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Old 10-02-2008, 10:39 AM   #1
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Military spouses get boost in Federal job market...

Military spouses get boost for federal jobs




By Karen Jowers - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Oct 2, 2008 5:46:43 EDT

The door to employment with the federal government is being pushed open a little wider for military spouses whose service members have been incapacitated or killed or who are moving with their service members on permanent change-of-station orders.
An executive order signed Sept. 25 by President Bush allows hiring managers for all federal agencies to hire qualified military spouses without going through the competitive process.
The new hiring authorities for federal managers probably will not be put into place until some time after the first of the year, said Patricia Bradshaw, deputy undersecretary of defense for civilian personnel policy. The Office of Personnel Management must issue regulations implementing Bush’s order.
“One of the key things to recruiting and retention of service members is the employment of spouses,” Bradshaw said, noting that only about 10 percent of military spouses stay in the same location for as long as five years. Frequent relocations make it difficult for spouses to build a career.
Spouses must be qualified for the federal positions for which they apply. But the new policy would allow federal hiring managers in some cases to hire spouses without advertising the jobs, depending on other hiring requirements.
“Here’s a quick hiring authority for them to get to another bucket of talent that may have perhaps gone unnoticed in the past,” Bradshaw said.
About 20,000 new employees join the federal work force each month.
Many details are yet to be worked out, such as instructions for spouses in how to request consideration under this new authority. But in broad terms, the executive order states that the new hiring authority will apply to:
• Spouses of active-duty members on PCS orders, if the spouse is relocating to the member’s new permanent duty station. This will include members of the National Guard and Reserve on active duty. Details have not yet been worked out on the length of time that the new hiring authority will be in effect before and after a PCS move.
• Spouses of 100-percent disabled retired or separated military members.
• Unremarried widows or widowers of a military member who is killed while on active duty.
Bradshaw stresses that this is not a hiring preference program, and it does not require any federal agency to hire a military spouse. The language in the order states that heads of federal agencies “may” make noncompetitive appointments of spouses.
The order does not affect the Defense Department’s existing spouse preference program, designed to help spouses who are already in civil service in obtaining jobs within that department.
That program does not help new spouses get into the federal civil service system; the new policy is designed to do that, Bradshaw said, adding that the policy will give Defense Department managers more flexibility in hiring.
The initiative also does not affect existing policies on veterans’ preference for federal jobs.
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