Federal Hiring News

Links to the most recent federal hiring news for veterans:

DHS announces free cybersecurity training for vets (FEDweek)
December 1, 2015
DHS has announced it has teamed up with a non-profit organization, Hire Our Heros, to give vets access to the Federal Virtual Training Environment where they can pick up in-demand cybersecurity skills. Cybersecurity only continues to grow in importance throughout the federal government and private sector, with a sustained skills gap that can be difficult to close due to the high level of training and aptitude needed. Vets can be a perfect fit in many ways for transitioning into cybersecurity roles and DHS bills FedVTE as an online, on-demand training system that provides employees at all levels of government with access to courses on cybersecurity – providing a good place to start. For example veterans can access free cybersecurity training and certification prep courses that build the skills needed to be competitive for cybersecurity jobs across the country. Training topics include ethical hacking and surveillance, risk management, and malware analysis, and certain courses align with a variety of IT certifications such as Network +, Security +, and Certified Information Systems Security Professional, DHS said. Is said that veterans with an email address ending in “.gov” can register and begin taking courses simply by visiting https://niccs.us-cert.gov/training/fedvte. If not a government employee, vets need to verify veteran status through https://hireourheroes.org/veterans-training/.

Unemployment for veterans at lowest level in years (CNBC)
November 11, 2015
The unemployment rate for veterans has dropped to its lowest level in seven years, thanks to an all-hands-on-deck push by government and corporate America to hire veterans. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the jobless rate for veterans — a population of nearly 20 million — dropped to 3.9 percent in October, down from 4.3 percent a month earlier and 4.5 percent a year ago. This is its lowest level in seven years. This rate outpaces the national unemployment rate, which currently sits at 5 percent. In fact, according to the Department of Labor, veteran unemployment has remained lower than non-veteran unemployment for 23 consecutive weeks. To assist veterans in reentering civilian life and finding employment, President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2009, called the Veteran’s Employment Initiative, instructing federal agencies to focus on the recruitment and hiring of veterans for government jobs. By 2014, the federal government had hired more than 250,000 veterans.

Women veterans recruited for federal border duty (Military Times)
October 26, 2015
When it comes to hiring veterans, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a great track record: Of its 21,000 agents, 28.8 percent are prior military. CBP also has a lousy history of hiring women, who make up just 5 percent of the workforce. It’s the same story at the Federal Air Marshal Service: Just 5.5 percent of the workforce is women. In the 2011 round of hiring, only 850 of 19,000 applicants identified themselves as female. Clearly, both of these federal law enforcement agencies are weak when it comes to hiring women. But both say they’re trying. As Chief Patrol Agent in Spokane, Washington, Gloria Chavez helps lead a recruiting team that spends a lot of time at colleges, athletic events and other venues that attract young women. “Many of them still don’t know what they are seeking in a job,” said Chavez, who has been with CBP for 20 years. “So we stress what the job is about. It is outdoors. It is independent. You have to have the confidence in yourself to do your job and do it well.” That message resonated with former Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephanie Anaya, a hospital corpsman surgical tech who signed on as a CBP agent after leaving the Navy in 2007. She said her military background made CBP seem like a natural choice. “My training helped me gain confidence — it helped me become a leader,” she said. “So for me, it wasn’t a matter of being male or female, it was a matter of joining an organization that had a sense of purpose.”

Congress gives disabled vets hired as feds advance sick leave (GovExec)
September 28, 2015
The House on Monday passed a bipartisan bill would give disabled veterans hired as federal employees access to their full year’s sick leave immediately upon starting their jobs. The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act, which passed on voice vote, would give 104 hours of sick leave up front to first-year feds who are vets with a service-connected disability rating of at least 30 percent to attend medical appointments related to their disability. During their first year on the job, those vets would still accumulate their normal sick leave. The employees would only be able to use their extra sick leave for treatments directly related to their service and would not be able to carry over the one-time “wounded warrior leave” after the first 12 months on the job. The Senate passed its version of the legislation in July. There are some minor technical differences between the two bills that need to be tweaked before it heads to President Obama. Full-time federal workers in their first year on the job have no sick leave when they start, and accrue four hours of such leave per pay period. That amounts to a balance of 104 hours at the end of their first year. But disabled vets, who must attend regular medical appointments to maintain their health, and also to continue receiving their veterans’ benefits, quickly burn up their sick leave, according to the Federal Managers Association, which lobbied for the legislation. Many vets also have to travel far to reach the nearest VA facility to receive treatment, which can eat up leave time. The legislation had wide support in both chambers of Congress. “I am grateful that the House recognized the invaluable services these veterans provide the federal government,” said FMA President Patricia Niehaus in a statement. “These dedicated men and women gave a tremendous sacrifice to the nation and they choose to continue to serve their country; they should not have to choose between seeking medical attention and exhausting leave.”

