Hiring reforms beginning to spread through agencies

Memo offers agencies guidance on Pathways Programs

The Office of Personnel Management expects to fully implement recruiting and hiring reforms recently ordered by the White House in a year. To jump-start the reform process, federal agencies will need to designate an officer in charge of the new recruitment programs by next month.

In a memo to chief human capital officers dated Jan. 5, OPM Director John Berry detailed last month’s executive order on consolidating student and recent graduate programs into a new Pathways Programs framework.


Related story:

White House steps up federal recruiting efforts


“The principal purpose of the order is to establish a comprehensive structure to help the federal government be more competitive in recruiting and hiring talented individuals who are in school or who have recently received a degree,” Berry wrote.

The executive order established two new programs – the Internship Program and the Recent Graduates Program – and modifies the longstanding Presidential Management Fellows Program. The programs are collectively referred to as the Pathways Programs.

OPM also touched on the executive order’s elimination of the Federal Career Intern Program, a move that was welcomed by labor unions who criticized FCIP as being unfair.

The OPM memo indicated agencies will need to establish a Pathways Programs officer position by Feb. 10. The officer will be in charge of administering the programs, serving as a liaison with OPM and reporting to OPM on the implementation of the programs and the people hired under them. 

OPM also said the executive order directs agencies with FCIP incumbents to convert them to career positions in the competitive service beginning March 1.

Although labor unions praised the end of FCIP, they have expressed concern over the operation of the administration’s new programs.

“In a similarity with the FCIP, this new program would be an exception to competitive service, and, as such, it should be very narrowly drawn,” National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said in a statement. 

The Pathways Programs won’t be in place until regulations to implement them go through a public comment period and are finalized, according to OPM. 


 

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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