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Washington, DC - Kay Coles James, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), continued an outreach program to veterans aimed at recruiting veterans and increasing the use of veterans' preference law by Federal agencies. OPM staff experts continued Phase II of the "Veteran Invitational Program" (VIP) at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) on Thursday, September 23, 2004
James stated, "OPM is a strong advocate for the men and women who have served our Nation in harm's way. Veterans have demonstrated their commitment to the Nation and a long standing Federal law is in place to ensure that these individuals are given a preference for positions within the Federal government. That law is only as effective as the knowledge and desire of Federal managers to honor this commitment to veterans. That is why experts from OPM have come to Minneapolis - to educate veterans on how to apply for positions in the Federal workforce."
The OPM outreach group conducted seminars including a session which explained veterans' preference, appointing authorities, basis of preference and veterans' preference types and benefits. Other seminars and workshops covered navigation of the usajobs.gov website, resume writing, interviewing skills and the Federal application process. One of the key take-home products was the OPM-produced DVD "What Veterans Need to Know About Veterans' Preference," a comprehensive 40 minute video seminar of veterans' preference rights and eligibilities.
Commenting on the visit, Steve Kleinglass, Director of Minneapolis VAMC Director stated, "Veterans' preference was designed to ensure that qualified individuals who have served our Nation in harm's way are given the opportunity to continue serving in the civilian federal workforce. Understanding how veterans' preference works when applying for a position in the federal government is key to making this transition. I appreciate the commitment of OPM Director Kay Coles James to make this educational veterans outreach program available."
There are also valuable online resources including the VetsInfo Guide which provides general information about how the system works and how veterans' preference and the special appointing authorities for veterans operate within the system. Also available is the VetGuide which provides detailed information about the special rights and privileges that veterans enjoy in Federal civil service employment.
The guide conveniently summarizes in one place material from many laws and regulations that affect the employment of veterans. In addition to the valuable guides several forms that are needed by veterans, including the SF-15 which is the application for 10-point veteran preference, are also available at opm.gov.
OPM has worked with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to revise, simplify, and in many cases eliminate, the dozens of different form letters the agency had been using to document service-connected disabilities to determine preference. These letters (now in use by the VA) make it much easier for veterans to claim their preference and for agencies to accord it.
OPM aggressively reached out to veterans through Phase I of the VIP which was launched in August, 2003. In Phase I, OPM developed informational brochures and posters designed to raise the level of awareness among separating soldiers from the U. S. Armed Services. These materials were distributed to all major veteran service organizations and military separation offices throughout the country.
Visits by OPM experts have been made to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC as well as the VA centers in Hampton, Virginia; Albany, New York; Kansas City and Cleveland. Visits are scheduled in September to the Florida centers in Tampa and Jacksonville. OPM teams will visit additional military installations in October.
Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.