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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

  • Yes, if the work performed is related to the student's academic studies and career goals. There should be clear documentation showing the relatedness between the work (actual duties/tasks/assignments) performed while on the Student Temporary Employment Program appointment and the Student Career Experience Program appointment. See 5 CFR § 213.3202(a)(15).
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  • No. These programs are established pursuant to 5 CFR § 213.3201 and 5 CFR § 213.3202 (a) and (b), respectively. Section 213.3202(b), establishing the Student Career Experience Program explicitly states that written tests are waived for students in the Student Career Experience Program. See 5 CFR § 213.3202(b)(15). This includes initial appointment and conversion. Although it is not explicitly stated in subparagraph (b), written tests are also waived for entry into the Student Temporary Employment Program. That program, like the Student Career Experience Program, was created pursuant to 5 CFR § 213.3201. Section 213.3201 establishes that positions filled under this authority are excepted from the usual competitive examining procedures.
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  • Age 16 is the minimum age allowed for Federal employment. This is described in OPM's regulations on child labor at 5 CFR § 551.601.
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  • There are no OPM requirements for public notice. Agencies may establish procedures of their own.
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  • No. 5 CFR § 315.802 only allows for prior Federal service in the same agency and in the same line of work.
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  • As with all interviews, the interviewer should have a full understanding of the job requirements before interviewing any candidate. The interviewer should be familiar with his/her agency’s own policies and practices. The interview must focus on abilities and how the applicant will accomplish tasks and meet the goals and objectives of the position. Ask all applicants the same questions including whether or not they have any needs that will require reasonable accommodation. Do not ask specific questions about an applicant's disability even if the disability is obvious. Some applicants will voluntarily explain how their disability relates to their ability to do the job, but others will not. Even if the applicant does discuss a disability, do not ask any questions about the disability that are not relevant to the actual position. It is important not to speculate about how you would perform a specific job if you had the applicant’s disability. For more tips on interviewing people with disabilities, visit the Mainstream website and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website.
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  • If the critical functions of a job involve the need to travel, it is important that job candidates and employees are made aware of this requirement. Many people with disabilities are not limited in their ability to travel or perform temporary duty away from the office. In this case, no accommodation is needed. In other cases, a person's disability may affect his or her ability to travel. As with all reasonable accommodations, start with the employee. The accommodation needed for traveling will vary according to a person's disability and the mode, frequency and duration of travel. Constant travel is far different from an occasional trip. Local travel needs are far different from international air travel needs. For an employee who uses the services of an interpreter, reader, or personal assistant, it may be a matter of ensuring that the personal assistant, reader, or interpreter accompany the individual on a trip or be available once the individual reaches the destination. The General Services Administration travel regulations also provide authority to allow airline travel by first-class accommodation when a person with a disability is unable to travel standard coach because of space requirements or mobility limitations. In some cases, travel may not be involved in a critical job function, and it may be possible to redistribute duties in a work center, giving travel duties to some employees and other duties to those employees who have limitations with regard to travel. Sometimes, after looking at the job requirements and consulting with the individual and professional resources on job accommodations, you may find that the particular job requirements and the particular needs/limitations of a person with a disability are simply not compatible.The important point is not to assume that travel is impossible for a disabled person. In many situations, with a little thought and advance planning, a person with a disability can perform required travel and effectively accomplish the requirements of his/her job. For helpful information for travelers with disabilities, see the Disability.gov website.
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  • An agency must use the same qualification standard it used to appoint the student. See 5 CFR § 213.3202(a)(12) and 213.3202(b)(15).
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  • If the student (STEP or SCEP) has not completed his/her education requirements, students are covered by OPM's reduction in force regulations and are placed in excepted service, tenure group 2. If, however, a student in the Student Career Experience Program has completed his/her education requirements, and is within the 120- day conversion period for optional conversion, he or she has no vested right to remain employed and has no mandatory right to be non-competitively converted to a competitive service position. Therefore, the agency may terminate the student without regard to reduction in force regulations.
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  • An agency is not required to make an accommodation if it can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on its everyday operations. An undue hardship is an action that requires "significant difficulty or expense" in relation to:
    • overall size of the agency's program with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities and size of budget;
    • type of operation, including the composition and structure of the agency's workforce; and
    • nature and cost of the accommodation.
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