Record numbers of vets are getting federal jobs — but a lot of them aren’t staying (The Washington Post)
August 28, 2015
The share of federal jobs going to veterans is at its highest level in five years, new data shows, with former service members comprising almost half of full-time hires in the last fiscal year. One in three people in government is now a veteran, proof that the White House’s six-year push to give those who served in the military a leg up in the long hiring queue for federal jobs is working. The bad news is that once veterans get into government, they don’t stay long. They’re more likely to leave their jobs within two years than non-veterans, the  Office of Personnel Management reported. The Small Business Administration had the most trouble keeping veterans in fiscal 2014, with just 62 percent staying two years or more, compared to 88 percent of non-veterans. Former service members left the Commerce Department at similar rates, with 68 percent staying two years or more compared to 82 percent for non-veterans. Even the Department of Veterans Affairs, traditionally a draw for former troops, lost a little more than a quarter of its veterans within two years, compared to 20 percent of its non-veterans. The only agencies that kept more veterans than non-veterans on board were the Defense and State Departments, the report released last month shows. The growing presence in government of men and women with military backgrounds is the most visible federal effort to reward military service since the draft ended in the 1970s. President Obama pushed agencies to increase hiring of veterans starting in 2009, in response to the bleak employment prospects many service members faced after coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq. The initiative has fueled tensions in federal offices, though, as longtime civil servants and former troops on the other side of the cubicle question each other’s competence and qualifications.

Memo to federal workers: Using marijuana could cost you your job (The Washington Post)
May 27, 2015
If you live in the District or one of the 23 states that have legalized marijuana and you work for the federal government, think twice before lighting a joint. Pot is still illegal for you. New guidance Wednesday from the Office of Personnel Management is unambiguous and stern. Federal workforce rules remain unchanged for the roughly 4.1 million federal employees and military personnel across the United States. The U.S. government still considers marijuana an illegal drug, and possessing or using it is a crime. “Heads of agencies are expected to advise their workforce that legislative changes by some states and the District of Columbia do not alter federal law, existing suitability criteria or Executive Branch policies regarding marijuana,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta wrote in a memo posted on the agency’s Web site. The District and 23 states have authorized adult use of medical marijuana. Of those, four states and D.C. also allow recreational use. Marijuana became legal in the District in February, allowing anyone 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of pot, although the drug is still prohibited on federally administered properties. Archuleta said these changes, a mix of ballot measures and laws passed by legislatures, have “raised questions” about whether federal employees in these areas are safe to smoke. The law makes “knowing or intentional” marijuana possession illegal for federal employees, even if they do not intend to manufacture, distribute or dispense it. Marijuana use also can be a basis for firing in some situations, Archuleta wrote. Even outside the federal workforce, the U.S. government has refused to relax its marijuana regulations. For instance, medical pot has been legal in the District and several states for years, but the Department of Veterans Affairs will not prescribe the drug or complete paperwork for patients to enroll in state marijuana programs, despite heavy lobbying from veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and physical pain.

