USPS and GSA recently began a 90-day transition period to make the sites permanents additions to the USAccess footprint of locations where federal employees can obtain their credentials. During this transition period, the seven post office sites will remain open for credentialing appointments.
The seven post office sites completed more than 11,000 appointments during the pilot phase, which ran from November 2020 to May 2021. Customers who participated in the pilot gave the service a 91% favorability rating.
In the first 90 days of the pilot, which started late last year, USPS and GSA processed about 4,500 credentials from employees from 120 agencies.
USPS and GSA, in a recent blog post, said they are looking at possibly expanding the number of post offices that offer these services across the country.
Darlene Gore, GSA’s Identity Credential and Access Management Division director, said the pilot “exceeded our expectations,” adding these services to more post office locations across the country would make the agency’s credentialing services more convenient to the federal community.
“We learned that the Postal Service option enhanced efficiency and overall customer experience. Looking ahead, USAccess is exploring standalone enrollment services that will standardize enrollment processes across the federal government,” Gore said.
The pilot marked the Postal Service’s first step in implementing a “government storefront” concept to more rural and remote parts of the country, as outlined in its 10-year agency reform plan.
For GSA, the pilot marked the first initiative from USAccess to rethink the way it provides PIV credentialing. Other innovation programs in the works include transforming USAccess’s digital delivery of credentials and expanding shared services.
USPS Director of Digital Business Services Jeff Tackes said the pilot created a “win-win for accessible government services.”
“This pilot is an excellent example of the Postal Service’s reach and trusted brand combined with USAccess’ established credentialing expertise and shared services experience,” Tackes said.
The pilot began as a way to fill gaps in service after agencies shut down nearly 500 credentialing offices during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it harder for federal employees and contractors to update their credentials.
Tackes said in an interview last March that 17,000 post offices have the kind of retail terminals that could eventually provide identity-proofing services.
Post offices selected for the pilot not only provided easier access for feds during the workweek, but some even offer these services over the weekend.
USPS is also expanding its biometric capabilities to 4,000 post offices and is working with the FBI to provide “rap sheets” to customers applying for visas, adopting a child or applying for jobs working with children. USPS also uses its biometrics capabilities to vet the 120,000 employees it hires annually.
Tackes said the concept for the pilot took hold soon after USPS gave a presentation at a GSA identity summit last November, giving an overview of the agency’s growing biometrics program. Gore said the Office of Management and Budget brought GSA and USPS together soon after the pandemic started.