Posted on Thursday, 7th June 2018 by

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President Trump recently signed an Executive Order that involves the process of firing “poor performing” civil servants. Additionally, the order limits funding power from the federal unions that were protections. Specifically three taskings associated with the orders are in place; these include: timing on poor performing civil servants and how long they have to correct behavior before being fired; the order also makes it hard for fired workers to move to another agency. Next, a Labor Relations Working group was created that will scrutinize government contracts with unions and omit any wasteful expenditures in the language. Finally, the third tasking restricts federal employee time limits on work for the union; it charges federal unions for space rented in buildings and stops their ability to utilize government travel reimbursements; this task also stops payments to unions related to Congress lobbying time.

 

 

During his Presidential campaign, Trump asked for a leaner, more efficient federal government “Tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people,” he said. This effort is in line with this new charge and is part of a broader effort to modernize the government, innovate, and eliminate bureaucracy. The finished product, therefore, would be a more mobile, lean, technically-savvy, workforce.

The focus of these changes promote efficiencies by increasing taxpayer dollar usage while supporting consistent, performing civil servants. Additionally the order makes it easier to remove poor performing employees and enables agencies to ensure taxpayer dollars are utilized more efficiently. Although there is pushback from many on this development, it is estimated that there will be a savings of at least $100 million a year for taxpayers. The President is also focusing on hiring the best and most ambitious employees with the largest overhaul of the civil service system in over 40 years. Modeled after the VA Accountability Act, this effort will offer greater authority to fire and/or discipline employees; for example, the VA dismissed 1470 employees, suspended 443 and demoted 83 with the use of this new authority.

Overall, changes were needed due to accountability; many public reports show that it takes close to 370 days on average to actually dismiss an employee in a federal government position. Between all of the discussions, performance observations, counseling, monitoring, preparation and follow up – yes, it can take that long. Additionally, employees have the right to appeal which adds even more time to the process.

Some federal employees (managers) also feel that this reform is long overdue; as they have chosen to ‘opt’ out of such opportunities that include these responsibilities given the lack of accountability. This new order will initiate actions and perimeters that can be set in place and mandated as policy. Managers and employees will have a greater set of expectations and understanding with these new directives; organizations can work to increase communication, information sharing and also utilize coaching and mentoring. Some private sector employees have routinely voiced their opinions in comparing private sector (firing) with that of the federal government; these changes make for a more balanced approach with one another….at least for now.

References:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/09/hire-best-and-fire-worst-trump-proposes-biggest-civil-service-change-40-years/315981002/

https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2015/03/heres-why-federal-employees-rarely-get-fired.html

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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Posted in Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 24th May 2018 by

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The Postal Inspection Service defends us from criminals who attack our nation’s postal system and/or misuse it to endanger, defraud, or otherwise threaten the American public. As the primary law enforcement arm of the Postal Service, the Postal Inspection Service is a highly specialized, professional organization performing investigative and security functions essential to a stable and sound postal system.

Congress empowered the Postal Service “to investigate postal offenses and civil matters relating to the Postal Service.” Through its security and enforcement functions, the Postal Inspection Service provides assurance to American businesses for the safe exchange of funds and securities through the U.S. mail; to postal customers in the transmission of correspondence and messages; and to provide postal employees with a safe work environment.

Postal inspectors are federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests, and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas. Inspectors work closely with U.S. Attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and local prosecutors to investigate postal cases and prepare them for court. There are approximately 1,750 postal inspectors stationed through-out the United States, covering investigations of crimes that adversely affect or fraudulently use the postal system.

General Information

U.S. Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction in all criminal matters involving the integrity and security of the U.S. Postal Service.

Postal Inspectors investigate criminal, civil, and administrative violations of postal-related laws, often using forensics and cutting-edge technologies. It is essential that Postal Inspectors be in sound physical condition and be capable of performing rigorous physical activities on a sustained basis. They are required to:

  • Carry firearms
  • Make arrests
  • Provide testimony
  • Serve subpoenas
  • Execute search warrants
  • Prepare comprehensive reports
  • Pursue and restrain suspects
  • Protect themselves and others from imminent danger

Postal Inspectors work long and irregular hours, and must be willing to relocate. Competition is intense for the relatively few positions. Candidates must successfully complete all phases of the recruitment process and begin their first duty assignment prior to their 37th birthday.

You may be eligible to become a Postal Inspector if you:

  • Are an American citizen between the ages of 21 and 36½. * and are interested in an exciting and rewarding career in federal law enforcement. (Male citizens born after December 31, 1959, must have registered with the Selective Service before applying to become a Postal Inspector.)
  • Possess a conferred, four-year degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have no felony or domestic violence convictions
  • Are in good physical condition
  • Write and speak English
  • Are willing to relocate

Special Knowledge

There are four special knowledge tracks that make applicants more competitive for the position of Postal Inspector: language skills, postal experience, specialized non-postal skills, and academic achievement. Candidates without special knowledge will be only minimally qualified.

Determine your eligibility

There are several ways to qualify for Postal Inspector positions. Applicants must meet the general eligibility requirements or qualify under specific academic achievement criteria with or without work experience.

  • Academic Achievement with work experience. Candidates with at least one year of full-time work experience with the same company, within two years of the date of their application, are eligible under this skill track.
  • Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.S. in any field) must have two years of full-time work experience.
  • Candidates with an Advanced degree (M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. in any field) must have one year of full-time work experience.
  • Academic Achievement without work experience. Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree (a B.A. or B.S. in any field) and a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent, or an advanced degree (J.D., M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. in any field) are eligible under this skill track.

Inspector Training

Basic Inspector Training is mandatory and provided at their Career Development Unit (CDU). All new hires must complete course work in four areas:

  • Academics
  • Firearms
  • Physical fitness and defensive tactics
  • Practical exercises

Candidates must successfully complete all program areas and achieve specific minimum academic and performance levels to graduate. Graduation from basic training is a condition of employment. Failure to meet the minimum academic and performance levels will result in the termination of the appointment.

How to Apply

The Postal Inspection Service advertises vacancies during open hiring periods announced on the U.S Postal Inspection website. You can only apply during an open period and at that time you may complete an application online.  Check their site frequently to find job announcements. If you miss an open period you will have to wait until new job announcements are posted to submit an application.

If positions aren’t currently available for postal inspectors explore related law enforcement occupations. The federal government employs 192,929 in the Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement and Compliance GS-1800 Group including 3,800 employed overseas.  Review all of your options in law enforcement to improve your chances of landing a high paying, secure, and rewarding law enforcement career.

