Sometimes finding a job in the federal government is like climbing an endless flight of stairs. Postings are limited and difficult to find, application forms are lengthy and confusing, and you may wait months for a response. You cross your fingers, hoping for an objective review of your qualifications.
The picture should brighten with the advent of a new, integrated civilian personnel data system shared by all DoD agencies and service components. The first phase of this upgrade: a new and much easier set of "STAIRS" to climb -- the Standard Automated Inventory and Referral System.
"STAIRS will simplify the process and save us vast amounts of money," said Diane Disney, deputy assistant secretary of defense for civilian personnel policy. She said the system will cost about $8.5 million to deploy, but it will save an estimated $30 million a year in operating costs.
"STAIRS will be technologically sophisticated," Disney added. The automated system replaces the manual review of job applications. It extracts skills and matches them with position criteria. People looking for work at a DoD installation will dial an interactive voice response telephone service to hear job announcements and make menu selections. Or they will enter the Internet, view job listings and follow on-screen instructions to apply.
They'll apply for jobs using an interactive, electronic process called Resumix, a commercial data base system that allows people to apply for jobs by e-mail or other electronic means.
Developing STAIRS has been a collaborative effort between DoD and the service components and agencies. Currently, 11 military installations and two DoD agencies have implemented STAIRS and are testing various ways to enhance the system's capabilities.
Bangor Naval Submarine Base, Wash., first tested Resumix March 1995-September 1996, and currently uses it to fill almost all job openings there.
Other test sites include the regional service center at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, which provides the service to Altus Air Force Base, Okla.; Brooks and Laughlin Air Force bases, Texas; Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.; Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.
The Army installed Resumix at the northeast regional service center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in September 1996 and soon will establish a referral list throughout the service area.
At the agency level, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Kansas City Customer Support Unit began posting job announcements with Resumix in September 1996. Based on results of the pilot project, the service will further implement Resumix into its Indianapolis-based regional service center, Disney said.
In addition, the Washington Headquarters Services, Human Resources Center installed Resumix in late summer 1996 and plans to implement the software in April after training its staff and briefing the Washington, D.C., area work force.
Meanwhile, DoD's Civilian Personnel Management Service is integrating Resumix with the modern system. After testing the entire system, DoD will deploy STAIRS worldwide in late 1998 or early 1999.
"STAIRS should make it easier to apply for jobs and make the review of credentials more consistent," Disney said. "It will simplify employees' lives."