Is OPM’s big hiring decision all it’s cracked up to be? (Federal Computer Weekly)
May 14, 2015
Agency executives likely breathed a sigh of relief reading the May 1 memo from Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta. Finally, agencies could make excepted-service appointments for much-needed digital service experts. But what will really be the impact of the move? OPM says the decision applies to 782 federal IT positions, all on a strictly temporary basis (appointments can run in one-year increments until Sept. 30, 2017) at the General Schedule 11 to 15 levels. Veterans’ preference is mandatory, and public notice is “strongly encouraged.” OPM has singled out 25 agencies that could use the hiring authority to build digital service teams, along with dozens of agency transactional services that could benefit. Some agency executives are emphasizing the positive. “The unique skills required around digital services would be extremely hard for us to get to through the normal hiring process,” said Department of Transportation CIO Richard McKinney. “OPM wisely recognized this and I know all of the CIOs like myself who are moving toward building this type of internal capability appreciate having these new options.” But off the record, some federal executives say OPM’s decision is long overdue – yet another example of OPM trying to play catch-up when it comes to tech hiring

Federal hiring of vets growing; vet unemployment at 7-year low (AllGov.com)
April 2, 2015
Times are good for veterans seeking work, either with the federal government or in general. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has reported that a third of all new hires by federal agencies last year were veterans, a record. Veterans made up 33.2% of new federal workers in fiscal year 2014, up from 31% in fiscal 2013. Both rates were the highest ever, according to OPM. The increase is a result of the Veterans Employment Initiative, signed by President Barack Obama in 2009 to increase the number of veterans in civil service positions. The effort has involved establishing liaisons at every agency to recruit veterans. During the George W. Bush administration, the veterans hiring rate barely inched up between fiscal years 2003 and 2007 from 25% to 25.5%. More good news came out last week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported the national unemployment rate for ex-service personnel in 2014 dropped to its lowest point in six years. Last year, the jobless rate for veterans dipped to 5.3%, “representing a decrease of 1.3 percentage points compared to 2013 and the fourth consecutive year of improvement,” Josh Hicks wrote at The Washington Post. The unemployment rate reached an Obama administration high of 10% in January 2011.

Contractors face inspection for veteran hiring (The Wall Street Journal)
March 25, 2015
Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary since the revised Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act took effect, and the U.S. Department of Labor can now subject the estimated 171,000 to 250,000 entities with federal government contracts to fines and penalties if they don’t hire veterans commensurate to their percentage in the general population, or if they don’t have a plan in place to boost veteran hiring. Companies can choose to set their own benchmark for veteran hiring, but need to be prepared to show the government why their numbers are more relevant than the 7.2% benchmark — the approximate percentage of veterans to the general population. “The important thing is for companies to really be demonstrating good-faith efforts to find qualified protected veterans…and documenting those efforts,” said Heather Morgan, a partner at Paul Hastings. “Make sure your recruitment strategy is well focused on including this as a part of your affirmative outreach.”

Department of Energy helping military veterans go solar (TriplePundit.com)
March 24, 2015
The Department of Energy is zooming in on U.S. military veterans as the Obama administration continues its effort to spur green job creation and deployment of solar energy. Numbering nearly 17,000, U.S. military veterans represent almost 10 percent of the nearly 174,000 Americans employed in the U.S. solar energy industry. And the Obama administration is working to see that figure increase. Five leading U.S. solar energy companies – SolarCity, Vivint Solar, Sunrun, SunEdison and SunPower – pledged to interview exiting military vets that graduate from a DOE solar job training pilot program. A first class of U.S. Marines recently graduated from the pilot phase of the SunShot Initiative’s solar industry jobs training program for U.S. military vets at Camp Pendleton, California. As the Energy Department explains, the groundbreaking program prepares “service members for careers in the solar industry as solar photovoltaic system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors and other solar-related opportunities.” DOE expects 200 military vets will graduate and be well-equipped to make the transition to civilian life by landing jobs in the solar energy industry over the course of the program’s pilot phase. In addition to Camp Pendleton, pilot-phase training programs at Fort Carson, Nevada, and Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, are scheduled to begin this spring.

