Federal Agencies Hiring More Veterans, Report Says

1 min read
From: VA

Thousands of more veterans have recently been hired by federal agencies, an Office of Personnel Management report says.

OPM’s figures show the federal government hired 34,788 total veterans in the first half of fiscal 2011 compared to 32,825 in the first half of fiscal 2010. Veterans made up for 33.3 percent of total new hires in the first half of fiscal 2011, a three percent increase from the first half of fiscal 2010.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order in Nov. 2009 instructing federal agencies to identify qualified veterans, clarify the hiring process for veterans seeking employment with the federal government and help veterans adjust to the civilian work environment.

“President Obama has charged us with honoring the nation’s sacred trust with our veterans by doing all we can to help them find work when they come home,” OPM director John Berry said. “They fought to protect the American Dream, and they should never feel that it is out of their reach.”

Federal Computer Week reports the Obama administration has started Mil2Feds, a website that identifies federal jobs related to a veteran’s military occupation. The website Feds Hire Vets was launched in Jan. 2010 to help veterans find information on federal employment.

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  1. UPON FURTHER REVIEW: the veteran hiring data from OPM reflects 30%+ disabled veterans whom are eligible for noncompetitive federal appointment are being REQUIRED by agencies to go through the competitive process for federal jobs. The data reflects more than 90% of all new 30%+ disabled veterans were hired in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 only after going through the entire competitive process. These competitive hiring rates of 30%+ disabled veterans do not support widely held perceptions that veterans or disabled veterans are obtaining federal jobs without competition. These veterans were hired only after going through the competitive, laborious and time consuming federal employment process, meeting qualifications, specialized skills and administrative requirements for federal jobs. The data also reflects agencies are increasingly foregoing the use of streamlined hiring authorities to hire well-qualified 30%+ disabled veterans. The ratio among the 10% of noncompetitive 30%+ disabled veteran hires decreased in 2010 compared to 2009. Yet there is a widely held view that disabled veterans are being appointed noncompetitively, etc. etc. Could it be that agencies themselves are to blame for these misconceptions and blowback by nonveterans? This is because instead of using streamlined hiring authorities to hire well-qualified noncompetitive eligibles they continue to use traditional laborious and time consuming practices to fill vacancies. Consider all the time, effort, rewrites, resume writing fee(s), multiple proof readings, cross-referencing job and form requirements, searching, downloading and filling out OPM and agency application forms, copying costs, obtaining approval and current contact info from personal references, etc. only to have your high hopes and expectations dashed when you find out (if your ever find out or are notified) the job was filled by a veteran or a disabled veteran. What would you think then? It’s gotten so bad that the DOD – of all agencies, took a public position against legislation in June 2011 that would have created a new hiring authority for transitioning veterans. Called the “2011 Hiring Heroes Act” DOD officials criticized this proposed hiring authority as “far overreaching” saying they were not aware of any problems it would solve given the myriad of existing hiring authorities for veterans. How about promoting hiring efficiencies at the DOD to relieve the bottleneck of hiring actions throughout DOD? DOD HR offices are so backlogged as are so many federal HR offices that they are ALL seeking increased budgets, increased staff, increased training, etc. Yet HR offices continue to use traditional hiring processes to fill the majority of vacancies. Secondly, DOD like most agencies only use a fraction of existing hiring authorities to promote efficiency yet complain about the rigidness and out datedness of the federal hiring system. DOD officials also warned that the 2011 Hiring Heroes Act for hiring veterans might also be challenged by the MSPB which says a lot more about DOD’s lack of lack of understanding MSPB’s jurisdiction and what they will review. The DOD should know better considering they have the largest number of HR actions among agencies which are accepted by the MSPB every year. But that is due to poor HR practices or sheer incompetence not legislated programs. Did DOD run their NSPS by the MSPB before they implemented NSPS?

    The hiring figures of 30%+ disabled veterans exceed the on-board figures of this group which can be attributed to separations of 30%+ disabled veterans within the first year of hire or other separations. OPM did not provide separation data which is essential to assess the attrition rates of newly hired 30%+ disabled veterans. The hires data for 30%+ disabled veterans may erroneously include a double-counting of 30%+ disabled veterans who resigned during the year to accept appointment in other agencies where these actions are coded as new appointments i.e. “Appt NTE” not as transfers or reassignments by the gaining agency and coded as “terminations” by the losing agency. If the new hires data dump used by OPM was not cross-referenced against the separations data for 30%+ disabled veterans – then a double-count of hires would have occurred. Notably, the report does not include the number of disabled veterans converted or participating in the VA’s Non-Paid Work Experience (NPWE) program which places eligible disabled veterans into work experience/OJT opportunities in federal, state, city, etc. governments under VA training agreement which allow placement into target occupations without first meeting qualification standards and noncompetitive conversion to status quo or career conditional appointments in agencies at any time during or upon completion of the NPWE.

    OPM’s reporting inconsistencies i.e. using new data fields not used in previous reports indicate they don’t have an established plan for meeting this recurring report. Instead, the report reflects what appears to be nothing more than a data dump of hiring data with limited metrics and few analytics which is simply overwhelming to both HR and non HR readers. Regardless of the quality of this report, it met OPM performance standards and expectations of just getting this report done. Ironically, software specifically designed as a government wide efficiency for querying, extracting, sorting and populating more intelligible reports along with analytics was declined by the OPM’s HRIS Office two years ago and I can produce copies of this correspondence if needed.

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