Review our list of law enforcement hiring agencies that includes the total number employed in each job series and the number employed by each of the hiring agencies. Click on the job title for comprehensive job descriptions that include current federal job vacancies for each occupation.

Forensic Laboratory Services

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service also maintains a National Forensic Laboratory in Dulles, VA. The facility employs technical specialists and forensic scientists that support the postal inspectors in the identification, apprehension, prosecution, and conviction of criminals that commit postal-related offenses. The lab provides scientific and technical expertise to the criminal and security investigations of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Laboratory services are divided into the four units listed below:

  • Questioned Document
  • Fingerprint
  • Physical Sciences
  • Digital Evidence

Employment opportunities exist at the forensic laboratory services facility in a number of related occupations.  Positions such as forensic chemists, information technologist,  physical evidence analysts, fingerprint identification and others are needed to provide these essential services.

References:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Vacancies, Post Office Jobs, Resumes / KSAs

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Posted on Wednesday, 9th May 2018 by

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Pay plans help to organize and identify information about employee’s pay and the authorizations surrounding the dissemination according to position. They help determine positions, agency relation, or occupational groupings; statistical data is then reported and provided to a myriad of entities such as the OPM, as well as payroll and HR systems in a variety of agencies.

Within the Federal Government, there are a myriad of pay systems that are governed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM is the mastermind behind the development, implementation and management of how pay is administered; they set the pay, determine locality along with any special salary requirements and rates, determine bonuses, cost of living and more. Each of the agencies, however, are able to determine their own administration of such policies when it comes to their employees.

Within the Department of Transportation (DOT) for example, they have five levels of pay: Executive, Senior Service, General Schedule, Wage Grade and Pay Banding. Most employees fall under the General Schedule and within that, there are 15 grade levels and steps within each that are aligned with pay compensation.

Within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for example, Pay Banding is utilized to determine the appropriate range of pay for a particular position; locality is not included in the calculation. With a minimum, midpoint and maximum, pay is offered at the lowest base pay rate, median and highest pay rate for that position within the band. Additional information about the FAA’s specific pay banding system can be found here: http://jobs.faa.gov/FAACoreCompensation.htm.

The National Security Agency (NSA) utilizes the OPM pay tables with a 15 grade system and it is based on education, experience and job titles. With the ability for employees to work across the U.S. and beyond, salaries at the NSA are adjusted accordingly to ensure specific cost of living is in accordance with location.

Additionally, some federal employees may receive a specialty pay. Entitled “Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP)”, this example includes Federal Law Enforcement Officers that are poised in criminal investigation work roles. IT management, Cybersecurity and Computer Professionals may also fall under specialty umbrellas. These incentives are put in place by OPM to foster competition and to attract those in demanding skill sets.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently implemented measures to recruit, hire and pay its employees off of the traditional General Schedule. With a flexible benefits package, incentives are provided at various stages within the employee’s professional career. In order to recruit top talent effectively, specifically in the areas of Border Patrol and Cyber, DHS has sought and utilized new and improved pay, recruitment and hiring tactics.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) offers the Administratively Determined (AD) Pay Plan that enables Assistant United States Attorneys, Supervisory Assistant United States Attorneys, Senior Litigation Counsel, Special Assistant United States Attorneys and United States Attorneys to take part in this pay for performance based plan.

There are many pay systems that are centered around the traditional General Schedule Pay System. When applying for federal positions the pay system designation is provided on the job announcement along with the position’s pay range. Read the job announcement thoroughly and provide all of the required information to ensure your application is accepted for consideration. There are certain conditions that warrant the applicant to request a higher pay rate than initially offered. You must negotiate a pay increase before signing an acceptance agreement.

References:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Post Office Jobs

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Posted on Wednesday, 2nd May 2018 by

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SUBJECT: WORK RESPONSIBLY

It’s that time of year when college seniors are looking forward to receiving their diplomas after four or more years of time consuming and costly schooling. Parents, college professors and the media have told them that a college degree is the way to a job that will bring satisfaction, fulfillment and a fat paycheck. Get the diploma, send out a few “dynamite” resumes, and a job will follow. Believe that and you might as well look under your pillow for a check to pay off your student loan, compliments of the tooth fairy. Job hunting in the adult world of work is more than sending resumes to job boards. It is a multi-step process, one step of which is writing a resume.

To understand this thing called “work” I believe one needs to take a step back and ask what life itself is all about. Short circuit the philosophy and PC talk and it comes down to this. You are born. You die. And, in between you work in order to survive. Job satisfaction, fulfillment and life/work balance are secondary. We work. We get a paycheck. We buy the big three …food, shelter, clothing…in order to make it to the next day. We spend “left-over money” on technology gadgets, killer apps, insurance, transportation and recreation.  Our money-for-work model has served humankind well for several thousand years…or at least better than the previous model which had people spearing antelope and rabbits for food and clothing, and living in caves to avoid freezing to death.  So how does a newly minted college grad find work, socially meaningful work, that will pay money in order to survive and also bring some sort of job satisfaction and fulfillment?  Let’s explore some of the challenges, and solutions, that new college grads will encounter making their first giant step into the world of work.

WORK CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

  1. The “What’s Next” Challenge. Many college grads have no idea what they will do after receiving their diplomas. There are three choices: proceed to graduate school; join the military, or find a job with a company. Most will elect option three, finding a job in the corporate or government world, which is divided into various industries, companies within those industries and jobs in those companies.  For example, there is the Food industry with Kroger being a company within; in fact Kroger is the largest company in the Food Industry. It sells guns and ammo, too, in a subsidiary division. There are thousands of jobs at Kroger one of which is a corporate level sales representative. A new college grad could pursue that sales job and make good money. The same applies for sales jobs with beer producer, Miller Brewing Company. There will always be plenty of sales jobs with Miller. Also, there are sales jobs with Walmart in its gun and ammo department. And remember companies in the fast growing recreational marijuana business, one of which is The Farm located in Boulder Colorado.

However, will any job in any industry do it?  There are plenty of job with guns, pot and alcohol companies but is that the way you want to spend your working days?

The Solution. Alternatively, how about industries producing products that have social value, like educational publishing companies such as McGraw-Hill, or food distributors like Whole Foods, or home builders like Ryan Homes, or technology companies like Salesforce.com which has been ranked recently as one of the best places to work? With choices like this, why work in toss away industries like firearms, alcohol or pot? A better choice is working for a socially conscious company like Salesforce.com, the cloud computing company serving a useful function in business and education.

