Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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The following FAQs are directed towards Fellows.
- When will Orientation, Graduation, etc., be held?
- How do I develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?
- How do I find a developmental assignment?
- What do I need to do to graduate from the PMF Program?
- Is the PMF Orientation and Graduation Ceremony a requirement for completion of the PMF Program?
- I lost my certificate for the PMF Orientation Session and I need to include this with my ERB package to complete the Program. How can I get a duplicate certificate?
- As a Fellow, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?
- Does my time as a PMF count toward the 3-year service requirement for career tenure?
- As a PMF, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?
- Does my time as a PMF count toward the probationary period required for competitive service positions?
- What happens if a PMF does not complete their 2-year fellowship?
- As a Fellow, can I move between PMF positions/agencies during my fellowship?
- As a current Fellow, my agency does not have a position to convert me into, what options are available?
- Can Fellows complete a rotation with a House or Senate Committee?
1. When will Orientation, Graduation, etc., be held?
The PMF Orientation sessions are conducted via on-line webinars throughout the year. Current Fellows should go to the Orientation webpage for available dates and how to register.
The Graduation Ceremony is typically held in late-spring/early-summer to ensure as many graduating Fellows complete the program requirements and convert. Additional information can be found on the Graduation webpage.
2. How do I develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?
You and your supervisor should develop the required IDP together. The OPM Form 1302, PMF IDP, is an optional Adobe Acrobat fillable PDF form that Fellows may use, and can be found under the Resources webpage.
The Training webpage offers many suggestions to get you started. You will need to complete 80 hours of formal interactive training per year during your fellowship as well as a 4-6 month developmental assignment. You should also consult with your Agency PMF Coordinator and Mentor.
3. How do I find a developmental assignment?
You should work with your supervisor to help identify a developmental assignment and it should be included on your IDP. You and your supervisor are encouraged to review the Rotational Opportunities for possible assignments that may meet the requirements. Another option is to network with other Fellows who may know of assignments within their agencies. However, the employing agency has the final approval of whether you may perform the developmental assignment outside of the employing agency. A developmental assignment may take place at the Fellow's organization, appointing agency, or to another Federal Agency. Visit the Training and Development webpage to learn more.
4. What do I need to do to graduate from the PMF Program?
All requirements of the PMF Program must be satisfactorily completed before you can be certified and converted. Each agency has an Executive Resources Board (ERB), or equivalent, that must verify that all requirements of the PMF Program have been successfully completed. The appointing agency notifies the PMF Program Office of the results of the ERB's decision. Agencies may have specific requirements for their ERB process and the Agency PMF Coordinator should be aware of that process. Early on in the fellowship, you should work with your supervisor, mentor, and Agency PMF Coordinator to determine the requirements, deadlines, etc., for successful ERB certification. Successful completion of the PMF Program requirements and ERB certification is what authorizes you to non-competitively convert to a permanent or term position. Once you are ERB certified and converted, you are eligible to participate in the Graduation Ceremony and considered graduated.
5. Is the PMF Orientation and Graduation Ceremony a requirement for completion of the PMF Program?
No, neither is a requirement. However, your agency may require you to complete the PMF Orientation. Your participation in a PMF Orientation session may count towards your required training hours and should be recorded on your IDP. Graduating Fellows may choose to participate in the Graduation Ceremony or have a certificate of completion mailed to their home address on file; this is done during the Graduation Ceremony registration process. Certificates may only be requested up to a year after your class graduation ceremony.
6. I lost my proof of participation for the PMF Orientation session and I need to include this with my ERB package to complete the Program. How can I obtain proof?
Typically at the conclusion of a PMF Program Office sponsored event (such as the PMF Orientation), a confirmation of participation is sent via email; this serves as your proof of participation.
It is important that when you attend training during your fellowship and throughout your Federal career that you keep documentation of training attended. This is often used to support future career opportunities! You are encouraged to keep copies of all training certificates, send copies to your Agency PMF Coordinator, and maintain a PMF Program folder to keep track of all program requirements. It is ultimately your responsibility to track your training and any evidence of participation. The PMF Program Office may not be able to provide proof if after the fact.
