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Government Executive - Peace Corps points alumni toward federal jobs

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    Peace Corps points alumni toward federal jobs By Karen Rutzick 11/28/06 http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=35566&dcn=todaysnews Peace Corps
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2006
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      Peace Corps points alumni toward federal jobs

      By Karen Rutzick 11/28/06


      Peace Corps officials are promoting their former volunteers as ready-
      made civil servants.

      Volunteers return to the United States from two-year stints as
      teachers, technology workers, foresters and more, from locations as
      far as Malawi, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia, looking for work.
      They have a passion for public service and -- perhaps most
      importantly -- a handy special status that allows agencies to quickly
      hire them without the rigmarole required for filling most government

      The Peace Corps is advancing this message this week during its first
      career fair. About 50 alumni are at the fair, which is running until
      Thursday at Peace Corps headquarters in Washington. Some traveled
      from as far away as California, Michigan and Canada to fill the
      Shriver conference rooms.

      As the government kvetches over how to hire enough new workers to
      replace the retiring baby boomers who likely will vacate more than
      half of federal jobs over the next decade or so, returning Peace
      Corps volunteers may be a place to start. Right now, only 40 out of
      about 3,000 recent alumni of the volunteer program are in federal
      service, according to Max Stier, president of the nonprofit
      Partnership for Public Service. Stier spoke at the fair Tuesday.

      "There are equally challenging but very different kinds of work where
      you can make a difference," Stier said. "The opportunities are in the
      federal government."

      The schedule is packed. The Peace Corps alumni will learn about
      federal internships, graduate programs in public administration,
      networking skills for federal jobs, using the USAJOBS.gov Web site
      and the special language of federal job applications.

      Also on the agenda are the details of Peace Corps alums' special
      hiring status, which allows agencies to appoint them to federal jobs
      within one year of their return to the United States without making
      them compete with the general public.

      The Transportation Security Administration and the Centers for
      Disease Control and Prevention are holding their own sessions, and
      participants will have a chance to go to Government Accountability
      Office headquarters.

      In addition to TSA and CDC, the 16 agencies participating in the fair
      include: the Securities and Exchange Commission, the International
      Trade Administration, the U.S Agency for International Development,
      the Homeland Security Department's Inspector General office and the
      State Department.

      Still, even as the Peace Corps promoted public service to the alums,
      they were warned that the complexity of the government could make
      finding the right job difficult.

      "It ain't gonna be easy," Stier said. "You might think 'I had my
      Peace Corps experience, and I don't need [a challenge] again.' Sorry,
      but that's life."

      Stier pointed the attendees toward his organization's Web site,
      www.makingthedifference.org, to begin the challenge.
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