  1. The What Do I Want to Do” Challenge.” So many budding college grads ask what they can do to bring in a paycheck and some sort of job satisfaction. You do not need six weeks with a counselor to figure it out.

The Solution. Record three things for which you have an aptitude. Beside them record three things you like to do. Then match them with industries, and jobs in those industries, that meet your aptitude and interests. For a listing of hundreds of industries and thousands of jobs in them, consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor. It’s available in print or eBook from Amazon or other resellers.

  1. The “Right Company” Challenge. Knowing what kind of job you would like is one thing. Finding the right employer is quite another.

The Solution. Assuming you have found a job that you would like, the next step is to find companies that offer such jobs in socially conscious industries. Go online and google companies in those industries. For example, enter “Food Producers” and you will come up with many hits, all potential employers. Begin exploring job opportunities on their digital career pages.

Another fool proof way to find a job is to attend job fairs and trade shows that take place each day at major convention centers throughout the country. Some of them are: the Mascone Center in San Francisco; McCormick Place in Chicago; The Washington DC Convention Center in Washington; the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philly; and the Javits Center in New York City. Each large and medium size city has a convention center. Google the one closest to you to find a listing of trade shows and job fairs and attend those you find interesting. Visit the exhibit booths armed with your resume and ask to see the hiring manager for your area of interest, sales, marketing, finance, technology, human resources, etc. Develop a personal relationship with that person and a job interview will follow.

Government jobs are often overlooked. Jobs in the “government industry” are comparable to jobs in the private sector.  They pay well and are socially conscious jobs. Federal government jobs are located in all fifty states, not just Washington DC. For a listing of interesting jobs and how to apply for them go to the leading government job website: www.federaljobs.net.

  1. The “Writing a Resume” Challenge. In most colleges where students pay upwards of $25,000 for tuition per year, training for job hunting consists of a few weeks instruction about writing a “dynamite” resume. The instruction is primarily academic as most professors have never had a job outside of academia. And, there is more to job hunting than writing and submitting a resume.

The Solution. Craft a resume that highlights your education, your part time jobs and internships throughout your college years. Include a major heading, “Technology Skills” and bullet point your areas of expertise. Also include a major heading titled, “Community Outreach” and bullet point your community initiatives dating back to high school.

       Make sure that grammar and spelling are correct. One mistake will disqualify you. No second chances. Do not trust your spelling and grammar checker.  Proofread your resume aloud and have a trusted friend do the same. This advice might sound rudimentary for a college grad but trust me when I tell you that I have witnessed Vice President candidates disqualified because of one spelling error. AND, do not refer to your resume as a curriculum vitae (CV). That is academic talk. Outside of academia it is called a resume.

  1. The “Interview” Challenge. Interviewing is one of the most intimidating challenges in the job hunting process.

The Solution.  Prepare for the interview with a friend by playing question-answer. Practice until you can answer all questions using business vocabulary. Avoid words like “awesome” and “cool.” When a hiring manage asks” Why do want to work for us?” respond, “Because your company produces products and provides services that are socially worthwhile and because your company is profitable.”

Remember to dress appropriately because first impressions are lasting impressions. Do not dress ultra-casually as you see workers dressed in TV advertisements for Google or Microsoft. Dress on the job is one thing; dress for an interview is entirely different. Wear upscale business attire which you will find on websites for national clothing stores.

HOW TO FIND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYERS

Google “Socially Responsible Employers.” I did just that and found numerous leads to companies of this kind. One site listed the five most socially responsible employers as: Microsoft (technology), Merck (Pharmaceuticals), The World Bank Group (finance and economic development), The Acumen Fund (global impact investing), and Yingli Green Energy (a solar energy producer).

For additional help finding socially conscious employers, explore companies held in the portfolio of mutual funds listed as “socially aware.” One such is the Vanguard Social Index Fund, whose symbol is VFTSX. Companies held in this fund by Vanguard are screened using social, human rights and environmental criteria. Some of these companies are: Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, United Healthcare, Facebook, Apple and J.P Morgan Chase.

Using social media for job hunting has its limitations. Use these media for networking and information but do not believe they alone will lead you to the promised land of employment. The one exception is LinkedIn, a site designed exclusively for job hunting. Jobs offers will come only after you develop a personal relationship with the hiring manager or human resources director.   You will find them at trade shows and conferences at convention centers, and by making cold calls, that is, knocking on the doors of employers and asking to see the human resources director.

WORKING WITH THE STARS

Frequently, new college grads have no role model to follow while embarking on a career straight out of college. However, they are out there. In fact, we’re surrounded by them. Let’s break them down into specific categories and take a look.  You may not recognize some of the names; others are well known throughout the world of work

Public Sector Workers. These are workers who chose careers in government. They serve in both elected and appointed positions.

  1. Joni Ernst,S. Senator for Iowa who served in the Military for 20 years before becoming the first female Senator from Iowa. Concurrently she serves as head of the Iowa National Guard.
  2. Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina. She is a Business major from Clemson University. She served as Treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
  3. Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Representative from Hawaii and Army veteran who went on several deployments to the Mideast.
  4. Patricia, “Pat” Schroeder, a lawyer and former U.S. Representative from Colorado who authored the Family Leave Program. She was the first woman to run for President of the United States. Many of the work benefits we enjoy resulted from her personal work in Congress.
  5. Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. She now serves on the faculty of Stanford University. She is a talented classical pianist and one of the world’s foremost Russian History experts.
  6. The 2,500,000 (read, two million, five hundred thousand) female K-12 school teachers. Guiding the academic, social and moral development of K-12 students is one the most powerful jobs in America. Teachers make a reasonable wage and their careers bring job satisfaction every day.

 Private Sector Workers. These are workers in companies both large and small.

  1. Becky Quick, anchor for Squawk Box, the popular CNBC TV morning finance program. Follow her each morning at 8 AM. Learn about the world of finance from Becky.
  2. Erin Burnett, host of OutFront, a popular CNN evening program. Follow Erin each night at 7 PM. Erin broke into TV as a financial analyst on a CNN evening program.
  3. Marillyn Hewson, CEO and President of defense contractor, Lockheed Martin. Over the past five years Marillyn has created thousands of new jobs, brought wealth to shareholders, and incredible technology innovation to a company dedicated to preserving our national security.
  4. Irene Rosenfeld, Chairwoman and CEO of the second largest publically traded food producer, Kraft Foods.
  5. Angela Braly, Chairwoman, CEO and President of WellPoint, a leader in the healthcare industry. The company is commonly known as Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance. She is the mother of three children and works hard to balance work and family.
  6. Kate Richard, Founder and CEO, Warwick Energy Group, an oil and gas producer located in Oklahoma City.

