Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Army Reserve Chief Lieutenant General Jeffrey Talley today signed an agreement to increase employment opportunities for reserve members and to facilitate connecting military families with America's great outdoors, history and culture.
"America's veterans and reservists have the skills and the know-how that not only build the strength of the United States Army, but can also build the capabilities of the Department of the Interior to manage the natural and cultural resources of America," said Salazar. "This agreement answers President Obama's call to increase employment opportunities for veterans, while helping Interior build a 21st century, highly skilled workforce that reflects the diversity of the United States, engages youth, and provides sustainable ways to conserve America's Great Outdoors."
"The Army Reserve Employer Partnership Office will collaborate with the Department of the Interior to provide targeted recruitment opportunities in the communities in which reserve Soldiers live, and assist reserve Soldiers to understand and compete in the federal hiring process," said Talley. He added, "Our goal is to assist civilian employers to recognize and maximize the highly skilled and capable members of their community who also serve in the Army Reserve."
Under the Memorandum of Agreement, the U.S. Army Reserve and the Department of the Interior will seek joint programming opportunities to include U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers, especially employment opportunities, collaborate to provide developmental opportunities to both workforces, engage military families in local conservation projects, and expand recreational opportunities for community-based wounded warriors.
Both parties to the memorandum recognize that merit system principles are the underpinning to the entire Federal Human Resources Management system, including hiring. "This MOA encourages the use of available options, such as non-competitive hiring authorities, to fairly recruit, select and hire eligible USAR Soldiers, as appropriate, mindful of these merit system principles, prohibited personnel practices and any applicable labor relations obligations," the agreement states.
President Obama's Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, directed all federal agencies and departments to establish plans/goals to enhance recruitment of and promote employment opportunities for veterans.
Interior's Strategy for Recruitment, Hiring and Employment of Veterans identifies a goal to establish programs and partnerships that foster an increased veteran understanding of the Federal hiring process and as well as opportunities at Interior. The strategy also calls upon Interior human resource professionals and hiring managers to leverage local resources in developing an understanding of the capabilities that veterans bring to the workforce and finding qualified veteran candidates.
Some of the ways in which Interior will implement the agreement include:
Exploring ways to improve recruitment into mission-critical occupations by leveraging military experience and training in occupations such as those for engineers, technicians, law enforcement officers and administrators, and others;
Reaching Native American Army Reserve Soldiers with opportunities that exist in their communities;
Engaging local land managers, such as those from the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service, with local reserve unit commanders to share information about Interior and to learn more about military leadership and technical training -- heightening the awareness of both organizations; and
Providing volunteer opportunities to families of deployed military reservists and participating in Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Events in nearby communities.