The types of services available - as resources permit - to employees affected by downsizing, streamlining, budget reductions, reorganization, or similar events, include:
A point of contact within each program to answer program-specific CTAP questions;
Listings of job vacancies for MRP and USDA, information about other Federal job openings, and private sector employment information;
Skills inventory and assessment tools;
Career transition workshops, training, and skills development;
Equipment such as computers, software programs, printers, copiers, and fax machines; and
Employee Assistance Programs (also known as Employee Counseling Services Programs) staffed by professional counselors who provide free, confidential assistance to employees on a number of issues.
Transition services may be provided through coordinated effort among USDA mission areas, through Career Transition Management Centers (CTMC's), contracts for outside services, and State Employment Dislocated Workers Units. With the implementation of this CTAP, specific orientation sessions on the use of services and eligibility for selection priority will be provided for surplus and displaced employees.
Employees with Disabilities
MRP career transition services will be accessible to persons with disabilities. In addition, the Disability Program Manager within each MRP agency will make available information on Federal, State, or local programs/contacts to support career transition for persons with disabilities. Upon request, printed materials will be provided in suitable alternative formats. Employees may also contact the Department's Disability Program Manager for assistance.
Points of Contacts
MRP has established a network for providing information to affected employees, managers, and supervisors about CTAP issues:
Employees/ supervisors in:
Field and Headquarters
Human Resources Operations (HRO) (Minneapolis) to obtain personnel-related information from their servicing personnel specialist.
To the extent possible, surplus/displaced employees will be retrained for other occupations within their organizations and/or USDA, before external candidates are hired to fill a vacancy. Retraining:
Is contingent upon available funds/resources;
Will be limited to jobs likely to exist at the same or lower grade level in the employee's LCA; and
Will not be used as a reason to extend an employee's official date of separation (to complete the training).
Supervisors are encouraged to retrain internal employees who lack specialized knowledge in a specific program area, but who possess appropriate skills to perform the job. Prudence should be used in identifying the number of courses and their cost.
Training offices in HRD, Talent Development & Management, Training & Development Branch can provide guidance on training under the CTAP. As resources permit, training offices will facilitate appropriate training, details, shadow assignments, and/or materials. All training provided by MRP will be in accordance with the Government Employees Training Act. Employees may request training through established procedures in their program areas.
Affected employees who have been separated are not eligible for Government-paid training. However, affected employees who began Government-paid training before separation may complete training that extends beyond the separation date.
Options for Retraining
Managers and supervisors are encouraged to employ short and long-range planning to train eligible employees. Training can be derived from a wide range of opportunities, such as:
Employee details or shadow assignments;
Self-study material/correspondence courses;
Local free training, e.g., libraries, adult literacy councils, etc.;
Formal and/or informal program-provided or vendor-provided training (onsite or offsite); and
Local community colleges and adult education classes.
Affected employees may be given priority for details that will provide experience that enhances their skills/qualifications.
Priority for Using Transition Services
Career transition services will be available on a priority basis. Highest priority will be given to any employee with a specific reduction-in-force notice or certificate of expected separation, and to any employee on the Reemployment Priority List (RPL).
Official Time for Career Transition Activities
Eligible employees are entitled to up to 40 hours of official time for career transition activities, including:
Using career transition equipment;
Attending counseling sessions; and
Attending interviews within the local commuting area (LCA).
Eligible employees must request the official time for career transition activities from their supervisors, who are authorized to approve the time and will determine what documentation, if any, is required. This time will be recorded as "01", regular time. Supervisors are responsible for tracking time granted under this provision. Additional time above the 40 hours may be granted when warranted.
Using Transition Services After Separation
A displaced MRP employee may use services and facilities, as resources permit, for up to 90 calendar days after the date of separation. This time period may be extended by written approval of the servicing personnel specialist. When an extension is granted, the employee will provide a copy of the written approval to the Career Transition Management Center to ensure that the employee's eligibility continues.