President’s Council on Veterans Employment announces increase in vets hiring in FY2014 (OPM.gov)
March 23, 2015
In the more than five years since President Obama established the Veterans Employment Initiative, there have been steady increases each year in the percentage of veterans hired into the Federal civilian service. In FY 2014, the percentage of veteran new hires hit a new high of 33.2 percent, surpassing the previous mark set in FY 2013, when 31 percent of all new Federal civilian hires were veterans. The progress in FY 2014 also marked the first time since the President established the Veterans Employment Initiative that the Executive Branch increased new veteran hires in a year when overall new employee hires also increased. “I am confident that together this Council is doing what is needed to achieve the President’s objectives and establish the foundation for ongoing and sustainable progress for our veterans for years to come,’’ said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, who is Vice-Chair of the Council. The President’s Council on Veterans Employment is made up of 24 Cabinet level and other independent agencies. It is Co-Chaired by Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, and Vice-Chaired by U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Archuleta. At today’s meeting, the Council discussed the FY 2014 veterans employment numbers and recommendations from the Council’s Women Veterans Working Group. Archuleta had asked Department of Homeland Security Chief Human Capital Officer Catherine Emerson to lead a working group to assess the hiring of women veterans. The Council approved the group’s recommendation to adopt an addendum to the government-wide Veterans Recruitment and Employment Strategic Plan FY 2014 – 2017. The addendum would add measures related to women veterans and diversity to the plan’s existing goal areas of Leadership Commitment, Employment, Marketing, and Information Gateway. “We know that veterans possess character, team-building skills, and discipline. Those traits don’t stop when we take off the uniform. They transfer into the workplace and help their businesses grow and succeed,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs McDonald.  “For us in VA, where more than a third of our employees are veterans, that means providing better outcomes and better service to their fellow veterans.”

Hiring of veterans continues to increase (FedWeek)
March 19, 2015
Almost half of persons now hired into full-time, permanent, non-seasonal federal jobs have veterans status, and the share among them with a military disability rating also has increased, according to the CBO. It said that 46 percent of those hired into such positions are veterans, up from 35 percent in 2008, and that the proportion of those with a service-related disability rating of 30 percent or more has nearly doubled from 5.5 to 10.7 percent. “The rate of increase in hiring of disabled veterans has slowed recently, but CBO expects that about 8,000 to 9,000 disabled veterans will continue to be hired by the federal government each year through 2020,” it said. The CBO was examining the potential impact of legislation advancing in Congress to allow veterans with that disability rating to have access to a full year’s worth of sick leave, 13 days, in their first year of employment rather than having to use it as they accumulate it. The leave would have to be used for medical treatment related to that condition and would not carry over after the first year. It estimated that about 60 percent of that leave would be used but said the budget and operational impact on agencies would be difficult to calculate because some of the veterans might use annual leave instead if they don’t have enough sick leave, and agencies “might hire additional people or contract for additional services to make up for the lost output of the disabled workers who would take additional leave under the bill.”

Administration rolls out new data-driven hiring roadmap (Federal Times)
March 10, 2015
The Office of Personnel Management is rolling out a comprehensive, data-driven strategy to help agencies recruit and retain a top-notch workforce, according to the agency. The Recruitment, Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) Roadmap outlines a series of steps the administration will be taking to help boost hiring, including speeding up the hiring process and revamping USAjobs.gov. Katherine Archuleta, the director of OPM, said the roadmap was built in part on insights gained during her first year as head of OPM by talking to federal employees, job applicants, veterans and college students. “OPM is collaborating with agencies and stakeholders from across government to help managers untie hiring knots and eliminate barriers to recruitment and hiring,” Archuleta said in a statement. “The REDI roadmap provides the tools and strategy that will aid federal agencies in their efforts to ensure that our federal workforce draws from the rich diversity of the people it serves.” The REDI Roadmap also includes building a more inclusive Senior Executive Service, strengthening the Pathways programs to recruit students into the federal workforce, and expanding administration outreach to stakeholders across the country to encourage federal service.

