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Human Resources and Security Specialists should use this tool to determine the correct investigation level for any covered position within the U.S. Federal Government.
OPM’s Human Resources Solutions organization can help your agency answer this critically important question.
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The summer is flying by. Youngsters have begun picking out their new notebooks and backpacks as they get ready to go back to school. This may be a good time for Federal employees to consider going back to the classroom to enhance their knowledge and skills.
It’s possible the path forward in your career is in another field - perhaps even one that did not exist a few years ago. Or maybe you just want to develop in your current career. This might even be a great time to build a career in one of our high-demand fields like information technology, health care, accounting, or cybersecurity.
Each year the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey tells us that Federal employees want more opportunities to enrich their learning and branch out into new fields and new opportunities.
Take it from Tameka Lyons. She was already enrolled in the University of Maryland University College when she joined the National Institutes of Health. She found out about the tuition discount for Federal employees. For Tameka, the 25 percent discount on her tuition meant she was able to fund her last two semesters out of pocket. “I didn’t need to take out loans, so that was just an awesome feeling,” she said. Tameka said she didn’t have to contemplate taking fewer classes because she was worried about being saddled with so much debt.
Tameka, who is now an HR specialist at the Department of Justice, is just one of the many Federal employees taking advantage of this important benefit.
If you’re thinking about where to go to get the advanced learning that will help you take the next step on your career path, I wanted to make sure you knew about the tuition discounts on higher education that are available to you, your spouse, and your legal dependents. These are opportunities for both in person and online learning, depending on the program. OPM has made agreements with these six institutions and we’re working on more alliances in the future. Here are the available programs and the links to more information about their classes.
I encourage all Federal employees to continue to expand their knowledge and education – whether through the programs listed above or in the many other educational programs available at your agency or at schools across the country. We hope these discounts make it easier for you and your family to reach your educational goals.
One of any leader’s most important responsibilities is to engage his or her workforce. When your employees don’t work in the same building as you do, creating an engaged workforce can seem even more challenging. As more and more of our colleagues telework or work remotely, it’s even more important that we find ways to make them fully included partners in the work we do every day.
I’m happy to report that OPM has some ideas that can help, and we’re sponsoring an online webinar to share some of them.
Please join us on Tuesday, August 16, at 11:00 am EDT (please log in no later than 10:55 a.m.) for the fifth of eight, no-cost monthly Employee Engagement webinars. I’ll be hosting this month’s session entitled: “Engaging a Remote Workforce.”
This Employee Engagement series is based on extensive research and is consistent with OPM’s Strategic Goal of providing leadership to help agencies create a fully engaged and energized workforce. If you are a Federal employee responsible for implementing employee engagement initiatives, or just interested in current employee engagement research, best practices, and impact measures, then this webinar is for you.
To register, please visit the OPM Webinar Series page.
In case you can’t make it, I’d like to share the top two things you can do to help engage your remote workforce:
Structure your communications
If you’re able to join us on the 16th, I’ll share strategies to make these happen and even more tips.
As always, please keep an eye on OPM’s Webinar Series page for opportunities to engage with our experts on a variety of topics to help in your work: OPM Webinar Series page.
Summer is a great time for beach getaways, barbecues in the backyard, and other outdoor activities that we long for during the cold, winter months.
But it’s also a time when severe heat and humidity – like we’ve seen during this summer season – make it necessary for us all to take precautions to protect ourselves and our family’s health and well-being.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have teamed up to remind all of us, including agencies and employees across government about what they can do to protect all Federal workers during potentially dangerous heat waves.
Regardless of where we work, we can all follow some basic common-sense practices as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible; wear lightweight, light-colored clothing; drink more water than usual, and check for extreme heat alerts.
It’s also important to remember that for Federal employees, OPM’s workplace flexibilities that may be used to reduce health risks during such extreme heat periods. If your supervisor approves, telework-ready employees may telework from home on a day when air quality conditions are poor. If your agency policies allow, an employee working a flexible work schedule may elect to adjust when they come to work and when they leave in order to avoid commuting during the hottest period of the day. Employees can also ask for annual leave, earned compensatory time or credit hours on a day when severe heat and humidity are threatening their health and welfare.
OPM has issued a memorandum to Chief Human Capital Officers across government outlining these flexibilities and including some Federal Government websites that offer more tips on how to handle severe heat and humidity conditions.
I know that all Federal employees are dedicated and committed to doing all they can to serve the American people. At the same time, we all must be mindful of protecting our health during severe weather events - whether cold and storm during winter or the kind of high temperatures and humidity we’ve been experiencing this summer.
As a part of a system-wide upgrade to the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) website, the site will be in transition from July 30 through September 1. During this period, there will be a blackout on participants being able to request reimbursements from their FSA.
The blackout is necessary to allow WageWorks, which was recently awarded a new contract, to set up an enhanced process to file claims and use the FSAFEDS website.
OPM regrets that the blackout may cause inconvenience for some FSAFEDS participants and we understand their concern. However, given the broad scope of the transition, the sensitive nature of the data involved, and the significant security requirements, a claims blackout period of four weeks is necessary. When the upgrades are complete, we are confident that FSAFEDS will be equipped to deliver enhanced service to participants.