MOVING FORWARD

All of our STARS began their path to success in entry level jobs after graduating from college.   By applying their intelligence, energy and passion, they rose through the ranks to attain leadership positions in the socially responsible world of work. If they did it…so can you!

For more information about how to find your way after graduation, read my book titled, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD. A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. It is available in paperback and eBook from Skyhorse Publishing, Amazon and B&N.

Send comments to Weiss4Jobs@aol.com

John Henry Weiss

c2018

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Resumes / KSAs, Student jobs

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Posted on Monday, 23rd April 2018 by

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The environmental specialist series includes positions that involve advising on, managing, supervising, or performing administrative or program work relating to environmental protection programs (e.g., programs to protect or improve environmental quality, control pollution, remedy environmental damage, or ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations). These positions require specialized knowledge of the principles and methods of administering environmental protection programs and the laws and regulations related to environmental protection activities.

The federal government employs 5,472 in this occupation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the largest employer with 2,372 employed. All cabinet level and many large agencies employ workers in this occupation.

Government Requirements

You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.

The yearly salary for a GS 0028-12 is $73,375 to $108,923.

Typical Duties and Occupational Profile:

Environmental scientists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment.

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste.

Duties

Environmental scientists and specialists typically do the following:

  • Determine data collection methods for research projects, investigations, and surveys
  • Collect and compile environmental data from samples of air, soil, water, food, and other materials for scientific analysis
  • Analyze samples, surveys, and other information to identify and assess threats to the environment
  • Develop plans to prevent, control, or fix environmental problems, such as land or water pollution
  • Provide information and guidance to government officials, businesses, and the general public on possible environmental hazards and health risks
  • Prepare technical reports and presentations that explain their research and findings

Environmental scientists and specialists analyze environmental problems and develop solutions to them. For example, many environmental scientists and specialists work to reclaim lands and waters that have been contaminated by pollution. Others assess the risks that new construction projects pose to the environment and make recommendations to governments and businesses on how to minimize the environmental impact of these projects. Environmental scientists and specialists may do research and provide advice on manufacturing practices, such as advising against the use of chemicals that are known to harm the environment.

The federal government and many state and local governments have regulations to ensure that there is clean air to breathe and safe water to drink, and that there are no hazardous materials in the soil. The regulations also place limits on development, particularly near sensitive ecosystems, such as wetlands. Environmental scientists and specialists who work for governments ensure that the regulations are followed. Other environmental scientists and specialists work for consulting firms that help companies comply with regulations and policies.

Some environmental scientists and specialists focus on environmental regulations that are designed to protect people’s health, while others focus on regulations designed to minimize society’s impact on the ecosystem. The following are examples of types of specialists:

Climate change analysts study effects on ecosystems caused by the changing climate. They may do outreach education activities and grant writing typical of scientists.

Environmental health and safety specialists study how environmental factors affect human health. They investigate potential environmental health risks. For example, they may investigate and address issues arising from soil and water contamination caused by nuclear weapons manufacturing. They also educate the public about health risks that may be present in the environment.

Environmental restoration planners assess polluted sites and determine the cost and activities necessary to clean up the area.

Industrial ecologists work with industry to increase the efficiency of their operations and thereby limit the impacts these activities have on the environment. They analyze costs and benefits of various programs, as well as their impacts on ecosystems.

Other environmental scientists and specialists perform work and receive training similar to that of other physical or life scientists, but they focus on environmental issues. For example, environmental chemists study the effects that various chemicals have on ecosystems. To illustrate, they may study how acids affect plants, animals, and people. Some areas in which they work include waste management and the remediation of contaminated soils, water, and air.

Many people with backgrounds in environmental science become postsecondary teachers or high school teachers.

Education

For most entry-level jobs, environmental scientists and specialists must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry, physics, geosciences, or engineering. However, a master’s degree may be needed for advancement. Environmental scientists and specialists who have a doctoral degree make up a small percentage of the occupation, and this level of training typically is needed only for the relatively few postsecondary teaching and basic research positions.

A bachelor’s degree in environmental science offers a broad approach to the natural sciences. Students typically take courses in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. Students often take specialized courses in hydrology or waste management as part of their degree as well. Classes in environmental policy and regulation are also beneficial. Students who want to reach the Ph.D. level may find it advantageous to major in a more specific natural science, such as chemistry, biology, physics, or geology, rather than earn a broader environmental science degree.

Many environmental science programs include an internship, which allows students to gain practical experience. Prospective scientists also may volunteer for or participate in internships after graduation to develop skills needed for the occupation.

Students should look for classes and internships that include work in computer modeling, data analysis, and Geographic Information Systems (GISs). Students with experience in these programs will be the best prepared to enter the job market. The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) offers several programs to help students broaden their understanding of environmental sciences.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Environmental scientists and specialists base their conclusions on careful analysis of scientific data. They must consider all possible methods and solutions in their analyses.

Communication skills. Environmental scientists and specialists may need to present and explain their findings to audiences of varying backgrounds and write technical reports.

Interpersonal skills. Environmental scientists and specialists typically work on teams along with scientists, engineers, and technicians. Team members must be able to work together effectively to achieve their goals.

Problem-solving skills. Environmental scientists and specialists try to find the best possible solution to problems that affect the environment and people’s health.

Self-discipline. Environmental scientists and specialists may spend a lot of time working alone. They need to stay motivated and get their work done without supervision.

Advancement

As environmental scientists and specialists gain experience, they earn more responsibilities and autonomy, and may supervise the work of technicians or other scientists. Eventually, they may be promoted to project leader, program manager, or some other management or research position.

Other environmental scientists and specialists go on to work as researchers or faculty at colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on post-secondary teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Environmental scientists and specialists can become Certified Hazardous Materials Managers through the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management. This certification, which must be renewed every 5 years, shows that an environmental scientist or specialist is staying current with developments relevant to the occupation’s work. In addition, the Ecological Society of America offers several levels of certification for environmental scientists who wish to demonstrate their proficiency in ecology.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Environmental scientists and specialists often begin their careers as field analysts, research assistants, or environmental science and protection technicians in laboratories and offices.

Some environmental scientists and specialists begin their careers as scientists in related occupations, such as hydrology or engineering, and then move into the more interdisciplinary field of environmental science.

