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Provision Scales Back Federal Job Preferences for Veterans

Veterans McCainBy Debbie Gregory.

Congress has stepped into a sensitive issue that’s been quietly roiling the hiring system for federal jobs: the Obama administration’s push to give preference to veterans.

While former service members would still go to the head of the hiring line, a little-noticed provision of the new defense bill recently passed by the Senate would eliminate the preference veterans get once they are in the government and apply for another federal job.

Top defense officials pressed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the change in order to ensure that qualified non-veterans are considered equally with veterans for specialized, hard-to-fill positions.

The provision would affect thousands of veterans, many of whom get a foot in the door with an entry-level position and then seek jobs at other agencies.

The provision has been fiercely opposed by leading service organizations, which had no idea until the legislation was on the floor that the Senate was moving to chip away at the government’s most visible effort to reward military service.

“Is Congress now starting to dial back the goodwill the country’s shown toward veterans’ employment?” asked Lauren Augustine, senior legislative associate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an advocacy group. “Are we now going to set a bad example to the private sector by limiting veterans preference in government?”

In 2009, Obama boosted the extra hiring credits given to veterans to give them a greater edge in getting federal jobs.

But the down-side to the policy has been that qualified non-veterans are getting shut out of federal jobs in deference to those who served, but may not be as qualified.

In 2014, almost half of those hired in full-time, permanent federal jobs were veterans. The figures for 2015 have not yet been released.

A spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee said the committee has not taken a position on the issue.

McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said last week that he does not think the Senate provision hurts veterans’ preference but instead “balances the goals of rewarding those who are eligible for a federal hiring advantage with the needs of the federal government and notably the Department of Defense to attract and hire the best talent for a variety of important national security jobs.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: Federal Jobs for Veterans: By Debbie Gregory

Vets to FedsA government initiative designed to promote the hiring of military Veterans in federal government careers is launching a new program to focus on jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) career fields.

The Vets to Feds (V2F) program, launching in February, 2015,  is a career development initiative for contracting specialists, sponsored by the Interagency Council on Veterans Employment. The V2F program has been designed to help recruit and support the development of our Nation’s Veterans for careers with the federal government.

V2F is just one of the federal programs prompted by President Obama’s 2009 executive order, which called for the employment of Veterans in the federal government. V2F was started in 2011, when the Office of Personnel Management teamed up with the Council on Veterans Employment. The program was designed to support the president’s Veteran hiring initiative. Participating agencies identified key occupations, targeting Veteran candidates and providing them with the necessary counseling and training to become successful employees. The initiative targets Veterans who are students, recent graduates or eligible for special hiring authorities. Since its inception, other V2F career development tracks have been implemented. Since 2011, 16 agencies have participated in one or more programs, 138 Vets have been hired through the initiative, and over 100 of those hires are still employed.

The STEM initiative is the fourth V2F program to date. It’s expected that there will be between 50 and 100 federal positions across the nation made available as part of V2F STEM.

For more information or updates on V2F STEM, be sure to visit www.fedshirevets.gov. Also, be sure to visit MilitaryConnection.com’s Job Page.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Federal Jobs for Veterans: By Debbie Gregory