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Recruitment Policy Studio

Federal Section
Hiring Toolkit

Hiring Authorities/Other Hiring Options


Schedule D — Pathways Programs


Why appoint students and recent graduates?

An agency's overall recruiting plan must include seeking talent from all segments of society. To remain competitive, agencies need to encourage students and recent graduates to choose careers with the Federal Government; they are the Nation’s future.

The Pathways Programs consist of the:
  • Internship Program
  • Recent Graduates Program
  • Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program
Positions in the Pathways Programs are excepted from the competitive service. Participants in these Programs are appointed under Schedule D of the excepted service.

What it provides:

The Pathways Programs offer clear paths to paid Federal internships for students from high school through post-graduate school; careers for recent graduates, and provide meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service.

When to use it:

As part of an agency’s overall workforce planning efforts, the Pathways Programs may be used to infuse the workplace with enthusiasm, talent and unique perspectives. The Pathways Programs are designed to develop participants’ skill sets, foster a positive experience for participants that inspires interest in Federal service, and prepare students and recent graduates for successful Federal careers.

Benefits for hiring managers:

Using these Programs, hiring managers can access a broad range of emerging talent from high school to graduate school, including technical, vocational, science, technology, engineering and mathematics; grow a new generation of experts and leaders; develop subject matter experts; and build on existing leadership potential.

Pathways Internship Program: (READ MORE)
What it provides:

The Internship Program:
  • Provides students with paid opportunities to explore Federal careers while still in school;
  • Includes a formal written agreement between the agency and the student, and
  • Involves work related to the student’s academic pursuits or career interests.
Pathways Interns may:
  • Work full- or part- time;
  • Be hired on a temporary basis for up to one year, or an indefinite period, and are eligible to be non-competitively converted to a permanent or term (1-4 years) position in the competitive service, after fulfilling all Program requirements.
Who is eligible:

This Program is for current students enrolled or accepted for enrollment at least half-time in an accredited high school, college (including 4-year colleges/universities, community colleges, and junior colleges); professional, technical, vocational, and trade school; advanced degree programs; or other qualifying educational institution pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate.

To Hire Pathways Interns

STEPS
  1. Develop a workforce strategic plan. Develop an overall strategic hiring plan and identify which positions would be a good match for Pathways Internship Programs. Review your agency's Human Capital Strategic Plan to target skill gaps and positions related to changing mission requirements.
  2. Select positions. Select only those positions that you strongly believe will have openings for student(s) after the appointment ends. Remember that work must be related to the Intern’s academic career goals or field of study.
  3. Determine qualification standards for positions. Agencies have three options for evaluating a student's qualifications for entry into the Pathways Internship Program. An agency may:
    1. Use OPM's qualification standard, Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Schedule D, Pathways Internship Positions.
    2. Use the appropriate OPM qualification standard associated with the competitive service position to which the student will be converted.
    3. Establish its own agency-specific qualification standard.
    Note: An agency has only one option for evaluating a Pathways Intern’s qualifications for conversion into the competitive service. Each Pathways Intern must be evaluated using the appropriate OPM qualification standard associated with the competitive service position to which he or she will be converted.
  4. Determine recruiting strategies. In addition to posting the required Job Opportunity Announcement on USAJOBS, consider other recruitment activities. For example:
    • Post announcements in career centers at local schools, colleges, and universities.
    • Post features of the Pathways Internship Program on your agency's website for potential applicants to see.
    • Conduct outreach to schools, colleges, and universities to participate in job fairs, career days, etc..
    • Establish relationships with career counselors, heads of departments, and others to provide information on Pathways Programs.
  5. Develop examining procedures for selection and appointment. Agencies must apply the provisions of 5 CFR part 302 when considering, selecting and appointing individuals to positions under any Pathways Program. These provisions govern the order of consideration, selection and appointment of individuals to positions in the excepted service.

Develop a formal agreement. Each agency must sign a Participant Agreement with the Intern that clearly identifies expectations, including a general description of duties, evaluation procedures, work schedules, and minimum eligibility requirements for conversion to term or permanent positions in the competitive service.


Pathways Recent Graduates Program: (READ MORE)
This Program is used for individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs, from undergraduate to post-graduate levels, who seek a dynamic career development program with training and mentorship. Program basics include:
  • 1-year Program with formal training and development opportunities to meet specific agency needs
  • Agencies can identify a 2-year program for specific occupations
  • Appointments to the GS-5/7/9 (GS-11 or 12 for certain scientific or professional positions) levels
  • Eligibility for permanent non-competitive appointment to the competitive service after meeting Program requirements
Who is eligible? This Program is for individuals who have graduated from qualifying educational institutions with an associates, bachelors, masters, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate. Individuals must apply within 2 years of degree or certificate completion, except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who have up to 6 years after degree or certificate completion to apply.

To Hire Recent Graduates

Program Administration: The Recent Graduates Program is administered at the individual agency level. Each agency must sign a Participant Agreement with the Recent Graduate that clearly identifies expectations, including a general description of duties, evaluation procedures, work schedules, and minimum eligibility requirements for conversion to term or permanent positions in the competitive service.

The recent graduate:
  • Receives mentorship, career development (Individual Development Plan) and at least 40 hours of interactive training per year
  • Has opportunity for career advancement
    May be non-competitively converted to a permanent or term (1-4 years) position if program requirements are met
STEPS
  1. Develop a workforce strategic plan. Develop an overall strategic hiring plan and identify which positions would be a good match for Pathways Recent Graduates Program. Review your agency's Human Capital Strategic Plan to target skill gaps and positions related to changing mission requirements.
  2. Select positions. Select positions that lend themselves to structured training and development.
  3. Determine qualification standards for positions. Appointments are subject to the basic qualification standards for competitive service positions established by OPM for the occupation and grade level.
  4. Develop Recruiting Strategies. At a minimum, agencies post information publicly on www.usajobs.gov about how to apply for specific positions.
  5. Develop examining procedures for selection and appointment. Agencies must apply the provisions of 5 CFR part 302 when considering, selecting and appointing individuals to positions under any Pathways Program. These provisions govern the order of consideration, selection and appointment of individuals to positions in the excepted service.


Pathways Programs – Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program: (READ MORE)
The PMF Program is the Federal Government’s premier leadership development program for advanced degree candidates. This Program is for individuals who have received a qualifying advanced degree within the preceding 2 years.

The PMF Program offers:
  • 2-year leadership development program
  • Fellows appointed at the GS-9, 11, or 12
  • Rigorous training requirements
  • Eligible for permanent placement if…..
    • Successful completion of Fellowship
    • Fellow is certified by the agency’s Executive Resources Board
Who is eligible? Individuals who have completed a qualifying advanced degree (e.g., masters degree, professional degree) within the past 2 years; or individuals who expect to complete requirements by August 31 of the academic year in which the PMF competition is held. An individual may apply for the PMF Program more than once as long as he or she meets the eligibility criteria.

To Hire Presidential Management Fellows

The PMF Program is centrally administered by the PMF Program Office within OPM.
  • OPM announces the opportunity to apply for the PMF Program (usually in the late summer or early fall).
  • Applicants go through a rigorous assessment process to determine Finalists.
  • OPM selects Finalists based on an evaluation of each candidate’s experience and accomplishments according to his or her application and results of the assessments.
  • OPM publishes and provides agencies with the list of Finalists.
  • Agencies provide OPM with information about their PMF opportunities and can post PMF appointment opportunities for those who are Finalists on the PMF website year-round. In addition, a job fair is typically held for Finalists each year.
  • Finalists who obtain an appointment as a PMF serve in a two-year excepted service position.


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