GS-0028 Environmental Protection Specialist

General qualifications excerpted form Job Announcement SWHB187243386264

Responsibilities

  • Develops and conducts hazardous material, hazardous waste, and solid waste investigations for a wide variety of customers involving military and civil environmental activities.
  • Works on small projects alone or may lead a multi-disciplined team of professionals on larger, more complex projects.
  • Serves as an expert on projects involving investigation and cleanup under RCRA and CERCLA.
  • Serves as a technical coordinator planning and administering environmental programs.
  • Determines sampling procedures, field and laboratory testing programs, interprets the resulting data using applicable criteria, guidance and environmental law, performs statistical analyses and prepares reports.
  • Prepares detailed scopes of work and government estimates, participates in negotiations and reviews contractor proposals and submittals for compliance with the negotiated scope and applicable criteria, guidance and environmental laws.
  • Oversees the contractor’s work, directing changes as needed based on changing site conditions, regulator concerns or updated project requirements.
  • Reviews AE submittals, AE prepared plans and specifications and shop drawings for technical adequacy and compliance with environmental regulations.

Specialized Experience

One year of specialized experience which includes:

1) Conduct investigations involving military and civil environmental issues.

2) Conduct studies and analyze data results using applicable criteria, guidance and environmental law.

3) Provide advice and guidance to customers on environmental programs and on-going projects. This definition of specialized experience is typical of work performed at the next lower grade/level position in the federal service (GS-11).

Job Prospects

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

Heightened public interest in the hazards facing the environment, as well as increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth, are projected to spur demand for environmental scientists and specialists. Many jobs will remain concentrated in state and local governments, and in industries that provide consulting services. Scientists and specialists will continue to be needed in these industries to analyze environmental problems and develop solutions that ensure communities’ health.

Businesses are expected to continue to consult with environmental scientists and specialists to help them minimize the impact their operations have on the environment. For example, environmental consultants help businesses to develop practices that minimize waste, prevent pollution, and conserve resources. Other environmental scientists and specialists are expected to be needed to help planners develop and construct buildings, utilities, and transportation systems that protect natural resources and limit damage to the land.

Environmental scientists and specialists should have good job opportunities. In addition to growth, many job openings will be created by scientists who retire, advance to management positions, or change careers.

Candidates may improve their employment prospects by gaining hands-on experience through an internship.

Resources

Helpful Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages, commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Friday, 20th April 2018 by

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is hiring hundreds of criminal investigators, deportation officers, Customs and Border Protection officers, Border Patrol agents, special agents, physical security specialists, police officers, emergency management specialists, intelligence analysts, and more. If you know someone who is interested in a rewarding career in law enforcement let them know about these opportunities and have them participate in one of their upcoming webinar recruiting sessions. The webinars will provide information on DHS career opportunities; the law enforcement hiring process and timelines; special hiring authorities; effective resume writing; and how to create a profile on USAJOBS. These two-hour webinars will be offered twelve times over the next two months and they are open to the public. They start April 23 running through June 20, 2018. Register to attend one of the webinars.

For all other law enforcement jobs review the occupational summary and qualifications and then search the current vacancy listings for positions in your area. We link direct to USAJob listings from our occupational profiles. The federal government employs thousands of law enforcement personnel in more than 40 job series.  Review the occupational profiles and the number employed at each agency for the top 24 jobs to see where you might fit in.

Helpful Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

 

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Civil Service Tests, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Law Enforcement jobs, Resumes / KSAs

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Posted on Sunday, 15th April 2018 by

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The Office of Management and Budget is focusing on a new way to reward and retain high performers. These government employees will likely benefit from this new structure as it seeks to replace older, more inefficient processes and focus on new initiatives. Essential skills, high performance and targeted pay incentives are the baseline for this new and improved pay plan; funding is being proposed for the 2018-2019 plans for implementation. Additionally, each Agency can work to create innovative and exciting rating systems to reward and retain employees with critical skills, knowledge and abilities. Further, monies will be provided to support robust training and education programs that focus on enhancing performance; opportunities to pilot new efficiencies, processes and procedures are being provided and encouraged across the federal government and beyond.

Specifically, the plan will enhance rewards and incentives so that organizations can retain high performers and most importantly, those with the best skill mix. In order to accomplish this, agencies will have flexibility with any number of innovations. Some may choose to elect pay banding which is accomplished by consolidating the GS system’s 15 grades into a limited number of pay bands, usually four or five Pay Bands or perhaps change ratings to a pass/fail system. The Federal Aviation Administration has used a core compensation alternative pay system incorporating pay bands since the late 1990s. Additionally, others may opt for the ability to offer cash awards for critical skills…and the list goes on and on. Developmental programs are being refined in each of these areas to determine which system works best for each particular agency based on the skills, knowledge and abilities required for those missions.

Recognizing employees for their performance is a critical piece to a successful mission; these new opportunities to alter the plans to the most appropriate solution are a good one. New forward leaning ideas will arise, and communication, collaboration and information sharing increased. Measures will be implemented so as to ensure compliance and accountability with the new system and to ensure it is working properly.

In conjunction with the new pay system, many companies are opting to revisit their education and training programs. Skill mix and development are critical to many of these mission sets and therefore, hiring and performance assessments are key to their success. By revisiting many of these education and training plans, agencies can provide additional opportunities and coursework that will in turn, enhance performance. The link to the new pay system and education and training is critical and one that should go hand in hand with the implementation of new performance requirements. This system will encourage employees to develop creative Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to improve their skill sets and be rewarded with higher pay and awards as they accomplish their targeted goals.

Many organizations are providing additional funding for coursework, on the job training, college programs and skill enhancement initiatives that foster increased performance. These opportunities, particularly in the area of information systems, cybersecurity, science, technology, engineering and math, for many of the agencies, are increasing performance and providing a more holistic way forward for the organization in meeting their goals and objectives.

Although each approach may vary, agencies will have the ability to implement what makes the most sense to them; they will now have the flexibility to  appropriately reward employees for performance and meet the needs of their mission. Each will need to ensure they work to establish a mechanism as well, to measure success; feedback on these new processes and procedures are critical and must be captured so that that they can make adjustments, as necessary.

References:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Post Office Jobs, Veterans Preference

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Posted on Sunday, 8th April 2018 by

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The federal government employs 1,325 materials engineers. The Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air force employ 825 civilians followed by NASA with 284, and the DOD with 90. The Department of Commerce employs 80 and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission employs 56. A few other cabinet level agencies employ small numbers for this occupation.

