Thinking of joining the fight? Here are 5 interesting coronavirus response jobs

Agencies are offering short-term details and temporary assignments to current federal employees who are interesting in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Teleworkers, is the monotony getting to you yet?

In normal times, temporary details are often a professional development tool, a way to mix it up at your current position, learn something new and make a few more contacts. For members of the Senior Executive Service, rotational assignments are part of the job.

But today, several agencies are looking for current federal employees to temporarily leave their day jobs and take on a short-term detail or assignment to help with their coronavirus response efforts.

Many of them are jobs you could probably do from your couch at home — or whatever chair you’ve been occupying to telework — and you don’t have to be medical professional to help out.

The jobs are listed on Open Opportunities, a subset of reserved for temporary details and assignments aimed at current federal employees.

As of Friday, agencies had posted 27 different positions to what the Office of Personnel Management has called the “COVID-19 response program.”

Many of the jobs are predictable. No surprise, the Department of Veterans Affairs needs nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and health technicians. VA is also looking for housekeeping aides and cafeteria workers, which could be a hard sell to current feds.

VA has two missions during the pandemic. Yes, it’s treating an increasingly growing population of veterans who have coronavirus, but the VA also serves as the nation’s backup health system during a pandemic.

But a few agencies have some particularly interesting opportunities open to current feds. The jobs tell us more about how these agencies are responding to the coronavirus and the capability gaps they’re dealing with — even before the pandemic began.

Here are few notable short-term positions.

The Treasury Department is looking for a handful of experienced feds to help stand up a dedicated team to implement the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The position description calls for applicants from a variety of backgrounds, including those with expertise in domestic finance, economic and tax policy and management.

Detailees will help staff the CARES implementation team by writing job descriptions, preparing analysis, hiring staff and developing detail agreements, according to the Treasury job description.

Length: 30-80 days

Location: Washington, D.C., but telework “likely close to 100% in near-term”

Grade: GS-12 through 15

The Small Business administration was the first agency to post a job to the COVID-19 response program.

SBA is looking for at least five contracting officers to develop and make contract awards to support the agency’s coronavirus response efforts.

The job announcement is fairly detailed and describes how contracting detailees will be asked to handle everything from the initiation and recommendation of an award to close-out.

Length:  doesn’t say

Location: anywhere

Grade: GS-9 and above, with certain minimum acquisition certification requirements

Besides contracting officers, SBA is also looking for several cloud, oracle and network engineers, plus others with virtual private network (VPN) authentication experience.

“We are seeking individuals with strong expertise in data visualization and telecommunications to help ensure SBA has the infrastructure it needs to successfully deliver critical assistance to our nation’s small businesses,” the description reads.

SBA detailees will manage and create new and existing cloud environments and networks.

Length: more than 90 days

Location: anywhere

Grade: GS-9 and above

FEMA needs data analysts to build dashboards and analyze information related to the coronavirus.

“With the current operational environment of FEMA, data is driving many operations across the country in an effort to protect and support federal response efforts,” the description reads. “Having the ability to manage large sets of data while establishing dashboards, course of actions, trending, and graphical representation is paramount in this environment.”

Length: more than 90 days

Location: anywhere

Grade: GS-11 through 13

Finally, FEMA is looking for a handful of epidemiologists from Department of Homeland Security components to conduct contact tracing within the workforce and coordinate inter-agency responses.

“This work is necessary to minimize exposure and protect the workforce to the greatest extent possible,” the position description reads.

Length: more than 90 days

Location: FEMA said it can provide “social distanced  workspace” at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, but there are telework opportunities

Grade: GS-13 through 15

Specifically, FEMA is looking for trained public health professionals to lead the investigation of patterns and the causes of disease to employees. A lead epidemiologist will direct research, contact tracing and data analysis and will make policy recommendations.

Data managers are responsible for collecting and interpreting health data and trends, while investigators will trace contacts who may have encountered sick employees.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By David Thornton

In mammals, the growth rate of nails is related to the length of the terminal phalanges (outermost finger bones). Thus, in humans, the nail of the index finger grows faster than that of the little finger; and fingernails grow up to four times faster than toenails.

Source: Wikipedia

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