The federal government offers great job opportunities for military spouses. Most installations have federal civilian job openings, and your benefits, which can include paid leave, medical and life insurance, and retirement, often go with you when you move to a new federal job at a new duty station. But landing a competitive civil service job with the federal government may seem like a daunting task. The civil service hiring system is huge, and it often looks complicated and confusing. It can be tough to break into the system, but new rules make it a little easier for military spouses. The following information will help you understand the benefits of federal civil service employment and navigate the complex hiring system.
Priority Placement Program (Program “S”): One of the benefits afforded to Military Spouses looking for Federal jobs is the Department of Defense (DoD) Military Spouse Preference Program, also called Program “S,” which is part of the DoD Priority Placement Program (PPP). The purpose of the program is to provide a Federal employment advantage to spouses who have had their employment prospects negatively impacted due to a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) relocation. This is not the same as E.O. 12721 or E.O. 13473, which are different types of spousal preferences used when applying for federal employment. The PPP is an automated placement program for DoD job vacancies, and considered a significant quality of life benefit for military families. President Ronald Reagan signed a law giving this preference to spouses in 1986, and as of 2008 more than 52,000 spouses found jobs through the PPP.
Who is eligible for PPP?
In order to be eligible for registration in this program your sponsor must:
- be assigned by a PCS move from overseas to the U.S., or to a different commuting area within the U.S., including the U.S. territories or possessions;
- be relocating to a new and permanent duty station after completing basic and advanced individual training;
- be permanently assigned to the same duty station where initial entry training was received;
- be assigned by PCS to a service school regardless of the duration of training;
- be a former military member who re-enlists and is placed in a permanent assignment; or
- be reassigned on an unaccompanied tour by PCS with orders specifying the sequential assignment. The spouse may register at activities in the commuting are of the sequential assignment at any time during the sponsor’s unaccompanied tour.
Military spouses relocating with their sponsors who are separating or retiring from service are not eligible for Program S.
How do I register?
You can register at your local Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) up to 30 days before your sponsor’s reporting date to his or her new duty station or you can wait and register at the CPAC at the new duty station when you arrive. Please contact the Desert Mountain CPAC to obtain additional information or to schedule a PPP counseling session at 915-568-2508.
Are there other Spouse Preference Eligibilities?
Executive Order 13473: The Executive Order (EO) 13473 is in place to help certain Military Spouses enter into Federal employment by authorizing certain non-competitive appointments. A “non-competitive” appointment allows you to apply for positions that non-federal applicants with no military or spouse preference are not eligible to apply for. To apply to these vacancy announcements visit the USAJOBS.gov website and select the “Federal Employees” radio button. Once in the vacancy announcement ensure the Who May Apply section includes the following eligibility which will allow you to apply – “Eligible for military spouse preference under Executive Order 13473″. For most military spouses that relocate with their military sponsor this eligibility expires 2 years after date of the sponsors PCS orders.
Who is eligible?
EO 13473, implemented in September of 2009, applies to three categories of Military Spouses:
- Those who are relocating with their Service Member spouse as a result of permanent change of station (PCS) orders (must be used within 2 years),
- Spouses of service members who incurred a 100% disability because of the service member’s active duty service, and
- Spouses of service members killed while on active duty.
Executive Order 12721: The EO 12721 gives spouses the same benefit as EO 13473, which allows them to apply for competitive positions in the federal government that are usually only open to current federal employees or veterans. Like EO 13473, this is not hiring preference, but gives you the opportunity to compete with other qualified candidates for the position. This is especially beneficial for spouses of military members who separate or retire from military service upon completion of their overseas assignment. The spouse has three years from date of return to US to use this benefit.
Who is eligible?
- · You have worked for the Federal government overseas and are returning to the US.
- · You have worked for at least 52 weeks in the past 3 years.
- · You have a fully successful or better performance rating.
How do EO 13473 and EO 12721 work? EO 13473 and EO 12721 are NOT hiring preferences, in that it does not give you any special ranking order above anyone else. This entitlement simply gives you the benefit of competing for Federal positions that are normally only open to existing Federal employees (status candidates) and veterans. If you are among the best-qualified candidates for a position, then your name and resume will be forwarded to the hiring manager along with other qualified candidates. The hiring manager can select anyone from this pool of candidates without worrying about a preference order, assuming PPP (see above) has been cleared and there are no matches.
For additional information contact Desert Mountain CPAC, White Sands Missile Range Branch at 575-678-1130.