This series covers positions managing, supervising, leading, and/or performing professional engineering and scientific work to:

  • Determine and advise on a material’s essential composition, atomic and molecular configuration, and processing;
  • Relate the material’s essential composition to its properties, end use, and performance in engineering, architecture, and scientific applications and programs;
  • Examine the interaction of materials in their processes and applications, taking into account the associated equipment, systems, components, and their fabrication, design, or use;
  • Develop, maintain, and apply materials and material solutions to meet certain mechanical, electrical, environmental, and chemical requirements; and/or
  • Test and evaluate substances for new applications.

Government Requirements:

You must be U.S. citizen to apply.

The yearly salary for a GS-13 is $87,252 to $113,428.

Typical Duties and Occupational Profile:

Materials engineers work with metals, ceramics, and plastics to create new materials.

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a range of products from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs and biomedical devices. They study the properties and structures of metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, nano-materials (extremely small substances), and other substances in order to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. They also help select materials for specific products and develop new ways to use existing materials.

Duties

Materials engineers typically do the following:

  • Plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with other engineers and managers as necessary
  • Prepare proposals and budgets, analyze labor costs, write reports, and perform other managerial tasks
  • Supervise the work of technologists, technicians, and other engineers and scientists
  • Design and direct the testing of processing procedures
  • Monitor how materials perform and evaluate how they deteriorate
  • Determine causes of product failure and develop ways of overcoming such failure
  • Evaluate technical specifications and economic factors relating to the design objectives of processes or products
  • Evaluate the impact of materials processing on the environment

Materials engineers create and study materials at the atomic level. They use computers to understand and model the characteristics of materials and their components. They solve problems in several different engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace.

Materials engineers may specialize in understanding specific types of materials. The following are examples of types of materials engineers:

Ceramic engineers develop ceramic materials and the processes for making them into useful products, from high-temperature rocket nozzles to glass for LCD flat-panel displays.

Composites engineers develop materials with special, engineered properties for applications in aircraft, automobiles, and related products.

Metallurgical engineers specialize in metals, such as steel and aluminum, usually in alloyed form with additions of other elements to provide specific properties.

Plastics engineers develop and test new plastics, known as polymers, for new applications.

Semiconductor processing engineers apply materials science and engineering principles to develop new microelectronic materials for computing, sensing, and related applications.

Materials engineers plan and evaluate new projects, consulting with others as necessary.

Materials engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering or in a related engineering field. Completing internships and cooperative engineering programs while in school can be helpful in getting a position as a materials engineer.

 

Education

Students interested in studying materials engineering should take high school courses in math, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; in science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics; and in computer programming.

Entry-level jobs as a materials engineer require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs include classroom and laboratory work focusing on engineering principles.

Some colleges and universities offer a 5-year program leading to both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a post-secondary teacher or to do research and development.

Many colleges and universities offer internships and cooperative programs in partnership with industry. In these programs, students gain practical experience while completing their education.

Many engineering programs are accredited by ABET. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Materials engineers often work on projects related to other fields of engineering. They must determine how materials will be used and how they must be structured to withstand different conditions.

Math skills. Materials engineers use the principles of calculus and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Materials engineers must understand the relationship between materials’ structures, their properties, how they are made, and how these factors affect the products they are used to make. They must also figure out why a product might have failed, design a solution, and then conduct tests to make sure that the product does not fail again. These skills involve being able to identify root causes when many factors could be at fault.

Speaking skills. While working with technicians, technologists, and other engineers, materials engineers must state concepts and directions clearly. When speaking with managers, these engineers must also communicate engineering concepts to people who may not have an engineering background.

Writing skills. Materials engineers must write plans and reports clearly so that people without a materials engineering background can understand the concepts.

 

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure for materials engineers is not as common as it is for other engineering occupations, nor it is required for entry-level positions. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after earning a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE).

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Certification in the field of metallography, the science and art of dealing with the structure of metals and alloys, is available through ASM International and other materials science organizations.

Additional training in fields directly related to metallurgy and materials’ properties, such as corrosion or failure analysis, is available through ASM International.

Other Experience

During high school, students can attend engineering summer camps to see what these and other engineers do. Attending these camps can help students plan their coursework for the remainder of their time in high school.

Advancement

Junior materials engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers may receive formal training in classrooms or seminars. As engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects where they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, materials engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Many become engineering managers or move into other managerial positions or sales work. An engineering background is useful in sales because it enables sales engineers to discuss a product’s technical aspects and assist in product planning, installation, and use. For more information, see the profiles on architectural and engineering managers and sales engineers.

GS-0806-Materials Engineer

General qualifications excerpted from Job Announcement WTHI176993975616

Responsibilities

  • Provide technical consulting services to Corps Districts, Department of Defense Major commands and installations relating to airfield and roadway pavement materials and construction.
  • Provide technical consulting to Architect-Engineers (A-E) relating to airfield and roadway pavement materials and construction, with emphasis on materials testing, mix design development and review and batch plant inspections.
  • Provide technical oversight of concrete and asphalt batch plant inspections; concrete uniformity testing; preparatory inspections for all aspects of airfield and roadway paving projects.
  • Inspect and evaluate concrete and asphalt paving test sections.
  • Perform review of construction submittals to include paving equipment, paving plan, and paving materials test results.
  • Perform review for Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) and Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) mix designs.

Qualifications

Basic Requirement for Materials Engineer (transcripts are required at time of application):

  1. Degree: Bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) in engineering.

(1) lead to a bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) in a school of engineering with at least one program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET);

(2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.

  1. Combination of Education and Experience: College-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished:

(1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying engineering.

(2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:

  1. Professional registration or licensure – Current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), Engineer in Training (EIT), or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Absent other means of qualifying under this standard, those applicants who achieved such registration by means other than written test (e.g., State grandfather or eminence provisions) are eligible only for positions that are within or closely related to the specialty field of their registration. For example, an applicant who attains registration through a State Board’s eminence provision as a manufacturing engineer typically would be rated eligible only for manufacturing engineering positions.
  2. Written Test – Evidence of having successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, or any other written test required for professional registration, by an engineering licensure board in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico.
  3. Specified academic courses – Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and that included the courses specified in A above. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of an engineering program.
  4. Related curriculum – Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least

One year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions.
pavement construction.

2) quality control/quality assurance of paving materials testing.

3) conducting inspections of airfield/roadway paving projects. This definition of specialized experience is typical of work performed at the next lower grade/level position in the federal service (GS- 12).