Hiring spree: Agencies adding 72,000 employees in 2015 (Federal Times)
February 17, 2015
Agencies bouncing back from sequestration cuts and years of hiring freezes are hiring more than 72,000 federal employees in 2015, according to figures from the Office of Management and Budget. The non-postal federal workforce will grow from about 2.03 million federal employees to more than 2.1 million in fiscal 2015, as agencies look to fill gaps in their workforces and recover from previous losses, according to OMB. In many cases agencies will return to 2013 levels. The Defense Department fell from 738,000 civilian employees in 2013 to 724,000 in 2014. In 2015 the agency is hiring about 20,600 employees. The Defense Department will be using those new hires to bolster its cyber, acquisition and shipyard workforces, according to spokesman Nate Christensen. “There are a number of areas in which the department continues to increase our civilian workforce capabilities and is hiring personnel,” Christensen said. Other areas of hiring include its sexual assault prevention, transition assistant, suicide prevention and disability evaluation workforces, he said. But the Defense Department expects to see a slight drop in its workforce in fiscal 2016, shedding 2,900 jobs across the department as its needs and force structure changes, Christensen said. Other agencies are hiring more people because of specific investments in programs or services, such as the Veterans Administration. The VA is hiring more than 19,000 doctors, nurses and other personnel to bolster services in the wake of reform legislation passed last year.

Bureau of Land Management is looking to hire veterans (ABC6-Idaho)
February 3, 2015
Idaho’s Bureau of Land Management has announced that its fire management program is seeking to hire veterans to join the BLM Idaho firefighting team. Veterans can apply for various firefighting positions, including Firefighter Type I, Engineering Equipment Operator (dozer), Ramp Manager (air tanker base), Materials Handler (warehouse) and Fire Logistics Dispatch. Once hired, the BLM will train the veterans in firefighting techniques and other associated skills, depending upon their positions. “BLM Idaho’s Fire Management Program is one of the most active in the nation. We suppress hundreds of fires each year and maintain a high level of professionalism,” said BLM Idaho State Director Tim Murphy. “The additional assistance of our country’s veterans will significantly enhance our fire program and help us reach our goals of managing healthy lands, improving community safety from wildfire and protecting valuable resources, such as Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat.” BLM firefighting positions are a good match for veterans who bring with them skills and competency in fitness and endurance, leadership, experience in remote terrain, heavy equipment operation, logistics, communications, and many more talents, Murphy added. BLM Fire Managers are encouraging any interested veterans to apply.

Labor Department takes a data-driven approach to veteran hiring (The Washington Post)
January 26, 2015
Contractors will have to start collecting annual data on their veteran hiring practices in 2015, according to an updated Labor Department regulation. The rule, released last fall, is a significant modification to a 1974 rule related to the hiring of veterans after the Vietnam War and an example of the government’s push to use data to study industry trends. The new rule requires companies that hold government contracts worth $100,000 or more to submit annual reports about veterans in their workforce, with the first report due between August 1 and September 30 this year. The department will assess whether contractors are compliant with the new ruling or at least have a plan in place to increase their veteran hiring initiatives, and could use yearly data to spot patterns in veteran employment. The update also streamlines reporting requirements for contractors by cutting in half the number of categories for which companies have to collect data. The Labor Department estimates that this will save companies more than $18 million over the next decade. In addition, the rule introduces the concept of a veteran hiring benchmark. Companies need to eventually show that the percentage of veterans in their workforce is the same as the total share of veterans in the national population — about 7 percent.

Following spat, OPM updates federal veterans preference rule (VetsHQ)
January 8, 2015
Federal veterans preference has been updated with interim rules changes by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) designed to provide agencies greater clarity over eligibility and how to implement the practice more fairly for all veterans. These changes come after OPM and the Merit Systems Protections Board (MSPB) — “independent, quasi-judicial agency in the Executive branch” that exists to protect the rights of Federal employees, Federal merit employment systems, and identify prohibited personnel practices — engaged in a public spat in August 2014 over the application of federal veterans preference. MSPB had surveyed federal managers and employees who found the rules surrounding veterans preference were confusing and uneven in their application, and released a report criticizing the state of veterans preference. OPM’s interim rule changes, which went into effect and published in the Federal Register on Dec. 29, 2014, seeks to to bring agency practices in line with two laws, the Hubbard Act of 2008 and the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. Comments on the rules changes may be made through the Federal Regulations.gov portal through Feb. 27, 2015.

