OPM authorizes streamlined hiring in support of infrastructure law

Agencies need to increase hiring to fill roles that will support the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, often referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In order to help with those efforts, the Office of Personnel Management authorized the use of excepted service Schedule A appointments for these roles.

“Agencies need to hire now to fill a variety of essential positions including mission-driven roles: scientists to combat climate change, engineers to repair and rebuild our roads and bridges, and workers to help ensure that every community in America has clean water, just to name a few,” the Feb. 1 memorandum said. “Agencies may use this authority to fill positions on a temporary basis for up to one year as needed to carry out provisions of the IIJA. These appointments may be extended in increments of up to one additional year.”

Agencies cannot use this authority for any appointment that already has direct hire authorities, and they cannot use it after Sept. 30, 2027.

This additional hiring authority can be used in a similar manner to another Schedule A hiring authority that exists specifically to streamline the hiring of persons with disabilities who may otherwise face barriers to employment in federal agencies.

Mia Ives-Rublee, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, specifically called out the Schedule A hiring authority for people with disabilities as needing more visibility to be effective during last week’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility roundtable hosted by OPM and the Commerce Department.

“Schedule A is one of the biggest programs out there to try to streamline disabled people into positions that are open; it helps individuals who often have other barriers to entry,” Ives-Rublee said. “The problem with that program is that we have things like selective placement program coordinators, and we have all of these mechanisms, but it’s not very well known. You have to dig within the website to try and find out this information. It’s sort of like a treasure hunt for individuals.”

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