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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.
Each year, Americans celebrate Independence Day with parties, fireworks, parades, and concerts. But not all Americans will be grilling out with family and friends. Federal workers across the country will be hard at work on Monday, serving in a multitude of ways. As we celebrate, let’s take a moment to recognize their service.
If you plan on enjoying the holiday weekend at one of America’s national parks, you will surely run into a National Park Ranger. They are responsible for protecting and supervising our parks 365 days a year. They also help make visiting our parks safe and a memorable experience, including giving guided tours to millions of Americans and tourists from around the world.
Law enforcement and medical personnel will also be standing their posts on the Fourth of July. In the Washington D.C. metro area, United States Capitol Police and Secret Service agents will be on high alert, protecting our elected officials and the thousands of tourists coming into the District of Columbia to celebrate the Fourth.
And just like doctors, nurses, and EMT’s in the private sector, medical personnel working for the Federal Government will be busy taking care of patients on the holiday. Twenty million Americans are veterans and they receive medical care at the many VA hospitals and clinics across the country.
In this year’s proclamation in honor of Public Service Recognition Week, the President highlighted how the country’s progress is fueled by selfless citizens who dedicate their lives to serving their fellow Americans and working towards making our country the best it can be.
“Civil servants demonstrate resolve and inspire optimism in sectors throughout our country. They are engineers and educators, military service members and social workers, and their individual and collective contributions drive us forward on the path toward an ever brighter tomorrow,” the proclamation said.
This Fourth of July, while you are celebrating with family and friends, please take a moment to remember the dedicated public servants who are spending their day at work, helping to ensure our country remains safe for all who call America home.
Each day, 1.8 million hard-working
Federal employees across the world dedicate themselves to serving the
American people with passion, creativity, and innovation.
To make sure that we can continue this
quality of service for years to come, the Office of Personnel
Management and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, and the
Presidential Personnel Office launched the Hiring Excellence Campaign, an
effort to improve the way we recruit new talent to Federal service. As the
President’s Management Agenda highlights, to remain competitive in today’s
labor market, we must modernize and transform the way we recruit and hire
So, now I want to take
a moment to talk to you – the hiring managers and the human resources teams. The
Hiring Excellence Campaign was designed specifically for you based on extensive
feedback we’ve received from agency leaders, HR staff, and hiring managers. We
want to give you all of the information, tools, and support you need to attract
and hire a world-class workforce.
To get this information
to you we are holding free, one-day Hiring Excellence training sessions across
the country focused on the theme, “Connecting with Top Talent.” We have
held 21 training sessions so far and will hold an additional 16 sessions throughout FY 2016.
In the session, OPM’s
team will share best practices, mythbusters, and hiring tools – some of which
you may not realize you already have at your fingertips. For example, there is
a wide range of strategic recruitment
strategies and hiring authorities, from disability
hiring to excepted service to direct hire authorities, available to you to
identify and hire top talent. There are also multiple ways for you to assess applicants to make
sure they are the top qualified candidates for your position. We’ll also dive
into effective techniques for collaborating between HR staff and hiring
managers to help you improve hiring outcomes in your agency.
We also want to make
sure you are familiar with the updates to USAJOBS that benefit both you and
On the hiring manager
and HR staff end, USAJOBS now has an Agency Talent Portal that provides tools
to help agencies find and recruit talent. Additionally, you can take advantage
of a new job opportunity announcement analytics dashboard to measure how
effective recruitment and hiring was for a position. We also have a resume
mining pilot that can help you use USAJOBS to find qualified candidates already
registered with the website to apply for a position.
On the applicant side,
USAJOBS offers a map search feature to help job seekers see jobs across the
world that they may be interested in. We also updated the application process
to help applicants work through a simple, five-step tracker to create an
application package. It allows applicants to easily edit their documents within
the application and not have to go back to their profiles each time. And,
USAJOBS is now designed to be accessible on any mobile device.
These and many more
tools will be covered in our Hiring Excellence sessions, and we hope you can
join us for one of them. Register now for
upcoming dates in cities across the Nation; please register for the session
that best meets your needs. Our next sessions are in Detroit on July 12th and
Nashville on July 14th.
is one of a manager’s most important responsibilities and the human resources
team is a crucial partner. Together you are the key to building hiring
excellence across government.
Be sure to check out
the training registration links, resources and additional information on our
new Hiring Excellence hub that we’ll be regularly updating – www.opm.gov/hiringexcellence.
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