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Employment Programs, Initiatives and Incentives

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Why Choose VA


Hiring Programs and Incentives
We’re proud to offer a number of professional, internship and leadership opportunities for Veterans, students, new-minted medical personnel, and experienced professionals. Our extensive offerings include, but are not limited to:

Veterans

We work in conjunction with a number of government initiatives that give employment preference to Veterans. For additional information on these initiatives, read more about them below or please visit the Office of Personnel Management's website at http://www.fedshirevets.gov.
  • The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) ensures that Veterans are able to compete for government positions that previously may have only been available to existing civil service employees

  • The Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) and 30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans programs allow eligible Veterans to fill certain positions without competition

  • The Disabled Veterans Enrolled in VA Training Program allows eligible disabled Veterans to receive training or work experience at VA

  • The Veterans Preference gives special consideration to eligible Veterans looking for Federal employment. Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the United States Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans both in hiring and in retention during reductions in force

  • The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) is an employment-oriented program that assists Veterans with service-connected disabilities by offering services and assistance to help them prepare for, find, and keep suitable employment. Suitable employment is work that is within the Veterans' physical, mental, and emotional capabilities and matches their patterns of skills, abilities, and interests.

    For more information on the VR&E program, visit the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Veterans Employment

Veterans Employment Service Office (VESO) mission is to attract, recruit, and hire Veterans into VA, particularly severely injured Veterans returning from the Global War on Terror. Nine (9) Regional Veterans Employment Coordinators (VEC) are positioned throughout the United States, and stand ready to support efforts that assist Veterans interested in employment at VA. For more information, please visit Veterans Employment Service Office.

College Graduates

VA recruits from a variety of disciplines, with a special interest in college graduates who seek a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. We have a number of special opportunities available:

The Outstanding Scholar Program offers high-achievers appointments in covered occupations.

The Federal Career Intern Program is designed to attract exceptional individuals to the VA workforce who have diverse professional experiences, academic credentials, training, and competencies and to prepare them for a variety of occupations. Individuals are appointed to entry-level positions for a two-year internship. Upon successful completion of the internships, the interns may be eligible for permanent placement within VA.

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF) is a two-year program, which enables students who complete a master's or doctoral-level degree to be appointed to Federal positions. PMFs are appointed at the GS-9 level and after successful completion of the first year they are eligible for promotion to GS-11. Upon completion of the two-year fellowship, PMFs are eligible for conversion to career or career-conditional appointment and are eligible for promotion to GS-12.

Federal Employees

Federal status is typically granted to an employee who has held a permanent Federal position for more than three years. VA offers some opportunities that are open only to Federal employees and/or former Federal employees.

Individuals eligible to be reinstated must have held a career or career-conditional appointment at some time in the past. If so, there is no time limit on reinstatement eligibility for those who have Veterans' preference, or have acquired career tenure by completing three years of substantially continuous creditable service.

If you do not have Veterans' preference or did not acquire career tenure, you may be reinstated within three years after the date of your separation. Transfer eligibility allows current career and career-conditional employees to be appointed to VA jobs. Those eligible for transfer may be required to compete under the merit promotion program.

Health Care Professionals

VA is a leader in U.S. health care. Many physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals began their careers in VA's more than 160 hospitals. In addition, VA conducts more than 10,000 research projects at 115 VA medical centers. VA hires physicians, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, and 28 other health care professionals. There are several incentive programs aimed at attracting health care professionals:

  • The Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP) authorizes VA to provide education debt reduction reimbursements to employees with qualifying loans who are in health care professional positions providing direct-patient care services or services incident to direct patient care. The health professional education covered by such a loan must be for the specific education that is required to qualify the applicant for the specific position.

    Each individual VHA facility determines which positions are hard to recruit and retain and when EDRP is offered. EDRP is a hiring incentive and is only offered or approved for certain positions. Additional details may be obtained through the Human Resources Department at each VHA facility and by reviewing incentives offered in each job posting.

  • The Employee Incentive Scholarship Program (EISP) enables health care staff to continue their professional education in order to qualify for jobs that are in great demand within VA. Administrative/wage employees can also seek a degree as a licensed health care professional in hard-to-recruit occupations. Requires at least 1 year of continuous service in a permanent position.

  • The National Nursing Education Initiative (NNEI) is a scholarship that encourages nurses with Associate degrees and diplomas to earn Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. VA nurses who want to advance beyond Nurse Level 1 must earn a BSN degree. Requires at least 1 year of continuous service in a permanent position.

  • The VA Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) is a program open to outstanding college nursing students who have completed their junior year. Through VALOR, they develop competency in clinical nursing by working at a VA health care facility.

For more information about any of these programs, please call the VHA Healthcare Retention & Recruitment Office (HRRO) at 1-800-949-0002.

Please contact your local VA medical center for the following locally administered programs:

  • The Tuition Reimbursement Program is available to full-time VA employees who are enrolled in any accredited nursing degree program. This program also funds prerequisite courses required for acceptance into a degree program.

  • The Tuition Support Program provides tuition for job-related courses for health care professionals in disciplines identified as VA shortage categories.

People with Disabilities

VA is committed to enhancing the employment and advancement of persons with disabilities. Individuals with a certification letter from VA or a state vocational rehabilitation office are encouraged to apply for noncompetitive appointment.

The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides accommodation solutions to eliminate barriers to employment for people with visual, hearing, cognitive, communication, and dexterity disabilities.

In addition to CAP, VA supports the following Executive Orders (EOs) designed to benefit those with disabilities:

  • EO 13078, Increasing Employment of Adults with Disabilities
  • EO 13145, To Prohibit Discrimination in Federal Employment Based on Genetic Information
  • EO 13163, Increasing the Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities to be Employed in the Federal Government
  • EO 13164, Requiring Federal Agencies to Establish Procedures to Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation
  • EO 13217, Community-Based Alternatives for Individuals with Disabilities

Students

The Pathways Internship Program provides students with opportunities to explore careers in Federal government. This program is for current students, and replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). The new Internship Program provides students in high schools, colleges, trade schools and other qualifying educational institutions with paid opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while completing their education. Through the Internship Program, students are able to gain valuable work experience for pay while enrolled at least half-time in school. Student Pathways internship opportunities are advertised and managed locally by each of the VA Medical Centers.

For more information on this program, please contact the Pathways coordinator at the local VA Medical Center. The coordinator may be located in either the Human Resources or the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office. Students can access http://www.opm.gov/hiringreform/pathways/ to obtain information about these programs, and may access https://www.usajobs.gov/StudentsAndGrads to view current vacancy announcements.

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