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November 09, 2012

News

IMCOM seeks to hire, retain former Soldiers in the Army civilian work force

By Bill Bradner, Installation Management Command

Army civilians serve alongside Soldiers every day, in every theater. From state-side garrisons to forward operating bases in Afghanistan, Army civilians write contracts, deliver goods, manage networks, operate ranges, manage business operations and provide support functions that would otherwise present distractions to training and wartime operations. From the sound of reveille to when a Soldier turns out the lights at the end the day, Soldiers are supported by their civilian counterparts.

PHOTO: Lori Mann, right, an Army Career and Alumni Program counselor, offers career guidance to a Soldier. U.S. Army photo
Lori Mann, right, an Army Career and Alumni Program counselor, offers career guidance to a Soldier at the ACAP center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
(U.S. Army photo)

There are vacant positions throughout the U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM), which need to be filled so IMCOM can provide world-class customer service and deliver programs and services to Soldiers, civilians, and Families. Throughout the command, about 40 percent of civilian employees have served in uniform.

For Soldiers considering taking off their uniform, continuing their career with the Army as a civilian is a logical transition choice, said Col. Francis Burns, at the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management at Headquarters, Department of the Army.

“Have you ever wanted to live in Hawaii? Or return to Europe to live and work, while still supporting Soldiers and their Families?” Burns asked. “You owe it to yourself to consider using that training and experience you earned in uniform to help you land the perfect job as a civilian.”

Federal service may be an ideal opportunity for Wounded Warriors and disabled veterans through a process called “Schedule A” appointment authority. Using Schedule A, qualified candidates with disabilities can be hired non-competitively. This speeds up the recruitment process, helping Wounded Warriors gain employment while filling critical vacancies quickly. (See sidebar.)

Schedule A: Basics for employees with disabilities, employers

Employees:
1. Wounded Warriors or disabled persons seeking a position in the federal government should register with one (or more) of the following agencies:
• The Employer Assistance and Recruiting Network, http://earnworks.com, is a free service that connects employers with active-duty, veteran and civilian disabled job candidates.
• The Workforce Recruitment Program, http://wrp.gov, is a recruitment- and referral-program that connects recently graduated students with disabilities through both summer and permanent jobs.
• Veterans and Wounded Warriors should contact the Department of Labor Veterans Employment & Training Service at www.dol.gov/vets, the Hire Heroes program at www.hireheroesusa.org, and the Wounded Warriors project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
• Other resources include the Office of Personnel Management’s disability site at www.opm.gov/disability and the Federal Government’s one-stop website for people with disabilities, their Families, employers, veterans and servicemembers: www.disability.gov.

2. Once registered, the Selective Placement Coordinator or Disability Program Manager at the agency taking advantage of the Schedule A hiring authority will search the databases above, as well as counterparts at other agencies, and provide a list of qualified disabled candidate to the hiring authority.


Employers:
1. Hiring managers should coordinate with their agency’s Selective Placement Coordinator (SPC) or Disability Program Manager (DPM), usually found in the garrison’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) offices, and describe the competencies required for the position.

2. The SPC/DPM will consult with numerous resources, including local colleges and universities, the Wounded Warrior program, EARN and the Department of Labor Workforce Recruiting Program (to name a few) and develop a list of eligible candidates. No job announcement is required.

3. The hiring official reviews the list, conducts interviews, and makes a selection. (Hiring officials also have the option of not selecting from the list and using the traditional hiring process.)

4. Once a selection decision is made, the agency’s HR office makes an offer to the candidate.

“Schedule A has been around for as long as I’ve been in Federal service,” said Rufus B. Caruthers, the IMCOM EEO director, “but as the number of disabled vets grows, and with the President’s emphasis on hiring disabled vets, we’ll see a big increase in the number of people hired under that authority.”
For employers, that means more qualified candidates to choose from.
And for people with disabilities seeking employment, it means a significant growth in the number of hiring authorities using those databases to select candidates, he said.

For more information, visit your local EEO or Wounded Warrior office, or go online to www.disability.gov.

Schedule A benefits both the employer and potential employee by assisting those with disabilities to gain federal employment and by shortening the hiring process — which averages 102 days using traditional methods.

For example, the IMCOM headquarters placed six interns in fewer than 45 days using the Schedule A appointment authority and the Wounded Warrior database.

“Schedule A cuts through a lot of the red tape,” said Rufus B. Caruthers, the IMCOM Equal Employment Opportunity director. “The hiring action can take as little as two weeks; it can happen just that fast.”

There are many opportunities for Soldiers transitioning out of the Army, regardless of their status, to continue their service by joining the IMCOM team. Many of the benefits are obvious: paid job-related training and education, comprehensive benefits packages and leave accruement rates based on time-in-service. In addition to opportunities in the U.S., civilians serve around the world in locations such as Japan, Korea, Europe and Puerto Rico, among many others.

There are also many not-so-obvious benefits. The sense of camaraderie and teamwork is strong in the civilian work force, and is cultivated just as carefully as it is among active-duty Soldiers. Another similarity to serving on active duty is the emphasis Army civilians place on values.

“There’s not much difference in how you feel about your job and how you conduct business in and out of uniform,” said Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Willie Wilson, who today works for IMCOM and runs the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. “And in most Army civilian positions, you’re still taking care of Soldiers and their Families. I’m glad that’s still part of my job description.”

The sense of accomplishment and value is high in the Army civilian work force. In a recent Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, 92 percent of federal employees answered positively to the statement “The work I do is important.”

Training and leader development is also as pervasive in the civilian work force as it is in uniform. The Civilian Education System, modeled after the Army Noncommissioned Officer Education System, provides a full spectrum of continuing-education and career- development courses. Civilians are first exposed to the training at in-processing to their first duty station, and have access to schools and virtual classes to help them progress from entry-level to Senior Executive Service.

IMCOM leads the way in work force development initiatives that include yearly opportunities for developmental assignments, structured mentoring programs, and an academy dedicated to instruction of installation management professionals.

IMCOM has also developed the IMCOM Enterprise Placement Program (IEPP) to help ensure the command can keep employees in the organization once hired. IEPP matches job vacancies at Army installations around the world with qualified IMCOM employees already serving in another capacity. The voluntary referral and placement program is designed to give employees affected by structure and resourcing changes the opportunity to relocate and find the best fit to continue serving the Army family. The IEPP enables the command to retain institutional knowledge and preserve its superior work force, all while continuing the Army’s “I will never quit” philosophy that so many Army civilians take to heart.

“That’s our version of leaving no Soldier behind,” said Lt. Gen. Mike Ferriter, IMCOM Commanding General. “We owe it to our dedicated civilians and to the Soldiers we support to do everything we can to keep a highly-motivated, highly-qualified work force in place to maintain our infrastructure and sustain our Army.” Ferriter remarked more than 2,000 positions are available today worldwide throughout IMCOM.

To learn more about the IEPP or civilian job opportunities within the IMCOM, visit the IMCOM homepage at www.imcom.army.mil.

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