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Our Director Director's Blog

Federal Jobs

The Office of Personnel Management is proud to be part of the President’s effort to get long-term unemployed Americans back to work. As a part of his call to action, OPM this week issued guidance to Federal agencies that explains how we will be working with them to reduce barriers to employment, encourage recruitment and focus on hiring the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have the skills, experience and desire to serve the American people.

Americans who have been unemployed for a long time often have trouble finding a new job. We want to make sure that when they apply for Federal jobs, they are not passed over because of gaps in employment or because of financial circumstances beyond their control, like getting behind in mortgage payments during protracted periods of unemployment. We are also providing agencies with training and updated guidance on complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Act is used when applicants’ credit histories are reviewed as a part of determining whether they are suitable for employment. Also, to clarify Federal hiring policies, we've created a "myth buster" fact sheet that is available on OPM's new Recruitment Policy Studio.

It is crucial that we ensure that everyone has a fair shot at Federal jobs. As the chief HR officer for the Federal government, I take our responsibility to be a model employer very seriously. We will do everything we can to ensure that Americans who have the talent, the experience, and the desire to serve have an equal opportunity to do so.

image of graph of unemployment rate from 2010 to 2014 showing its decrease


As I’ve begun to look at the results of the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, I’m happy to report that there are more than 336,000 people under the age of 33 in our workforce and most of them say they are satisfied with their jobs. They also strongly believe that the work they do is important and that they have real opportunities to improve their skills.

I am not surprised. I have traveled around the country meeting with young Federal workers, veterans and college students. They all have something in common: They are looking for work that is purpose-driven and where they feel they can make a difference. And the new FEVS survey results show many millennials are finding just that in Federal service.

The results have encouraged me to make sure that we at OPM redouble our efforts to attract, develop and retain these talented young people. We are doing that in several ways: OPM is working hard on a new initiative called REDI to Connect. REDI stands for recruitment, engagement, diversity and inclusion.

A key feature of this initiative includes OPM’s work to enhance our Pathways programs, which provide internships to students in school and to recent college graduates. Both the Pathways program and our Presidential Management Fellows program are great ways for millennials to try out Federal service to see if it’s a good fit for them.

As part of REDI, OPM is also expanding the use of social media so that we can reach millennials via the platforms that they use in their job searches. And we’re reaching out to the young users of our main job portal – USAJOBS – to see how we can make is more user-friendly.

I am so gratified to see that our Federal millennials have opportunity with us in government. And I am taking seriously the areas where the data shows we can do better.

Thank you to all in our Federal family who responded to this important survey. Stay tuned for more results in the coming weeks.

Image of thought bubble with cartoon people. Next to it are the words Millennials Finding Opportunity in Federal Service


One request I get each time I talk with students, teachers, Federal employees and community leaders is: Please make USAJOBS easier to use.

I’ve heard you. OPM wants to make USAJOBS the best possible tool for people searching for a job in the Federal government. And to do that we need your help.

I’m happy to announce that our USAJOBS team is beginning a program to ask people who use USAJOBS to help us identify the issues they encounter when they access the site. Our team is looking for volunteers, and we need your feedback.

We would need about two hours of your time. Here are some of the things we may ask you to do as part of our research:

  • Participate in an interview about your experiences with the site (1 hour).
  • Test out the current site or potential changes to the site (30-60 minutes).
  • Participate in a focus group discussion (2 hours).
  • Join a brainstorming session on how to improve the site (2 hours).

Getting help from those who use USAJOBS is crucial to our effort to improve it. We want USAJOBS to be easy to navigate. We want it to be the best it can be for you, the job seeker.

Interested in helping? Email usability@usajobs.gov with your name, state of residence, and preferred email address.


The College Tour continues. Thursday I had the pleasure of meeting with students at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

It was my first visit to Charlottesville. What a beautiful campus!

I brought some members of my Office of Personnel Management team with me to talk to the students about what it’s like to work for the Federal government and what the opportunities are for Federal service.  They had a good discussion and the students had lots of questions.

I shared some of my earliest experiences in public service and urged the students give us a try. It’s a message I want to take to young people across the country. We’re looking for fresh talent. We’re looking for people who want to use their skills to help their fellow Americans. We’re looking for our next generation of public service leaders.

They asked important questions about how to make a resume stand out from the pack and about the process for applying for a Federal job.

I talked about the incredible variety of jobs in the Federal government that are available all across this great country. I pointed them to USAJOBS.gov and we showed a short video that chronicles the breadth of careers available. 

I plan to continue my college tour to spread the word about the opportunities in Federal service. I urge all of us in the Federal family to do the same.


Last week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) co-hosted the first ever Data Jam focused on jobs, labor & skills.

Closing the skills gap and especially empowering the Federal Science Technology
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce is key in our efforts to deliver on the core mission of OPM: to recruit, train and retain a world class workforce for the 21st Century.

This event at the White House was a way to bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and experts in technology to brainstorm new uses of data as another tool in our tool kit for this effort.


The number of Federal jobs that rely on STEM talent is amazing. More than 300,000 people comprise the Federal STEM workforce nationwide– from scientists researching cancer cures at the National Institutes of Health to astronauts putting satellites into space at NASA to web developers helping people access mortgage information at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 These STEM workers are vital to the Federal government’s mission and OPM is determined to work with agencies to help them better recruit, train, and retain such talented professionals.  And its OPM’s responsibility to find innovative ways to better use the key personnel and applicant data that we guard even as we ensure the integrity and security of this information.

That’s where this Data Jam and future meetings like it comes in. The first brainstorming session focused on six key issues:

  • Identifying skills & talent in real-time
  • Optimizing quality of work produced
  • Tracking flow into, through, and out of various career paths
  • Employee engagement and its impacts
  • Projecting future STEM needs
  • Diversity of the STEM workforce

And the Data Jam elicited some exciting proposed solutions – from data visualizations to online tools to skills marketplaces. The participants committed to building some prototypes of these innovative solutions. We want to partner with entrepreneurs and innovators to develop tools that can ensure that the American people have a Federal STEM workforce that is more diverse, more capable, and more engaged than ever before.  

Data Jam was only the first step. Later this year OPM and OSTP, in collaboration with other Federal agencies, will showcase some of the innovative solutions raised at Data Jam at the first Jobs, Labor & Skills Datapalooza.

We want to hear from everyone who has an idea of how to better use open data to help us grow and expand the Federal STEM workforce. This is a goal we can achieve together.


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