Job Prospects

Employment of materials engineers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Materials engineers will be needed to design new materials for use both in traditional industries, such as aerospace manufacturing, and in industries focused on new medical or scientific products. However, most materials engineers work in manufacturing industries, many of which are expected to have declines or little change in employment.

Demand for materials engineers is expected to come from growing fields, such as biomedical engineering and three-dimensional printing. For example, materials engineers’ expertise is crucial in helping biomedical engineers develop new materials for medical implants.

Research and development firms will increasingly employ materials engineers as they explore new uses for materials technology in consumer products, industrial processes, and medicine.

Prospects should be best for applicants who gained experience by participating in internships or co-op programs while in college.

Computer modeling and simulations, rather than extensive and costly laboratory testing, are increasingly being used to predict the performance of new materials. Thus, those with a background in computer modeling should have better employment opportunities.

Resources

Helpful Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Resumes / KSAs

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Posted on Sunday, 25th March 2018 by

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Federal Agencies are seeking ways to become more streamlined, efficient and effective in our new era of cyber-security. Given this, jobs are being reconstructed to satisfy the need for technology, innovation, automation and security, just to name a few key areas. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is offering assistance as part of this preparation with training, education and skill enhancement opportunities. Other sources such as the Federal Employee’s Career Development Center  assists management and their employees to develop viable Individual development Plans (IDPs).  This service offers individual career development assessments and guides federal employees and management through the process using their interactive Career Planning Checklist.

OPM has also crafted a new strategic plan that provides specific information on this endeavor that includes a focus on ‘soft’ skills as part of the holistic approach for employees. With numerous challenges, to include knowledge management and transfer, this assistance is critical for all agencies and particularly those facing cybersecurity objectives. OPM will work with these agencies to enhance their internal processes, procedures and policies, supplement training and provide expertise and coaching so that they can better equip themselves with the tools they need to shape a skilled and prepared workforce.

Becoming “cyber-security compliant” is a critical task moving forward for these agencies and OPM promises to do everything in their power so that their current challenges can become opportunities for growth, protection and hardened security postures.

Agencies aren’t typically experienced with looking ‘inside’ their organizations to strengthen, streamline and enhance processes, procedures and policies, particularly when it comes to employee skill development and the strategic needs of the business. That’s where the Federal Employee’s Career Development Center can help.

OPM recommends perhaps looking at work roles and billet structures as a first step; along with a strategic vision, clear goals and objectives, these work roles and billets can become the foundation for a successful mission. Pay for performance is another area where organizations can work to capitalize on knowledge, skills and abilities throughout the organization; employees are then able to be rewarded for their increased responsibilities, heightened work activities or acquisition of additional skills, training and knowledge through coursework, for example. The Federal Aviation Administration initiated a core compensation pay plan in the 1990’s that rewards employees for outstanding performance.

A sound education and training program is another element for successful skill development. Organizations must ensure they leverage flexible telework options, training courses, academic partnerships and more that foster a holistic learning environment. A variety of opportunities that include online learning, self-paced courses, briefings, and more not only bring employees together, but foster collaboration and information sharing among colleagues that will in turn, enhance organizational missions. Finally, senior leadership buy in and support are paramount when implementing a new ‘skill development’ program; employees will look to them as the pillar for the change. Mentorship, coaching and professional development programs are a must in any organization. By looking internally to determine what the key objectives for the business are, how billets and work roles are aligned and arming employees with the right tools and resources to fulfil them are a productive mix. OPM will continue to work with agencies as they are interested, to map soft skills with technical opportunities and more for a robust and solid approach to enhanced employee skill development throughout the federal community and beyond.

Reference:

Ogrysko, N. (2018, Mar 6). Retrieved from https://federalnewsradio.com/your-job/2018/03/opm-says-itll-help-agencies-re-skill-federal-employees-for-jobs-of-the-future/

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Resumes / KSAs

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Posted on Saturday, 24th February 2018 by

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The federal government employs 3,837 public health program specialists of which 216 work overseas. The Department of Homeland Security is the largest employer with 3,591 followed by the Agency for International Development with 271.

Public health analysts may specialize in Federal public health programs, but do not usually represent those programs in dealings with non-Federal agencies and organizations. Their personal contacts are typically with people within HHS and they are primarily concerned with analyzing and evaluating the actual or potential effectiveness of current or projected public health programs in achieving objectives.

In this series public health program specialists supervise, direct, or perform work which involves providing advice and assistance to State and local governments and to various public, nonprofit, and private entities on program and administrative matters relating to the development, implementation, operation, administration, evaluation, and funding of public health activities which may be financed in whole or in part by Federal funds; or, conducting studies and performing other analytical work related to the planning, development, organization, administration, evaluation, and delivery of public health programs; or, other similar public health program work.

The job was featured by the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) and we want to briefly talk about this agency. This agency was founded in 1942 and is located in Atlanta, GA.

It is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, and is the nation’s premiere agency in promoting prevention and preparedness in the area of health.

(From the CDC website)

2017 Fast Facts

  • Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Facilities in 10 additional locations in the U.S.
  • More than 12,000 employees in nearly 150 occupations
  • Field staff work in all 50 states, DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and more than 120 countries
  • CDC’s budget in 2017: $7.2 billion

What CDC Does

  • CDC is ready 24/7 to respond to any natural or manmade event.
  • By connecting state and local health departments across the U.S., CDC can discover patterns of disease and respond when needed.
    • CDC can deliver lifesaving medicines from the Strategic National Stockpile to anywhere in the U.S. in 12 hours or less.
  • Good decision-making on health depends on the right information. CDC monitors health, informs decisionmakers, and provides people with information so they can take responsibility for their own health.
  • Local and state labs must be able to safely detect and respond to health threats in order to prevent premature death, injury, and disease. CDC trains and guides state and local public health lab partners.

CDC Saving Lives

CDC helps save lives by responding to emergencies, providing expertise, developing vaccines, and detecting disease outbreaks wherever they arise. Staff work to strengthen local and state public health departments and promote health programs that are proven to work.

CDC Protecting People

CDCs scientists collect and analyze data to determine how threats to health affect specific populations. This work protects people from hundreds of public health threats every year.

During 2015 and 2016, CDC conducted more than 750 field investigations in 49 states, 5 U.S. territories, and in at least 35 different countries. Investigations help determine what made people sick and if others have been exposed.

Government Requirements:

You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.

The yearly salary for a GS-12-14 is $75,705.00 to $150,349.00.

Typical Duties and Occupational Profile:

Medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. They might manage an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians. Medical and health services managers must direct changes that conform to changes in healthcare laws, regulations, and technology.

