Training and Development
Rotational opportunities are assignments often used to allow Fellows to gain a broader perspective of the Federal Government. These opportunities can take you to another bureau, division, office, or program within your agency, or even to another Federal agency. By participating in rotational opportunities, you can gain management experience, work in specific occupational fields, or learn about a program function from another perspective.
You are required to do at least one developmental assignment of 4-6 months in duration in the occupation or functional discipline in which you will most likely be placed, with full-time management and/or technical responsibilities consistent with your IDP (Individual Development Plan). A developmental assignment is a rotational opportunity, but not all rotational opportunities meet the criteria of the required developmental assignment. Please remember that you must complete at least one developmental assignment, meeting the above criteria, as part of the program requirements. Developmental assignments may or may not be continuous over the 4-6 months.
NOTE: Per the program regulations and guidance, the developmental assignment can only take place within your organization, agency, or another Federal agency (5 CFR 362.405(b)(4)(ii)); Federal agency is basically defined as those agencies within the Executive Branch and those agencies who participate in the PMF Program.
The PMF regulations specify that in addition to the developmental assignment, you may receive other short-term rotations of 1 to 6 months in duration, at your appointing agency's discretion, to occupations or functional areas different from the one in which you will most likely be placed. Rotations and developmental assignments are grouped together as Rotational Opportunities when advertised for Fellows.
Because the agency and supervisor will be without your services during the rotational opportunity, but are still paying your salary and benefits, there may be times when the agency will deny or adjust your request regarding these opportunities. Some Fellows outside of the Washington, DC, metro area, may need to work with their agency or the hosting agency to determine who will cover any expenses (e.g., travel, per diem). If the hosting agency will cover such expenses, this is commonly referred to as a "reimbursable detail". A Fellow having a change in temporary duty station would typically need to be on travel orders. Such Fellows should consult with their Supervisor, Agency PMF Coordinator, and the hosting agency's Agency PMF Coordinator. In addition, Fellows outside of the metro area may want to contact the Federal Executive Board (FEB) covering their region to see if it can assist with rotational opportunities at other agencies within the region. To identify FEBs and their regions, go to https://www.feb.gov.
Rotational opportunities are at the discretion of your home agency, including any outside of your organization. Agencies may restrict such rotations within their agency. You are required to go through agency-specific procedures before pursuing them. More specifically, it is your responsibility to initiate the approval process, if required by the agency, before making contacts or agreements to go on rotational opportunities.
The PMF Program Office has developed a sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) template that Fellows and agencies may use. An MOU outlines the roles and responsibilities of all parties. The template is available under the Current PMFs\Resources webpage. This sample PMF MOU may be used when performing a rotational opportunity at an agency other than your agency. This form should be tailored to meet the needs of the specific assignment. You should consult with your supervisor and/or Agency PMF Coordinator for assistance and follow your agency's policies and procedures.
While some rotational opportunities are arranged by your agency, many Fellows take the initiative to identify opportunities they are particularly interested in. If an agency concludes that an optional short-term rotational opportunity to a non-Federal entity, or outside the Executive Branch, is appropriate to assist you to reach core competencies necessary for conversion to the targeted position at the end of your fellowship, it is the responsibility of the agency to address potential legal and ethical issues associated with such a rotation.
The frequency and duration of rotational opportunities during a Fellow's two-year fellowship may vary greatly from agency to agency. You are encouraged to be flexible and to have reasonable expectations regarding the agency's support for the location, timing, and duration of a rotational opportunity. In general, a PMF would not be detailed to a position for which he/she is not qualified. For example, a PMF at the GS-11 level should be detailed to a position that provides work at the GS-11 level. A PMF could only do a rotation with work at a higher grade level if the PMF meets the qualification requirements for the higher grade level. There is no prohibition of detailing a PMF in a position with a full performance level of a GS-13 to a rotational position with a full performance level of a GS-14 if the PMF is given work at teh appropriate grade level.
When appropriate, a Fellow may participate in a rotational opportunity in Congress; however, such opportunity must be with a congressional committee, which would prevent any potential conflict of interest and be bipartisan. Fellows should consult with their supervisor, Agency PMF Coordinator, and perhaps their General Counsel or Ethics Officer, for any agency-specific policies and procedures for such rotations.
The Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program provides for the temporary assignment of personnel between the Federal Government and state and local governments, colleges and universities, Indian tribal governments, federally funded research and development centers, and other eligible organizations. Check with your Agency PMF Coordinator or HR Office for specific policies and procedures at your agency.
While on a rotational opportunity, you remain employed by your agency and are not to be separated from Federal service. While on the rotational opportunity, your salary and benefits continues to be paid by the appointing agency, although housing, transportation, training, or other expenses are sometimes paid by the agency hosting the Fellow for this period of time. Agencies that permit a Fellow to perform a rotational opportunity outside of the agency are encouraged to have an MOU with the hosting agency in place before the rotational opportunity begins.
As long as the agency does not have specific policies or procedures stating otherwise, there is no order for completing the developmental assignment and/or optional rotations; some agencies may require more than one. Fellows should manage their time and workload, while in consultation with their supervisor, on when to complete their required developmental assignment and optional rotations (e.g., make adjustments based on leave (vacation, maternity, paternity, etc.), training and developmental activities, mission-critical projects, etc.). Extending the fellowship is typically not a reason for a Fellow to meet their program requirements.
You should record any rotational opportunities on your IDP, especially the required developmental assignment.
If a Fellow reappoints (e.g., transfers from one PMF position/agency to another) during their fellowship, any training and development may be forfeited if not related to the newer position or newer target position. If the reappointment is a result of a Fellow who was on their developmental assignment, he/she may need to complete a newer development assignment since the reappointment will be a new position or a new target position. See FAQ# 12 for information on reappointments.
For those Fellows enrolled in the PMF LDP (Leadership Development Program), please account for your participation for any impact. For example, all PMF LDP communications are sent to the Fellow's work and personal email addresses.
List of Rotational Opportunities
The PMF Program Office has automated the process for hosting organizations to post rotational opportunities in the PMF TMS for current Fellows to search. All current Fellows can log into the PMF TMS, via their applicant user account, and search for opportunities. If the Fellow has opted-in to receive automated emails from the PMF TMS, he/she will receive an automated digest email the day after a rotational opportunity is posted live.
Rotational opportunities are strictly for current Fellows. All Agency PMF Coordinators have access to post rotational opportunities and may grant "Agency HR Staff" user access to other agency personnel to post opportunities as well.