OPM pushes agencies to hire long-term unemployed

Following an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in January, OPM releases a memo giving agencies a new outline on hiring in an effort to reduce the...

By Jory Heckman
Federal News Radio

The Office of Personnel Management has given federal agencies a new list of bullet points on hiring as part of the President’s push to find jobs for the long- term unemployed.

A Wednesday memorandum from the Chief Human Capital Officers Council outlined how OPM plans to keep agencies from discriminating against job candidates who have been out of a job for more than six months.

“As the Chief HR Officer for the Federal Government, I take very seriously our responsibility to be a model employer,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said in a press release. “This includes, as the President directed, to ensure that qualified and talented individuals who have a desire to work are not prevented from applying or obtaining federal employment solely due to a gap in employment or financial difficulties endured through no fault of their own. It is crucial for this administration that these Americans receive fair treatment and consideration for employment by federal agencies.”

OPM’s guidelines on hiring were set in motion by an executive order signed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 31. The executive order urged employers at federal agencies not to treat gaps in employment as a stigma on candidates’ resumes. The Department of Labor defines long-term unemployment as being out of work for at least 27 weeks.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that in September, 3 million Americans were considered long-term unemployed, 1.2 million lower than what was reported a year ago. Long-term unemployment accounts for 31.9 percent of total unemployment, according to BLS.

OPM also released a “mythbuster on federal hiring policies, making clear that candidates who have had gaps in employment and faced financial difficulties should have a fair shot at obtaining government jobs. The agency will also provide model training to agencies, as well as updated guidelines under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which comes into effect when employers view applicants’ credit reports during the hiring process.


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