Obama Administration Wants More Volunteers to Consider Federal Employment

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The Office of Personnel Management will host a symposium in December to educate agency officials about national service programs, as part of the Obama administration’s effort to recruit more candidates with backgrounds in areas like disaster relief and teaching to work for the federal government.

OPM issued guidance on Friday to comply with a July presidential memorandum that directs agencies to attract more hires with experience working in programs like AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and other national community service organizations. “As we face challenges ahead, the need to bring exceptional talent into public service has never been greater,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said in her Nov. 15 memorandum. “They are a source of talent that can enhance an agency’s workforce capacity to achieve its mission and should be included as part of your overall recruitment strategy.”

The OPM memo provided broad recruiting recommendations to agencies, including:

  • Work with nonprofit organizations to publicize federal job postings that align with national service experience.
  • Develop a relationship with the Corporation for National Community Service – the federal agency tasked with expanding service and volunteerism throughout the country – and the Peace Corps “to better understand the value of national service experience to the federal workforce.”
  • Expand social media outreach to include national service stakeholders.
  • Collaborate on recruiting with colleges, technical schools and professional associations to attract students and recent graduates to federal service.

Specifically, the government is looking for candidates with experience in six areas of national service, as outlined in the 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act: emergency and disaster services; economic opportunity; education; environmental stewardship; healthy futures; and veterans and military families.

Archuleta also encouraged agencies to use existing hiring authorities to appoint national service participants to federal jobs, including non-competitive eligibility for returning Peace Corps and Volunteers In Service To America participants.

Under Obama’s directive, representatives from all Cabinet-level agencies, as well as various other federal entities, will coordinate with the Corporation for National and Community Service to identify ways to effectively organize volunteer opportunities across the federal government. The task force will develop public-private partnerships to expand national service.

(Image via Lightspring/Shutterstock.com)

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