Chapter 1-9, Federal Career Intern Program
(March 26, 2004)
- General Policy. This Order Chapter establishes the Departmental guidance for the use and implementation of the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) as established by Executive Order 13162.
- Coverage. The purpose of the Program is to attract exceptional men and women to the Federal workforce who have diverse professional experiences, academic training, and competencies, and to prepare them for careers in analyzing and implementing public programs.
- This authority may be used to fill entry-level positions at the GS-5 through GS-9 grade levels (and equivalent) in occupations which require training and development to equip the employee with the competencies needed to successfully perform the duties of the position. Examples of such positions include: accounting and auditing, engineering, human resources management, information technology, law enforcement, and scientific research. Positions in the Program may be filled at higher levels as appropriate with prior U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approval. All requests must be submitted through Justice Management Division (JMD), Human Resources (HR).
- Career interns are appointed for two years in the excepted service and, after successfully completing an internship, may be eligible for noncompetitive conversion to a career or career-conditional position in the competitive service.
- Definition. For purposes of this Order Chapter, the term "Component" refers to those offices, boards and divisions (OBDs) and bureaus with delegated personnel authority. OBDs without delegated personnel authority may participate in the JMD FCIP.
- Roles and Responsibilities.
- Heads of Components are delegated the responsibility for overseeing the Component FCIP, ensuring that programs are developed and implemented in accordance with the merit system principles and this Order Chapter, and designating at least one Component FCIP program coordinator.
- Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Human Resources and Administration is responsible for monitoring Component programs, and providing overall guidance for the implementation of FCIP programs throughout the Department.
- Component FCIP Program Coordinators are responsible for preparing the Component FCIP plan, ensuring completion of training assignments and quarterly evaluations; reviewing the evaluations and, if necessary, conducting a post-evaluation with the supervisor and trainee to assess the FCIP Training Plan and satisfaction with the FCIP; filing the evaluations in the trainee's FCIP training file; and ensuring that training programs and the final evaluations are completed in a timely manner.
- JMD-HR is responsible for providing guidance for the development and maintenance of the FCIP throughout the Department.
- Human Resources Specialists are responsible for adhering to the guidelines set forth in this Order Chapter for those Components for which they provide human resources services.
- Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that, consistent with the Component plan, participants are provided with formal training and developmental opportunities to acquire the appropriate identified competencies required for conversion. These activities may include, but are not limited to, formal training classes, rotational or other job assignments, attendance at conferences and seminars, interdepartmental assignments, or other activities approved by the Department.
- Interns are responsible for adhering to program requirements as documented in the FCIP Training Plan.
- Component FCIP Plans. Before initiating an FCIP, each Component shall establish (and update as necessary) a written plan, describing how it will use the FCIP, including:
- Defining the roles and responsibilities of supervisors and other key officials in FCIP administration, such as human resources staff, budget and finance staff, career counselors, or mentors;
- Identifying the positions or occupations that will be covered under the FCIP, including the geographic areas, grades, and pay bands or other pay levels;
- Developing procedures for announcing vacancies, accepting applications, and evaluating and selecting candidates according to 5 CFR Part 302 on employment in the excepted service and any other applicable requirements;
- Designing, implementing, and documenting formal program(s) for the training and development of employees selected under the provisions of this program, including the type and duration of assignments;
- Deciding how to inform the career interns of what will be expected during the internship, including developmental assignments and performance requirements; and
- Planning, coordinating, implementing, and monitoring program activities.
- Qualification Requirements.Requirements vary depending on the career field. Candidates will be evaluated using the OPM qualification standards or OPM-approved, agency specific qualification standards.
- Public Notice Requirements and Accepting Applications. There are no public notice requirements for FCIP positions. However, Components must follow Component merit promotion plans and merit system principles when announcing and filling vacancies under this Program. The following do not apply when filling FCIP positions: Reemployment Priority List, Career Transition Assistance Program, and Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan. Although public notice is not required when filling FCIP positions, Components must develop procedures for accepting applications.
- Outreach. FCIP offers broad latitude in announcing and filling intern vacancies. All plans must include an outreach plan that affords appropriate consideration to minority and veterans groups.
- Examining Applicants. Components must use the Administrative Careers with America (ACWA), which is an OPM approved testing instrument used for filling testing designated positions, unless Components have an approved alternative assessment when recruiting for testing designated positions through this Program. Information on positions that have been identified as testing designated can be found in Section V of the OPM Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions Operating Manual. All alternative assessment tools must be approved by the JMD-HR and OPM.
- Evaluating Applicants. Components must develop procedures for evaluating applications in accordance with 5 CFR Part 302, Employment in the Excepted Service as well as any other applicable requirements.
- Veterans' Preference. Veterans' preference applies to the selection of individuals for this Program. Since career interns are appointed to positions in the excepted service procedures described in 5 CFR Part 302, must be followed.
- Selection Procedures. Participants in this Program will be selected in accordance with the regulations established in 5 CFR Part 302, Employment in the Excepted Service, and appointed under Schedule B in accordance with 5 CFR Part 213. Selectees are appointed to a two-year internship, but because the appointment permits the noncompetitive conversion to a permanent job, the appointment is not treated as temporary or time-limited.