7. As a Fellow, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?
No. As a Fellow in the PMF Program, you do not have non-competitive appointment eligibility in this regard. Non-competitive appointment eligibility is based on statute or Executive order and specifically identifies the circumstances under which the non-competitive appointment eligibility is granted (e.g., persons with certain types of disabilities, certain military spouses, veterans of the armed forces). The Executive order authorizing the PMF Program did not confer such a non-competitive eligibility; instead, it provides a time-limited fellowship in the excepted service that could lead to a permanent position.
When Fellows see Federal positions advertised on www.USAJOBS.gov, they should ignore such references on "Who May Apply," showing "non-competitive appointment eligibility". However, if you are eligible and you apply and accept such a position, you will be taken out of the PMF Program.
8. Does my time as a PMF count toward the 3-year service requirement for career tenure?
Yes, but only if you are converted to a permanent position in the competitive service upon successful completion of your 2-year fellowship. PMFs may notice that "Tenure" appears as "2 - Conditional" on their SF 50, Personnel Action, upon their appointment; this is commonly referred to as "Career-Conditional".
For most PMFs who convert after successful completion of their 2-year fellowship, the time served as a PMF is creditable for career tenure and once an additional year of continuous service is completed the former PMF should be converted from career-conditional to career; commonly referred to as "Career Status".
9. As a PMF, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?
No. As a PMF holding an excepted service position, you are not considered a "status candidate." The term "status" is reserved for individuals holding permanent positions (or who held a permanent position) in the competitive service. However, if you are converted to a permanent position in the competitive service upon the successful completion of your 2-year fellowship, complete an additional year of continous service, and receive a Personnel Action (SF 50) stating your conversion to "Career Status", you may apply for positions that are open to "status candidates".
10. Does my time as a PMF count toward the probationary period required for competitive service positions?
Yes, if you are converted to a permanent job in the competitive service upon the successful completion of your 2-year fellowship the time served as a PMF is creditable toward the probationary period. Probation in the PMF Program is referred to as the 2-year trial period (2-year fellowship).
11. What happens if a PMF does not complete their 2-year fellowship?
If a PMF separates prior to conversion of their PMF appointment then the time served as a PMF is not creditable toward the 3 year service requirement for career tenure. If the former PMF later applies and accepts a Federal job in the competitive service, then he/she must have 3 years of continuous service under the new position to be converted from career-conditional to career. The 1-year probationary period also starts over.
As PMFs know, obtaining a PMF appointment is very competitive and agencies invest a lot of time and resources in that PMF. Not completing the 2-year fellowship is seen as unfavorable.
12. As a Fellow, can I move between PMF positions/agencies during my fellowship?
Yes. The PMF Program regulations allows for Fellows to transfer from one PMF position/agency to another. This process is commonly referred to as a "reappointment". The Fellow must meet the qualifications of the new position and cannot have a break in service. A break in service means he/she cannot resign from their current PMF position and start the new PMF position days later; the Human Resources Office or Agency PMF Coordinator can explain this. Finding a reappointment opportunity is the Fellow's responsibility. Fellows are not able to log into the PMF TMS to search for appointment opportunities as these are reserved for Finalists seeking their initial appointment.
If a PMF reappoints from one position/agency to another position/agency, he/she will need to re-evaluate their training and development requirements in consultation with their new supervisor and Agency PMF Coordinator. For example, if the PMF was initially appointed into a Budget Analyst position and all of their training and development was related to that position or their target position, but then reappoints to a Human Resources Specialist position, he/she may need to re-start their training and development requirements based on their new position. It is the new appointing agency's responsibility to ensure the PMF completes all training and development requirements for their target position before obtaining ERB certification and conversion.
