DOD adjusting US job placement program for returning overseas workers

By MICHAEL S. DARNELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 20, 2015

The Defense Department is adjusting its priority placement policy in hopes of eliminating a backlog of overseas civilian employees entitled to jobs on returning to the U.S.

The DOD uses the program to find suitable openings in the States for employees who are required by regulation to return stateside after a set period, usually five years.

Related: DOD explores changes to 5-year rule, LQA

The planned changes — tentatively scheduled to come into force next week — will change the priority levels of the about 1,700 employees registered in the program, according to a Defense Department memorandum.

In 2010, most nondisplaced overseas employees — nondisplaced means not subject to involuntary separation — had their designations downgraded from priority 2 to priority 3, the same pool that includes military and DOD civilian spouses.

Priority 3 employees generally can’t be hired for a job if there are priority 1 or 2 workers with the same skill set available. The Priority 1 pool includes those who face unemployment due to a reduction in force measure.

Downgrading the returning overseas employees’ priority created a backlog that kept some workers overseas past their rotation date, said Matthew Allen, a DOD spokesman. Registration in the placement program rose by 68 percent, while job placements stayed at the same level.

“The placement rate … has not kept pace with registrations,” Allen said in a statement to Stars and Stripes.

The result is a growing backlog of registrants that is impeding timely rotation and complicating succession planning for overseas commands, he said.

To address those issues, the DOD is rolling back the 2010 changes and implementing some temporary measures.

With the publication of the newest priority placement program handbook on or about Aug. 24, the priority of most nondisplaced overseas workers will change from priority 3 to priority 2. Current employees who were designated priority 3 under the 2010 measures will also be reclassified as priority 2.

Temporary measures include a provision that will force employees to register for potential work anywhere in the U.S. for any component of the DOD if they have not received a job offer after 120 days in the priority placement program.

Employees with a broad skill set will also have to register for placement in any position the program managers believe they are qualified for based on their education, experience and training.

Allen said the net result of these combined changes should be a higher placement rate for the registrants and a decrease in the time between registration in the program and job placement.


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