From volunteer to fed: OPM offers tips for recruiting national-service participants

The Office of Personnel Management is helping agencies come up with ways to recruit new federal hires from the pipeline of national-service programs, such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

In July, President Barack Obama called for expanding national volunteer opportunities by finding ways to connect the broad network of national and community-service organizations with federal agencies and their missions. As part of that effort, OPM was tasked with coming up with recruiting strategies agencies can use to recruit new hires with past experience in national-service programs.

“As we face challenges ahead, the need to bring exceptional talent into public service has never been greater,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta wrote in a Nov. 15 memo to the heads of agencies and departments. “Participants in our national service programs have transferable skills, work experience in areas aligned with agency missions … 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.”

Among the strategies listed:

  • Agencies should identify positions, jobs skills and future hiring demands in their workplaces “that align with national service experiences.”
  • Agencies should also develop relationships with the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS), which runs the AmeriCorps program, as well as the Peace Corps “to better understand the value of national service experience to the federal workforce,” the memo stated.
  • Agencies should work with CNCS to conduct outreach on open positions and publicize job postings in the national-service field.

OPM said it would develop standardized language agencies could include in job announcements emphasizing “the value of national service experience to your agency.” Archuleta also said OPM will host a symposium next month to help agencies get acquainted with the various national-service organizations.


New taskforce to help agencies use volunteers to meet goals