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HRDG 4413 - Career Enhancement Program - Introduction

Subchapter 4413
Career Enhancement Program




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Familiarizing yourself with the following terms will help in understanding the Career Enhancement Program (CEP):

Bridge position - The transitional position in which a CEP participant is placed before meeting requirements for the target position.

Career counseling - Advice provided by the supervisor, training officer, or career counselor to assist the participant in attaining the target position and identifying personal career goals.

Career enhancement - A systematic management effort that focuses Federal personnel policy and practice on the development and implementation of specific career opportunities for employees who are in positions or occupational series which do not enable them to realize their full work potential.

Career ladder - The range of grades in an occupational series or specialization within any organization which represents the levels at which employees are given grade-building experience and to which they may be noncompetitively promoted.

Career lattice - The multidirectional movement of an employee's career which may provide the potential for increased scope of duties and responsibilities, enhanced skills development and greater occupational opportunities. This movement may include, but is not limited to, lateral reassignments, change-to-lower grades, and promotions.

Entry-level positions - The position in which the participant enters the CEP to gain qualifying experience for a target position.

Formal training - Attendance at scheduled academic courses and classroom lectures which are relevant to the target position, offered at schools and colleges, commercial training firms, Government facilities, and/or other accredited training institutions.

Individual training plan (ITP) - A systematic schedule used in the CEP to plan and document self-development, on-the-job training, coaching, mentoring, and/or formal training that will develop the skills and abilities of the participant to progress in the official duties of the current position in order to reach and successfully perform the duties of the target position.

Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) - A subcabinet of the Department of Agriculture which consists of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

Merit promotion - The mechanism that ensures that promotions and selections that could lead to promotions in the competitive service are made equitably and on the basis of merit, and that selection and promotion practices support the selection of the best qualified person.

On-the-job training - Developmental duties, assignments, and projects at the work site which are designed to provide the participant with the knowledge and abilities that will qualify him/her for the target position.

Pay retention - Continuation of an employee's rate of basic pay that would otherwise be reduced as a result of the placement of the employee in a formal employee development program.

Servicing personnel office (SPO) - Includes Human Resources Operations and regional or other administrative offices with delegated merit promotion authorities.

Single-interval series - A general schedule (GS) occupational series in which the grades progress in one-grade increments.

Target position - The position toward which the participant is aspiring and shall enter upon successful completion of the CEP.

Training office - The APHIS Organizational and Professional Development Staffs, including the AMS Training Institute, as appropriate.

Undertrained - Describes an employee who shows potential to function in a position, but does not currently possess the required experience as established by the Qualification Standards Operating Manual to compete for selection to occupational areas which would permit him/her to progress beyond GS-10 or equivalent.

Purpose of the CEP

The purpose of the Career Enhancement Program (CEP) is to:

  • Provide training, education, and job opportunities for employees in lower-level, single-interval series positions whose current assignments do not provide for advancement beyond the GS-10 level;
  • Increase the effective use of the current workforce to staff career-growth positions with lower-level high potential individuals who have the ability to perform in positions of greater responsibility; and
  • Motivate employees to excel in their performance and advance to their highest potential.

CEP positions are open to all eligible employees on a nondiscriminatory basis. Supervisors should consider the use of this program to meet affirmative recruitment objectives for minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.

Benefits of the CEP

The CEP benefits participants because it:

  • Provides advancement and opportunities to employees in career-restricted jobs with few other opportunities;
  • Authorizes pay retention for participants who take a voluntary change-to-lower grade; and
  • Provides for accelerated training.

The CEP provides an excellent opportunity to better utilize available resources and maximize the potential of highly motivated employees in an era of a shrinking Federal workforce. MRP will benefit from the CEP because it:

  • Allows agencies to better utilize the capabilities of the employees;
  • Enhances morale, motivates employees, and helps create a climate which is conducive to high productivity;
  • Provides a broader base for selection of personnel for the technical, administrative, professional, and craft/trade positions; and
  • Can be used to broaden the diversity of the workforce and meet Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights performance standards.
Who Is Eligible?

In MRP, the CEP is open to employees who meet all of the following conditions:

  • Occupy a position in a single-interval series with no promotion potential beyond the GS-10 level;
  • Occupy a career or career-conditional position in the competitive service, a Schedule A appointment for persons with disabilities, or a Veterans Readjustment Appointment;
  • Do not meet the qualification requirements for the target position, i.e., experience, training, or education;
  • Are willing to accept a geographical relocation if required by the position; and
  • Possess a background which clearly indicates the potential to perform successfully in the target position.

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