Extending Noncompetitive Eligibility to All Former, Full-Time AmeriCorps Members

A movement to extend one benefit of AmeriCorps VISTA and Peace Corps service to other service corps alums.

When AmeriCorps VISTA members and Peace Corps Volunteers finish their service, they are eligible for a year of noncompetitive eligibility when applying for jobs in the Federal government. AmeriCorps State and National members are not eligible for this benefit, though there’s mounting support to change this discrepancy.

Having noncompetitive eligibility status means you can apply for federal jobs posted with a special status (“noncompetitive appointment eligibility”) in addition to federal jobs that are open to the public. Additionally, Federal managers are free to hire you without holding a competition, so hiring and selection processes are expedited for people who’ve already demonstrated a commitment to public service.

With noncompetitive eligibility status, you don’t gain any entitlement to Federal employment but your special status does give federal agencies the option of directly selecting you for a vacant position if you are rated as “qualified” for a particular Continue reading

Pres. Obama and Government Careers

images-4With record numbers of first-time voters and young people backing Obama’s presidency, perhaps a new generation of government workers will not be so hard to recruit after all.

With Baby Boomers retiring in droves over the next decade, fears have been widespread in public and nonprofit sectors that the United States will face a leadership shortage.

Not enough young people have shown an interest in government careers, and in-roads to government careers are not well known. Government has a reputation of being inefficient, less lucrative than business sector work, and very, very bureaucratic. People cite student loans that are just too high, and the need for better marketing of the compelling opportunities available in the government.

“This will not be a call issued in one speech or one program – this will be a central cause of my presidency. We will ask Americans to serve. We will create new opportunities for Americans to serve. And we will direct that service to our most pressing national challenges.”– U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama during a speech given at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs July 2, 2008.

John F. Kennedy inspired a generation of youth to serve through initiatives like Peace Corps. Will a new generation of people — young people and people who are recently discovering civic engagement — be inspired to join the ranks of an Obama-led federal government? What do you think?

If you are considering a career in government — whether you supported McCain or Obama during this election cycle — you should know about these resources:

President-Elect Obama has been particularly clear that his administration will count on the help of people who have supported his candidacy and on those who didn’t. Young people may accept this invitation by entering the government workforce. If they do so with the enthusiasm and turn-out they have shown in his election bid, the looming leadership crisis may fail to materialize.

A VISTA perk

Not only is VISTA service a great way to serve a year (or two or three) and get an award to help pay for school or repay student loans, it can also give alumni an advantage when applying for federal jobs.

Upon the completion of service, VISTAs receive a year of non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs. What this means is you can apply for federal jobs that are not open to the general public. (NOTE: This benefit only applies to VISTA and Peace Corps.)

This benefit doesn’t guarantee you a federal job, but as long as your qualified and there is an opening, you have a better shot at getting hired than someone who never served.

Here’s some additional info from cns.gov:

To establish your non-competitive status, you will need proof of eligibility. Once you have completed service, log onto the My AmeriCorps portal to print an AmeriCorps*VISTA certification letter. Visit http://my.americorps.gov to register at the My AmeriCorps portal. Click the “My Service Letter” link to create and print your letter. If your letter is incorrect or the portal cannot locate your record, please contact the VISTA Member Support Unit at VISTAMemberSupportUnit@cns.gov.

Submit copies of this statement with your federal job applications. Information on federal positions can be obtained from USAJOBS, the federal government’s one-stop source for federal jobs and employment information. USAJOBS is accessible at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/.