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Recruiter Explains DoD Options to Job-Seeking College Students

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 11, 2005 – A Defense Department civilian personnel recruiter explained DoD employment options to college students and recent graduates during the 17th annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation conference, which ended here Oct. 8.

"I told them that the Defense Department has about 750,000 employees and it's the largest and oldest organization in the world," said Karen S. Hannah, a supervisor in the recruitment assistance division of the Defense Applicant Assistance Office, Civilian Personnel Management Service, in Arlington, Va.

"We have about 750 different job titles, so there are jobs out there for everybody," she told the job-seeking young people -- mostly math, science and engineering majors. "We have about 59,000 engineers working in locations throughout the U.S. and in 6,000 locations 146 different countries."

Hannah also pointed out that DoD, which consists of 18 agencies, provides support to the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of the nation.

She discussed the many career opportunities for students during summer breaks and after graduation. "I explained how the intern program works," Hannah said. DoD's intern program differs from those with private industry, which are co-operative programs or summertime employment and usually are temporary, she noted.

DoD's summer-hire program offers full-time jobs for students from May through September. Applications are accepted from January through May, she said.

"(Defense Department) intern programs are permanent full-time after they graduate," Hannah said. "They usually start at the GS-5 or GS-7 level, and they have target grades up to GS-11, 12 and 13, depending on the agency and how they're hiring for the vacant position. They receive on-the-job and classroom training to help get them trained in the duties of the position they're in."

She pointed out that some positions require the new employee to sign a mobility agreement. "That means they may get trained and work at the Pentagon, but once they're done with their training, they can be placed anywhere in the world where there's a need," Hannah said. "If the agency doesn't ask for a mobility agreement, they could be placed as an intern at, say, Fort Lee, Va., (or) Fort Belvoir, Va. When they're done with their on-the-job and professional classroom training, they stay right there."

Some students asked Hannah if they could work in foreign countries and be deployed along with the military. "I explained that it depends on the position," she said. "If their position required that, they would be told when they're applying for the job or when they're interviewing."

She said she was very impressed with the students she met during the conference. "I was very impressed with the good questions the young people asked," Hannah said. "They were all very enthusiastic like they were very interested in coming to work for the Defense Department. They were very impressive students."

Many students expressed interest in postgraduate education. "So I explained the different programs they can go into, like the Presidential Management Fellows Program, if they're getting a master's degree," Hannah said.

The presidential program provides employment opportunities to master's, law and doctoral-level students in graduate fields such as domestic or international policy, technology, science, criminal justice, health and finance. Applications must be filed by October of each year, Hannah explained.

She also told the students and recent graduates about the Workforce Recruitment Program for students with disabilities. The program provides summer jobs from May through September. Hannah said applications are accepted from January and February each year. Interested students must work with their colleges to get into the program.

College students can also take advantage of the Student Career Experience Program, where they have with a part-time job while in school and full-time during semester and summer breaks. Students are hired throughout the year in grades GS-3 to GS-5. They are eligible for benefits and promotions. They may be converted to a permanent intern program after graduation, Hannah said.

Students needing help with their job search should contact the Defense Applicant Assistance Office, where personnel will discuss job search processes with them and provide information about DoD vacancies, occupations and missions. They will also assist with questions, applications and forms, and will explain DoD job terminology and provide a connection between the job seekers and recruiters, Hannah said.

She pointed out that the office offers personal assistance at (800) DOD-4USA and at daao@cpms.osd.mil. Hearing-impaired callers can call TTY (703) 696-5946.

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