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DHS Starts Honors Program for Community College Students, Veterans

Written by GEICO on . Posted in GEICO's Good Stuff

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

The Department of Homeland Security has crafted a new honors program to entice community college students into its cybersecurity programs.

The Cyber Student Initiative, part of the Secretary Honors Program, will start at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement labs in several dozen cities, including Tampa, Fla.; Washington, D.C.; Boston, Mass.; and Atlanta, Ga.; across the country. The labs will give the students hands-on cybersecurity experience. 

“DHS is committed to providing opportunities for the next generation of cyber professionals,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement. “The Secretary’s Honors Program CyberStudent Initiative will offer current students the opportunity to learn more about the critical skills and experience needed to succeed and protect our nation from evolving cyber threats.”

DHS has said that it will partner with community colleges to encourage students to apply for the program and work with the Veterans Administration as well as the American Association of Community Colleges.

DHS will accept applications for the honors program until May 3.

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YGL Profiles

An Interview with Melanie Keller, Assoc. Director for Management, Center for Drug Evaluation & Research (CDER)

Melanie Keller is the Associate Director for Management at the Center for Drug Evaluation & Research (CDER), the largest Center at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She serves as the Center’s Executive Officer and oversees all administrative operations. Ms. Keller is responsible for budget formulation, user fee collection, and execution of a $1 billion annual budget. She also leads and directs the Center’s human capital management of more than 4,500 employees, and is currently leading recruitment strategies for 795 vacancies within the Center. 

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From the Hill

Senators Explore Oversight of Small Agencies, Drafting New IG Bill

Senators last week discussed oversight of small agencies, commissions, and boards with a hearing before the Senate’s Financial and Contracting Oversight subcommittee.

Challenges of small agency oversight was discussed at the hearing, as were potential legislative actions to improve the oversight of such organizations.  

Chairwoman of the subcommittee, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said at the hearing that there are at least 40 small agencies with over $1 billion in budgetary authority with “virtually no oversight.”

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Case Law Update

MSPB Grants Veteran’s Request for Corrective Action after DoD Rejected Job Application

A GS-12 Defense Contract Management Agency (“DCMA”) employee applied for a GS-13 position. The vacancy announcement, issued by DCMA, listed the DCMA and Department of Defense (“DoD”) employees that could apply for the position, and specified that applicants “MUST submit documents verifying your eligibility with your application package. These documents may include, but are not limited to: for current employment verification, a non-award [Standard Form (SF)]-50 or DD3434…” The DCMA employee’s application contained a resume, an SF-52, education transcripts, and a Form DD 214, but was rejected due to the employee’s failure to include an SF-50. An MSPB administrative judge found that the agency improperly rejected the employee’s application, because the SF-52 he included contained the same employment verification documentation. However, the administrative judge ultimately denied the employee’s request for corrective action because of a finding that the agency did not accept applications from individuals outside its own workforce under merit promotion procedures, and therefore had not violated statute by denying the employee, who was a veteran under 5 U.S.C. § 3304(f)(1), the opportunity to compete. On April 1, 2014, the MSPB reversed the initial decision in part, and granted the employee’s request for corrective action.

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GEICO's Good Stuff

Tell Us: Why Do You Heart Public Service

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

The Public Employees Roundtable (PER) is collecting testimonials from government employees and members of the public in support of an I “Heart” Public Service whiteboard photo campaign. Images will be posted on the PER on Facebook and Instagram pages.

The group behind Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), which takes place this year from May 4-10, launched the whiteboard campaign in support of this year’s theme: Proud to Serve.

Government employees and members of the public are invited to fill out their own whiteboard and share why they love public service and tag their photos with #PSRW and #Proud2ServeUSA.

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