In preparation for the transition period, OPM has given FSAFEDS participants several months’ notice through outreach including letters and emails. To minimize the inconvenience, we have scheduled the blackout in late summer, when claim volumes are typically lowest.
For specific information on the transition period, we recommend that participants visit www.fsafeds.com, which includes a FAQ. Participants may also contact the FSAFEDS Program Office at FSA@opm.gov.
In addition, there is still time for participants to file claims for reimbursement before the blackout period begins on July 30.
FSAFEDS allows participants to save money for health care expenses with a Health Care or Limited Expense Health Care FSA. Think of it as a pre-tax savings account that helps you pay for items that typically aren’t covered by a Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) plan, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, or other health insurance coverage. FSAFEDS also offers another account called Dependent Care FSA. This account allows employees to set aside money for day care expenses for young children and elder care expenses.
We thank everyone for their support of FSAFEDS and for your patience while we go through this transition.
Administration is directing a series of actions to identify, recruit, develop, retain, and expand the pipeline of the
best, brightest, and most diverse cybersecurity talent for Federal service and for our nation.
Every day, Federal
departments and agencies face sophisticated and persistent cyber threats that pose strategic, economic, and security
challenges to our Nation. Addressing these cyber threats has required a bold reassessment of the way we approach
security in the digital age and a significant investment in critical security tools and our cybersecurity workforce. And
these threats demand that we continue to enhance the security of the Federal digital infrastructure and improve the
ability to detect and respond to cyber incidents as they occur. That is why, in 2009, President Obama initiated a
comprehensive strategy to confront this ever-evolving challenge. The strategy brings all levels of government together
with private industry, academia, international partners, and the public, to raise the level of cybersecurity in both the
public and private sectors; deter and disrupt adversary activities in cyberspace; improve capabilities for incident
response and resilience; and enact legislation to both incentivize and remove legal barriers to cybersecurity threat
information-sharing among private entities and between the private sector and the Government. While we have made
significant progress, we must do more.
cybersecurity workforce has the challenging mission of protecting government information technology (IT) systems,
networks, and data from sophisticated adversaries; safeguarding sensitive data; supporting our Nation’s financial,
energy, healthcare, transportation, and other critical systems; and securing our critical infrastructure and intelligence
systems. However, the supply of cybersecurity talent to meet the increasing demand of the Federal Government is simply
not sufficient. As part of a broad-sweeping review of Federal cybersecurity policies, plans, and procedures, the
Cybersecurity Sprint launched by the Office of Management and Budget last year revealed two key observations about the
Federal cybersecurity workforce:
shortfall affects not only the Federal government, but the private sector as well. Recent industry reports project this
shortfall will expand rapidly over the coming years unless private sector companies and the Federal Government act to
expand the cybersecurity workforce pipeline to meet the increasing demand.
To address these and
other cybersecurity challenges, earlier this year the President directed his Administration to implement the
Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) – a capstone of more than seven years of determined effort – which takes near-
term actions and puts in place a long-term strategy that builds on other cybersecurity efforts while calling for
innovation and investments in cybersecurity education and training to strengthen the cybersecurity talent pipeline. As
directed by the CNAP and the President’s 2017 Budget, today we are releasing the first-ever Federal Cybersecurity
Workforce Strategy to grow the pipeline of highly skilled cybersecurity talent entering federal service, and retain and
better invest in the talent already in public service. And it sets forth a vision where private sector cybersecurity
leaders would see a tour of duty in Federal service as an essential stop in their career arc.
establishes four key initiatives:
Expand the Cybersecurity Workforce through Education and Training. The Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy supports
the CNAP initiatives that propose investing $62 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding to expand cybersecurity
education across the Nation. This funding will lay the foundation needed to ultimately address the shortage of
cybersecurity talent across the country. These initiatives include offering competitive scholarships and covering full
tuition for college and university students through the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service program; collaborating with
academic institutions to develop guidance for cybersecurity core curriculum and allow colleges and universities to expand
their course offerings; and providing program development grants to academic institutions to hire or retain professors,
adopt a cybersecurity core curriculum and strengthen their overall cybersecurity education programs.
Cybersecurity is a
shared responsibility among agency leadership, employees, contractors, private industry, and the American people. And the
Workforce Strategy details numerous initiatives to harness this collective power and help strengthen the security of
Federal networks, systems, and assets. To address cybersecurity challenges in the immediate future, the Administration
will invest in the existing Federal workforce through initiatives focused on training and retaining existing talent. At
the same time, the Government will adjust the way it recruits, including the way it approaches talented students and
potential employees in the cybersecurity workforce outside Federal service.
We must recognize
that these changes will take time to implement, and the Workforce Strategy’s long-term success will depend on the
attention, innovation, and resources from all levels of government. The initiatives discussed in this Strategy represent
a meaningful first step toward engaging Federal and non-Federal stakeholders and provide the resources necessary to
establish, strengthen, and grow a pipeline of cybersecurity talent well into the future.
Shaun Donovan is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Beth Cobert is the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Michael Daniel is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator.
Tony Scott is the U.S. Chief Information Officer.
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