Why the U.S. Border Patrol is making a big push to hire women (The Washington Post)
January 1, 2015
Tens of thousands of migrant women cross the Southwest border each year, and human rights organizations say a high percentage of them experiencing sexual trauma along the way. Yet only 5 percent of the U.S. Border Patrol agents are female. That’s a problem, according to Border Patrol Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, who discussed his agency’s recent push to recruit more women in a recent Federal News Radio interview. “As a police chief for a long time, I know that women in law enforcement bring a huge amount of positive to any law enforcement agency, and increasing those numbers for the Border Patrol will do exactly the same thing,” Kerlikowske said. “Women bring a perspective and negotiating skill to law enforcement that we very much need.” Border Patrol plans to hire 1,600 agents by the end of the next fiscal year on Sept. 30. Not all of the slots have to go to women, but that agency decided to target them specifically for recruitment. The commissioner said his agency received about 5,500 applications from women as part of its recent recruitment effort, which ended Dec. 10. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol’s parent agency, got a federal exemption to recruit strictly female personnel for the hiring spree.

Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security worst places to work in federal government (The Washington Times)
December 15, 2014
The VA ranked as the second-worst place to work among large federal agencies in 2014, and a top department official has begged employees to submit ideas to try to improve the situation. The Veterans Affairs Department ranked 18th out of 19 large federal agencies in a list based on employees’ feedback on surveys from this spring, or about the time the VA began to face scrutiny over a broken bureaucracy and poor care of veterans. Only the Department of Homeland Security rated lower. Jose D. Riojas, VA’s chief of staff, in a message to employees, blamed the poor ranking on the timing of the surveys. “This survey was conducted at a time when the department was facing serious challenges,” he wrote in an email to employees obtained by The Washington Times. “While the intense scrutiny experienced by our hardworking employees during this period understandably impacted morale, your dedication to serving veterans remains strong.” He called the poor showing an opportunity to “determine what is working at VA and what we need to do to improve service for veterans.”

OPM Director defends preference in hiring for veterans (Fedscoop)
November 17, 2014
Responding to a question live-tweeted to her during a digital town hall Friday, Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta didn’t miss a beat in defending the federal government’s push to hire veterans. Celebrating her first year in the administrator role, Archuleta invited the public to ask her questions about the future of the federal workforce in an open forum hosted via Google Hangout. About halfway through, she received the tweeted question on veteran hirings: “The Devine MrsM @DvineMrsM #AmericasWorkforce – why is it so hard for civilians to get jobs in Federal Govt nowadays? Vets block all the positions civilians need jobs too 7:31 AM – 14 Nov 2014.” But that’s a misconception, she said, before going on to defend veteran hiring. “First of all, I’m going to say that I am a very, very strong proponent of veterans preference,” Archuleta said. “I believe that the men and women who serve in our military and come home need to have an opportunity to continue their service.”

MSPB clarifies rights for veterans working at federal agencies (Fierce Government)
November 13, 2014
The Merit Systems Protection Board set out guidance to advise former military members of their rights while working at federal agencies and what they should do if they feel those rights are violated. The Nov. 6 guidance works off the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. “The complexity of the systems of rights and of redresses for veterans, preference eligibles, and service members creates a burden on the individuals that the laws were meant to help, particularly those who seek to navigate the process without the assistance of a legal expert,” the guidance says. VEOA is designed to provide a redress procedure for veterans who believe that an agency has not treated them in accord with federal employment laws and regulations designed to reward particular types of military service.

Treasury agencies see big gains in hiring veterans (Federal Times)
November 11, 2014
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint has spent the last few years boosting veteran hiring, according to a top official. U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, who oversees the two agencies, said in a Nov. 10 blog post that 30 percent of the workforce at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and 35 percent of the Mint is made up of veterans – about 1,100 veterans total. In 2014 half the new hires at the two agencies were veterans, according to Rios.