- Coding the Personnel Action. Career intern appointments are made without the not-to-exceed (NTE) dates used with other temporary or time-limited appointments.
- The type of appointment will be either "Excepted" (170) or "Conversion to Excepted Appointment" (570).
- The legal authority will be YCM - Schedule B. 213.3202(o).
- The remark codes A32 or A33 must be included in the remarks section of the personnel action. Upon conversion, the full performance level may be adjusted to reflect the full established career ladder of the appointed position.
- Career Group. Interns are appointed in excepted service with a tenure group II. Service under the FCIP counts toward career tenure in the competitive service, if the intern is converted to a career or career-conditional appointment.
- Training and Development. Supervisors must ensure that career interns are provided a formal written training and development plan when they enter on duty that is consistent with the Component plan and covers the entire two-year period. Plans may be adjusted over the initial 30-day period to meet the specific developmental needs of the intern. Each plan must outline the type and duration of the training and developmental assignments to include:
In order to be converted, the intern must successfully complete all of the requirements set forth in the formal training and development plan.
- The target position and grade;
- The purpose and objectives of training, including the knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies needed for successful performance in the target position;
- The training objectives related/linked to the knowledge, skills, and abilities;
- Specific training and development activities and tasks that will be assigned to accomplish these objectives;
- The method of evaluation used to assess employee development;
- Length of training; and
- The target dates for completion of the objectives.
- Promotions. Career interns may be promoted to the next higher level provided they meet all qualification and eligibility requirements necessary for promotion, have successfully completed applicable training requirements, and are recommended for promotion by their supervisor. Each plan must outline the process and conditions for granting promotions.
- Extensions. Components may approve requests for extending the two-year internship for up to 120-days to cover rare or unusual circumstances such as:
Components must ensure adequate documented procedures exist to justify extensions. Extensions beyond the 120-days require OPM approval and must be submitted in writing through JMD-HR.
- A permanent position is not immediately available; or
- The intern is not fully prepared for conversion to a permanent appointment and there is an expectation that these circumstances will abate within 120-days.
- Completion of the FCIP. Except as provided below, service as a career intern shall confer no rights to further Federal employment in either the competitive or excepted service upon expiration of the internship period.
- Conversion. Competitive civil service status as a career or career-conditional employee may be granted to interns who successfully complete their internship and meet all qualification, suitability, and performance requirements. These noncompetitive conversions will be effective on the date the two-year service requirement is met, or at the end of the extended period, as applicable. A decision not to convert an intern to a competitive status is not subject to appeal.
- Failure to Complete Program Requirements. Career interns selected for a FCIP position must sign a statement acknowledging they understand what will occur if they fail to successfully complete the program requirements.
- Department of Justice (DOJ) employees who transferred from a career or career-conditional appointment in the Department to enter the FCIP, and whose failure to complete the program is not the result of misconduct or suitability, are entitled to be placed in a career-conditional position, as appropriate, at no lower grade or pay than the one the employee left to accept the position in the FCIP. For placement purposes, each Component (as defined in this Order Chapter) is designated as separate and any placement right is in the Component operating the FCIP. Placement is the responsibility of the Component operating the FCIP involved.
- A career intern selected from another Federal agency will not have placement entitlement in the gaining Component.
- Except as provided above, an intern will not have placement entitlement in either the competitive or excepted service.
- Terminations. Unless converted to a competitive service appointment, an intern must be terminated from Federal service, except that an intern who entered a FCIP from a career or career conditional position in DOJ will be returned to a career or career-conditional position in the Component operating the FCIP involved at no lower grade or pay than the one the employee left to accept the position in the FCIP not later than two years from the date he/she was appointed to the intern position, or at the end of an extended period, as applicable.
Components may exercise their delegated authority and provide placement for an employee eligible for reinstatement in the competitive service, who successfully completes the program but cannot be placed for reasons unrelated to misconduct or suitability and does not have a placement entitlement under paragraph 18(b)(1).
C. Documentation for Reports and Records.
- Documentation Requirements. FCIP files must be made available for accountability purposes and must be retained for a period of two years after conversion, termination, or at the end of an extended period, as applicable. Components must maintain complete examination files to include all of the following:
- Examination or rating schedules;
- Documentation verifying the order of consideration of eligible candidates;
- Application of veterans' preference;
- Candidate applications;
- Copy of the training and development plan for the career intern appointed;
- FCIP Statement of Understanding; and
- Justification for the Components 120-day extension (if applicable) with supervisory certification verifying that the intern received adequate training/development and performed acceptably during the internship and was therefore eligible for non-competitive conversion or OPM approved extension.
- Reporting Requirements. Components FCIP program coordinators are responsible for establishing tracking systems to monitor the FCIP intern's progress to ensure program requirements are satisfied in a timely manner. Components must have biannual reports available upon request that include the following:
- The number of FCIP participants;
- The number of successful conversions; and,
- The number of failures to complete FCIP with reasons for non-completion.
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