WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2012 - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley today signed an agreement to increase employment opportunities for reserve members and to facilitate connecting military families with America's outdoors, history and culture.
Under the agreement, the Army Reserve and the Interior Department will:
-- Seek joint programming opportunities to include employment opportunities;
-- Collaborate to provide developmental opportunities to both workforces;
-- Engage military families in local conservation projects; and
-- Expand recreational opportunities for community-based wounded warriors.
"America's veterans and reservists have the skills and the know-how that not only build the strength of the United States Army, but can also build the capabilities of the Department of the Interior to manage the natural and cultural resources of America," Salazar said. "This agreement answers President [Barack] Obama's call to increase employment opportunities for veterans, while helping Interior build a 21st century, highly skilled workforce that reflects the diversity of the United States, engages youth, and provides sustainable ways to conserve America's great outdoors."
The Army Reserve Employer Partnership Office will collaborate with the Interior Department to provide targeted recruitment opportunities in the communities where reserve soldiers live, and assist reserve soldiers to understand and compete in the federal hiring process, Talley said. "Our goal is to assist civilian employers to recognize and maximize the highly skilled and capable members of their community who also serve in the Army Reserve," he added.
The agreement encourages use of available options, such as noncompetitive hiring authorities, to fairly recruit, select and hire eligible Army Reserve soldiers, mindful of merit system principles, prohibited personnel practices and labor relations obligations.
All federal agencies and departments are establishing plans and goals to enhance recruitment of and promote employment opportunities for veterans. The Interior Department's strategy identifies a goal to establish programs and partnerships that foster an increased veteran understanding of the federal hiring process as well as opportunities at the department, officials said. The strategy also calls upon the department's human resource professionals and hiring managers to use local resources to develop an understanding of the capabilities veterans bring to the workforce and to find qualified veteran candidates.
Interior Department officials said implementing today's agreement will include:
-- Exploring ways to improve recruitment into mission-critical occupations by leveraging military experience and training in occupations such as those for engineers, technicians, law enforcement officers and administrators, and others;
-- Reaching Native American Army Reserve soldiers with opportunities that exist in their communities;
-- Engaging local land managers, such as those from the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, with local reserve unit commanders to share information about the department and to learn more about military leadership and technical training, heightening the awareness of both organizations; and
-- Providing volunteer opportunities to families of deployed military reservists and participating in Yellow Ribbon reintegration events in nearby communities