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News Release

Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Contact: Brendan LaCivita
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Hosts Fifth Governmentwide Hiring Flexibility Training Symposium for Agency Human Resources Professionals

230 hiring professionals from 30 agencies attended training

Washington, D.C. - During a recent governmentwide training symposium hosted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), 230 agency Chief Human Capital Officers and human resources professionals from 30 federal agencies were encouraged to make better use of the available hiring flexibilities to improve the federal hiring process. 

"As I have pointed out before, the keys to improving the quality and speed of the hiring process are to use existing flexibilities as and when they are appropriate and to fully engage agency human resources staff," OPM Director Kay Coles James wrote in a recent memorandum on ten things agencies can do to improve federal hiring.  

The all-day symposium featured sessions led by OPM associate directors and senior officials on the various hiring flexibilities, including sessions on veteran hiring and student and excepted service employment authorities.  The training provided agency leaders and managers with instructions on how to implement existing hiring flexibilities to make public service more attractive to jobseekers who have been discouraged by the often cumbersome and confusing federal hiring process.

James called for the symposiums to further clarify misperceptions that lead to delays in timely hiring and to educate agency front-line hiring officials on the specifics of how to utilize flexibilities already available.  Participants will gain practical knowledge of the full range of tools at their disposal, and continue to be encouraged to practice what they have learned.

"The key to solving the delays in the hiring process is coordinated teamwork among federal agencies and OPM.  OPM is committed to ushering through new tools for hiring professionals, and we are firmly committed to fulfilling our responsibility to provide quality training on a timely basis. 

Agencies need to review their internal hiring processes and make certain their teams take advantage of OPM training opportunities and implement the flexibilities that have been provided.  The shared goal is to provide federal job seekers with a timely and responsive experience as they seek to serve their nation," James added.

The hiring flexibilities discussed were:

  • Voluntary Early Retirement Authority
  • Academic Degree Training
  • Category Rating
  • Direct Hire Authority
  • Student Career Experience Program
  • Federal Career Intern Program
  • Excepted Appointments
  • Veterans' Hiring Programs
  • Presidential Management Fellows Program 

At the symposium, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Housing and Urban Development were featured as models of success for their roles in improving hiring through re-engineering HR processes and using available hiring flexibility tools. 

"The key to successfully re-engineering the civilian fill process is through a partnership between human resource professionals and line managers," stated Ronald L. Orr, Principal Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics of the U.S. Air Force.  "Together, we can identify value-added steps taken and eliminate waste to improve operations.  This training, and others like it, is vital to streamlining the process and yielding results."

OPM has offered agencies five training opportunities at its headquarters in the past year on how to use hiring flexibilities, and, due to the high demand, will announce an additional training in the near future. 

List of Participating Agencies from Latest Training Symposium:

  • Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
  • Armed Forces Retirement Home
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of State
  • Department of Treasury
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Federal Maritime Commission
  • Merit Systems Protection Board
  • National Academy of Public Administration
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Guard Bureau
  • National Research Center
  • National Science Foundation
  • Office of Government Ethics
  • RMT Group
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • U.S. Senate
- end -

OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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