Also, the PMF must be able to meet the qualifications of the newer position and the newer position cannot exceed the full promotion level (FPL) of the previous position. For example, if the PMF's current FPL is to a GS-12 (or equivalent), then the newer position cannot exceed a GS-12 (or equivalent); this is because the PMF did not initially compete for a position with a higher FPL.
A Fellow cannot reappoint to another PMF position/agency after obtaining ERB certification. The PMF Program regulations are very specific that a Fellow may only convert to a term or permanent position at the agency that certified his/her program completion.
If a Fellow is close to completing their 2-year fellowship and wishes to reappoint to another PMF position/agency, he/she needs to consult the losing and gaining Agency PMF Coordinators. The newer position may require a background investigation. Agencies have discretion to extend a PMF's fellowship for up to 120 days; however, agencies must follow their policies and procedures for such.
When a reappointment occurs, the PMF should fill out an OPM Form 1306, PMF Appointment Intake Form, and submit to their new Agency PMF Coordinator and to the PMF Program Office to ensure the appointment information for the newer position/agency is recorded in the PMF Talent Management System (TMS). The form can be found under the Current PMFs\Resources section on the PMF website.
The process to record reappointments in the PMF TMS has been automated. The losing Agency PMF Coordinator would initiate a reappointment and the gaining Agency PMF Coordinator must accept.
If the PMF reappoints within the first 6 months of their initial appointment, the losing agency may request the gaining agency to reimburse them 25% of the PMF reimbursement placement fee the losing agency has submitted to the PMF Program Office. The placement fee is typically owed by the initial appointing agency and must be submitted within 30-days of the Finalist accepting their PMF appointment offer. The PMF Program Office is not involved in situations where a PMF reappoints between agencies during the first 6-months. Any reimbursement between agencies, such as the 25% mentioned above, is handled between the losing and gaining agencies.
Reappointments are discouraged as the PMF's current agency has already invested significant time, resources, and funds. It is critical the PMF Program Office is aware of any such reappointments and that the PMF TMS is updated.
13. As a current Fellow, my agency does not have a position to convert me into, what options are available?
An agency may not have a position to convert a Fellow for a variety of reasons (e.g., a change in the agency's mission, budget shortages, a re-organization, or staffing adjustments). The Fellow's Agency PMF Coordinator should be consulted on what options may exist at their agency as several agencies have different policies and procedures in this regard. The following general options may be available and are based on the assumption there is no performance, conduct, or suitability issues:
- Assuming the Fellow will obtain a favorable certification from the agency Executive Resources Board (ERB), the agency may noncompetitively convert the Fellow into a term position (5 CFR 362.409(b)). A term position may last up to 4 years. The agency may then noncompetitively convert the former Fellow into a permanent position within the competitive service at any time before the end of the term appointment within the agency as a whole (5 CFR 315.201(b)(1)(xv)). For example, if the PMF is converted to a term appointment in FEMA, he/she may be noncompetitively converted to a permanent position within FEMA or DHS.
- Fellows can work with their Agency PMF Coordinators and other agency colleagues to find any potential opportunities for reassignment within their agency.
- Fellows can also reach out to Agency PMF Coordinators in other agencies, as well as colleagues in other agencies, to find any potential opportunities for a transfer.
- The Fellow's Agency PMF Coordinator can reach out to other Agency PMF Coordinators to see if they have positions that may be available to reappoint a Fellow, either through reassignment or transfer. A current list of Agency PMF Coordinators can be found here: https://apply.pmf.gov/coordinators.aspx.
- If none of the above options are available, the Fellow would either resign or the agency would terminate the appointment.
- A Fellow, who resigns or is terminated, may be eligible to reapply to the PMF Program to become a Finalist or request reinstatement from the original appointing agency at a later date (5 CFR 362.407(b)).
A Fellow can only convert to a term or permanent position at the agency that conducts the ERB certification process. A similar FAQ for Agencies can be found under the Agencies\FAQs webpage.
14. Can Fellows complete a rotation with a House or Senate Committee?
Information about developmental assignments and rotations, including this topic, can be found under the Rotational Opportunities webpage.