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Opening a Pipeline from National Service to Federal Service

by CNCS Staff

When President Obama announced the Task Force on Expanding National Service in July, he asked federal agencies to work together to create a pipeline for national service participants to apply the skills they learned in the federal sector. Last week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced new guidance from that will affect past, current, and future AmeriCorps members and other national service participants.

The Government Accountability Office reports that more than a third of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire by 2016. The potential loss of so many experienced workers is a challenge for the government, so efforts like this one are critical to addressing this issue.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta has issued a memo to federal agencies urging them to work with Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and OPM to devise strategies to recruit new hires with experience in national service programs.

Some of the strategies suggested include:

  • Establishing and developing a relationship with CNCS to better understand the value of national service experience to the federal workforce.
  • Analyzing the future demands of the federal workforce to identify appropriate occupations, competency requirements, and hiring strategies that align with national service experiences.
  • Partnering with CNCS and OPM to educate agency hiring managers, human resources professionals, and other key stakeholders on the mission of CNCS to help raise awareness of the source of talent developed by CNCS.
  • Educating national service participants on how to find and apply for federal jobs, and how to locate information on the federal hiring process, the resume writing process, and career opportunities in the federal government.

Director Archuleta summed up the value of individuals who have served in the programs such as AmeriCorps, writing:

"As we face challenges ahead, the need to bring exceptional talent into public service has never been greater. Participants in our national service programs have transferable skills, work experience in areas aligned with agency missions (e.g. emergency and disaster services, education, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, healthy futures), and a commitment to continue serving the public through the career civilian service. They are a source of talent that can enhance an agency's workforce capacity to achieve its mission and should be included as part of your overall recruitment strategy."

OPM will host a symposium next month to increase awareness of national service programs and the types of experience the participants can bring to federal agencies.

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