and experience. A park ranger with insights on L.L.Bean, or a USDA worker with a different perspective on our various food brands are just a couple of examples of how this unique opportunity could help us and our clients.

"Everybody wins, but especially these good people who are living without a paycheck."

Vialocity, which launched in 2018, has already fielded applications from 14 people impacted by the shutdown. The workers have backgrounds in everything from a U.S. National Park Service Ranger to an employee of North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Leahy added: "Vialocity has allowed us to expand our footprint, create a more diverse workforce than we might otherwise have access to, and cultivate a pipeline of candidates from anywhere and everywhere."

A total of five people were on the first-year rost for Via’s program. The agency has added two new members since the beginning of 2019 and aims to have at least 30 percent of the Vialocity network based in Portland on full-time status by year three.

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