Assigning a Mentor to a Fellow is vital to Fellow’s overall experience during their fellowship and beyond in their careers in the civil service. Agencies may have their own policies and procedures for assigning a Mentor to a Fellow, but must keep the following in mind:
- Agencies must execute a written Pathways Participant Agreement with each Fellow that include mentorship opportunities (5 CFR 362.106).
- Within 90 days of a Fellow’s appointment, the agency must assign the Fellow a Mentor (5 CFR 362.405(b)(3).
- The Mentor must be a managerial employee outside the Fellow’s chain of command (5 CFR 362.405(b)(3).
- Each Fellow must have an IDP (Individual Development Plan). The IDP must be developed in consultation with the Agency PMF Coordinator and/or the Mentor assigned to the Fellow (5 CFR 362.405(a)).
- During the Fellow’s certification process, the ERB (Executive Resources Board), or equivalent, may consult the Fellow’s Mentor in reaching its determination (5 CFR 362.405(d)(1)).
Agencies have discretion in the assignment of a Mentor; however, the intent is for the Fellow to be assigned a Mentor within their agency who is familiar with the agency’s organization, structure, and mission. OPM’s Pathways Programs Handbook provides the following references to Mentors in the PMF Program: (1) the agency’s Pathways Programs Officers and Agency PMF Coordinators are responsible for ensuring their Fellows are assigned a Mentor, (2) the Pathways Participant Agreement emphasizes the assignment of a Mentor within 90 days of a Fellow’s appointment (5 CFR 362.106), (3) the purpose and role of Mentors, and (4) Mentors for Fellows must be current managerial employees inside of the participant’s agency.
As referenced above, a Mentor may be consulted and contribute to a Fellow’s IDP and certification process. The Mentor should be familiar with the PMF Program requirements and readily available to advise and coach the Fellow.
The PMF Program Office has created an optional OPM Form 1308, PMF Mentoring Agreement, that agencies and participants may use. The Form is posted under the Agencies\Resources and Current PMFs\Resources webpages. This Form is optional, and agencies may have alternative forms and\or specific policies and procedures in regard to the assignment of Mentors and any agreement.
A copy of the Pathways Programs regulations, along with other agency resources, can be found under the Agencies\Resources webpage. Resources include the following: (1) PMF Form 1301, PMF Participant Agreement, (2) OPM Form 1302, PMF Individual Development Plan (IDP), and the (3) OPM Form 1303, PMF Executive Resources Board (ERB) Certification Form. These forms are optional and the Fellow’s agency may utilize their own versions.
For a current list of participating Federal agencies and their designated Agency PMF Coordinators, please go to https://apply.pmf.gov/coordinators.aspx.