OPM targets veterans for STEM jobs (FedScoop)
November 4, 2014
The Office of Personnel Management is launching a new effort designed to tackle two of the most pressing workforce challenges facing the nation: filling the shortfall in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals, and providing meaningful employment for veterans as they retire or transition back into civilian life. OPM plans to add a STEM category to its Vets to Feds (V2F) Career Development Program, sponsored by the Council on Veterans Employment and a result of President Barack Obama’s Veterans Employment Initiative. The STEM category will target veterans for career development roles in federal science-related jobs. The goal of the program, which is scheduled to start in February, is not to recruit someone with ample experience in STEM, but rather to let the veterans develop within the positions in hope of long-term retention.

These federal contractors are hiring veterans now (Military Times)
October 20, 2014

Companies that do business with the federal government employ a big chunk of the U.S. workforce — and if you’re a veteran looking to join their ranks, federal law requires that they give you a leg up. How can you take advantage? The local One-Stop Career Center should be one of your first stops, according to government and private-sector officials. Thousands of these Labor Department offices, also called American Job Centers, are scattered across the country, offering information and job openings posted online at www.careeronestop.org. Big federal contractors must list their available positions with the centers, which establish relationships with local contractors and even offer training and intensive one-on-one help for vets who are having trouble landing jobs.

Push to hire veterans reduces jobs available to women (AllGov)
October 9, 2014

The U.S. government has succeeded in providing more federal job opportunities for veterans in the wake of two major wars. But the emphasis on employing more ex-soldiers, most of whom are men, has wound up reducing the total of women being hired. At the beginning of the 21st century, 43% of all new hires were women, but that dropped to 37% by 2012. During that period, thousands of military personnel came home and reentered the workforce. Federal agencies did their part to help these men, and few women, become civil servants. “Our research shows that as use of veterans hiring authorities increased, the percentage of female new hires decreased,” according to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

MPSB calls for reinstatement of veterans hiring reviews (FedWeek)
October 6, 2014
The Merit Systems Protection Board has issued a report explaining federal laws and regulations in regard to hiring preferences that federal agencies can or must give to veterans and certain family members. “Veteran Hiring in the Civil Service: Practices and Perceptions,” discusses federal laws and regulations and uses survey data to discuss federal employees’ perceptions surrounding the use of these hiring authorities. MSPB explains how hiring authorities may invite misunderstandings, confusion, perceptions of wrongdoing, and possibly actual wrongdoing, and it recommends that DoD reinstate a review process to ensure that the veteran preference hiring at DoD is based on merit.

Are veterans’ preferences in federal hiring fair? New report says complicated rules make assessments difficult (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
August 20, 2014
A new report this week by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board said that the system of hiring preferences for veterans, first implemented in 1883, is complicated — contributing to sentiments from some federal employees that veterans are getting too much preference, and from others that some veterans aren’t being given the consideration for jobs and promotions they deserve based on their military sacrifice.The MSPB report can be found here.

Shrinking government: Federal hiring down, departures are up (Washington Post)
August 20, 2014
One of the more notable trends that the Partnership for Public Service highlighted was the percentage of military veterans who have left the government since 2008. Former troops made up one-third of the departures since then, according to the report. Despite that turnover rate, the number of veterans in the federal workforce has surprisingly increased. In 2008, the government employed about 447,000 former service members, compared to 572,000 in 2013. That’s a nearly 28 percent rise.

New rule sets veteran hiring goal for contractors (Federal Times)
March 24, 2014
One of those rules updates the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act, which prohibits contractors and their subcontractors from discriminating against protected veterans when hiring. Under the new regulation, contractors are now required to set annual benchmarks and measure their progress in hiring and recruiting disabled veterans and other vets protected by law.

The Grey Twilight of Veterans’ Preference (Huffington Post)
August 11, 2013
The very notion of veterans’ preference, as fulfillment of a nation’s promise to its military service members, will become so controversial it may not survive. The solution requires rethinking the approach to delegated hiring authority for federal agencies and our nation’s commitment to veterans. U.S. veteran servicemen and women deserve better.

Highest percentage of veterans hired by federal government in over 20 years (OPM)
December 13, 2011
Veteran new hires were 28.5 percent of total hires in FY 2011 based on preliminary data. This increase is approximately 4.5 percentage points over the FY 2009 total of 24.0 percent and approximately 2.9 percentage points over the FY 2010 result of 25.6 percent.

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