Duties

Medical and health services managers typically do the following:

  • Improve efficiency and quality in delivering healthcare services
  • Develop departmental goals and objectives
  • Ensure that the facility in which they work is up to date on and compliant with laws and regulations
  • Recruit, train, and supervise staff members
  • Manage the finances of the facility, such as patient fees and billing
  • Create work schedules
  • Prepare and monitor budgets and spending to ensure departments operate within funding limits
  • Represent the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards
  • Keep and organize records of the facility’s services, such as the number of inpatient beds used
  • Communicate with members of the medical staff and department heads

Medical and health services managers work closely with physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, and other healthcare workers. Others may interact with patients or insurance agents.

Medical and health services managers’ titles depend on the facility or area of expertise in which they work.

The following are examples of types of medical and health services managers:

Nursing home administrators manage staff, admissions, finances, and care of the building, as well as care of the residents in nursing homes. All states require licensure for nursing home administrators; licensing requirements vary by state.

Clinical managers oversee a specific department, such as nursing, surgery, or physical therapy, and have responsibilities based on that specialty. Clinical managers set and carry out policies, goals, and procedures for their departments; evaluate the quality of the staff’s work; and develop reports and budgets.

Health information managers are responsible for the maintenance and security of all patient records and data. They must stay up to date with evolving information technology, current or proposed laws about health information systems, and trends in managing large amounts of complex data. Health information managers must ensure that databases are complete, accurate, and accessible only to authorized personnel. They also may supervise the work of medical records and health information technicians.

Medical and health services managers must effectively communicate policies and procedures with other health professionals.

Most medical and health services managers have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering the field. However, master’s degrees are common and sometimes preferred by employers. Educational requirements vary by facility and specific function.

Education

Medical and health services managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. However, master’s degrees are common and sometimes preferred by employers. Graduate programs often last between 2 and 3 years and may include up to 1 year of supervised administrative experience in a hospital or healthcare consulting setting.

Prospective medical and health services managers typically have a degree in health administration, health management, nursing, public health administration, or business administration. Degrees that focus on both management and healthcare combine business-related courses with courses in medical terminology, hospital organization, and health information systems. For example, a degree in health administration or health information management often includes courses in health services management, accounting and budgeting, human resources administration, strategic planning, law and ethics, health economics, and health information systems.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many employers require prospective medical and health services managers to have some work experience in either an administrative or a clinical role in a hospital or other healthcare facility. For example, nursing home administrators usually have years of experience working as a registered nurse.

Others may begin their careers as medical records and health information technicians, administrative assistants, or financial clerks within a healthcare office.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Medical and health services managers must understand and follow current regulations and adapt to new laws.

Communication skills. These managers must effectively communicate policies and procedures to other health professionals and ensure their staff’s compliance with new laws and regulations.

Detail oriented. Medical and health services managers must pay attention to detail. They might be required to organize and maintain scheduling and billing information for very large facilities, such as hospitals.

Interpersonal skills. Medical and health services managers discuss staffing problems and patient information with other professionals, such as physicians and health insurance representatives.

Leadership skills. These managers are often responsible for finding creative solutions to staffing or other administrative problems. They must hire, train, motivate, and lead staff.

Technical skills. Medical and health services managers must stay up to date with advances in healthcare technology and data analytics. For example, they may need to use coding and classification software and electronic health record (EHR) systems as their facility adopts these technologies.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require licensure for nursing home administrators; requirements vary by state. In most states, these administrators must have a bachelor’s degree, complete a state-approved training program, and pass a national licensing exam. Some states also require applicants to pass a state-specific exam; others may require applicants to have previous work experience in a healthcare facility. Some states also require licensure for administrators in assisted-living facilities. For information on specific state-by-state licensure requirements, visit the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards.

A license is typically not required in other areas of medical and health services management. However, some positions may require applicants to have a registered nurse or social worker license.

Although certification is not required, some managers choose to become certified. Certification is available in many areas of practice. For example, the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management offers certification in medical management, the American Health Information Management Association offers health information management certification, and the American College of Health Care Administrators offers the Certified Nursing Home Administrator and Certified Assisted Living Administrator distinctions.

Advancement

Medical and health services managers advance by moving into higher paying positions with more responsibility. Some health information managers, for example, can advance to become responsible for the entire hospital’s information systems. Other managers may advance to top executive positions within the organization. Advancement to top level executive positions usually requires a master’s degree.

GS-0685-Public Health Analyst

General qualifications excerpted from Job Announcement #HHS-CDC-OM-17-1949748

Responsibilities

As a Public Health Analyst you will:

  • Serves as a special projects officer and conducts comprehensive research, review and analyses on a wide variety of public health-related programs to provide a wide variety of staff papers that address multi-functional issues.
  • Serves on review committees, study groups, public health task groups, or comparable groups delegated responsibility for reviewing and developing public health policies, procedures and guidelines.
  • Reviews and assesses the effectiveness of current public health policies and determines where new or changed policies are required to effectively execute public health programs, missions, and functions.
  • Provides executive management with recommendations to improve and/or overcome shortfalls and deficiencies and formulates alternative courses of action for the solution of complex cross cutting issues.
  • Prepares Congressional testimony, policy documents, briefings, reports, summaries, responses to requests for information, and other substantive documents.
  • Qualifications
  • MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:
  • GS-12:  Applicants must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 grade level in the Federal Service.  Specialized experience is experience which is directly related to the position which has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) to successfully perform the duties of the position to include experience providing assistance in evaluating and analyzing public health program operations (examples:  HIV/AIDS, TB, infectious diseases, and immunization).
  • GS-13:  Applicants must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 grade level in the Federal Service.  Specialized experience is experience which is directly related to the position which has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) to successfully perform the duties of the position to include experience independently evaluating and analyzing public health program operations (examples: HIV/AIDS, TB, infectious diseases, and immunization).
  • GS-14:  Applicants must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-13 grade level in the Federal Service.  Specialized experience is experience which is directly related to the position which has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) to successfully perform the duties of the position to include experience evaluating and analyzing public health program operations (examples: HIV/AIDS, TB, infectious diseases, and immunization) to include advising management on implementation and improvement initiatives.

Job Prospects (Excerpted from Occupational Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor)

Job prospects for medical and health services managers are likely to be favorable. In addition to rising employment demand, the need to replace managers who retire over the next decade will result in some openings. Candidates with a master’s degree in health administration or a related field, as well as knowledge of healthcare IT systems, will likely have the best prospects.

Resources

Helpful Career Planning Tools

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