Federal Pay Raise Approved!

The 2019 spending bill, H.J. RES.31, approved an increase in salaries for Federal workers. President Trump signed the package which includes funding for the government through September 30 and a 1.9% raise in pay for federal workers. In addition, the pay raise is retroactive to the first pay period of 2019.

In the past, these raises have been caught in a pay freeze and were considered uncertain until recently. Also considered long overdue, this raise brings hope to federal employees. Given their numerous contributions to safeguarding the nation, many feel the raise was justified. This good news is especially exciting for those in six new locality pay areas that President Trump approved in 2018. These include: Alabama, Vermont, Texas, Nebraska, San Antonio, and Virginia.

For a bit of history, after mid-term elections, a bill was passed by the House that included a 2.6% pay raise. This included civilian employees receiving the same compensation as military personnel; it was introduced to the Senate where it was doubtful to pass. Congress then went back to the 1.9% raise to increase the chances for approval.

This multi-billion dollar spending package was also the final step in the requirement to avoid a 2nd government shutdown. Securing this average 1.9% pay raise takes federal workers safely through the rest of the year; the entire spending package also ensures final funding for all of the government through the rest of fiscal year 2019 or September 30th.

According to the National Treasury Employees Union President, “this bipartisan compromise funding package is a refreshing turnabout that gives their agencies stable funding and their paycheck a modest bump.” Some also feel that federal salaries were falling short of those in the private sector; in order to ensure a more qualified, skilled, prepared, and high performing workforce, the raise was welcomed. Recruitment of federal workers is also expected to be improved over the next year and beyond, with this new, approved pay increase.

Lastly, the bill is a much needed, a positive move forward, as it also impacts GS-15 employees who serve on the Executive Schedule. Caps that were in place are no longer, and GS-15’s are also able to receive the 1.9%  increase. Below are a few links to additional references providing additional details on the history, establishment, and implementation of this new increase.

References

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages

Postal Inspectors – Working For the Federal Government

The Postal Inspection Service defends us from criminals who attack our nation’s postal system and/or misuse it to endanger, defraud, or otherwise threaten the American public. As the primary law enforcement arm of the Postal Service, the Postal Inspection Service is a highly specialized, professional organization performing investigative and security functions essential to a stable and sound postal system.

Congress empowered the Postal Service “to investigate postal offenses and civil matters relating to the Postal Service.” Through its security and enforcement functions, the Postal Inspection Service provides assurance to American businesses for the safe exchange of funds and securities through the U.S. mail; to postal customers in the transmission of correspondence and messages; and to provide postal employees with a safe work environment.

Postal inspectors are federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests, and serve federal search warrants and subpoenas. Inspectors work closely with U.S. Attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and local prosecutors to investigate postal cases and prepare them for court. There are approximately 1,750 postal inspectors stationed through-out the United States, covering investigations of crimes that adversely affect or fraudulently use the postal system.

General Information

U.S. Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction in all criminal matters involving the integrity and security of the U.S. Postal Service.

Postal Inspectors investigate criminal, civil, and administrative violations of postal-related laws, often using forensics and cutting-edge technologies. It is essential that Postal Inspectors be in sound physical condition and be capable of performing rigorous physical activities on a sustained basis. They are required to:

  • Carry firearms
  • Make arrests
  • Provide testimony
  • Serve subpoenas
  • Execute search warrants
  • Prepare comprehensive reports
  • Pursue and restrain suspects
  • Protect themselves and others from imminent danger

Postal Inspectors work long and irregular hours, and must be willing to relocate. Competition is intense for the relatively few positions. Candidates must successfully complete all phases of the recruitment process and begin their first duty assignment prior to their 37th birthday.

You may be eligible to become a Postal Inspector if you:

  • Are an American citizen between the ages of 21 and 36½. * and are interested in an exciting and rewarding career in federal law enforcement. (Male citizens born after December 31, 1959, must have registered with the Selective Service before applying to become a Postal Inspector.)
  • Possess a conferred, four-year degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have no felony or domestic violence convictions
  • Are in good physical condition
  • Write and speak English
  • Are willing to relocate

Special Knowledge

There are four special knowledge tracks that make applicants more competitive for the position of Postal Inspector: language skills, postal experience, specialized non-postal skills, and academic achievement. Candidates without special knowledge will be only minimally qualified.

Determine your eligibility

There are several ways to qualify for Postal Inspector positions. Applicants must meet the general eligibility requirements or qualify under specific academic achievement criteria with or without work experience.

  • Academic Achievement with work experience. Candidates with at least one year of full-time work experience with the same company, within two years of the date of their application, are eligible under this skill track.
  • Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.S. in any field) must have two years of full-time work experience.
  • Candidates with an Advanced degree (M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. in any field) must have one year of full-time work experience.
  • Academic Achievement without work experience. Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree (a B.A. or B.S. in any field) and a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent, or an advanced degree (J.D., M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. in any field) are eligible under this skill track.

Inspector Training

Basic Inspector Training is mandatory and provided at their Career Development Unit (CDU). All new hires must complete course work in four areas:

  • Academics
  • Firearms
  • Physical fitness and defensive tactics
  • Practical exercises

Candidates must successfully complete all program areas and achieve specific minimum academic and performance levels to graduate. Graduation from basic training is a condition of employment. Failure to meet the minimum academic and performance levels will result in the termination of the appointment.

How to Apply

The Postal Inspection Service advertises vacancies during open hiring periods announced on the U.S Postal Inspection website. You can only apply during an open period and at that time you may complete an application online.  Check their site frequently to find job announcements. If you miss an open period you will have to wait until new job announcements are posted to submit an application.

If positions aren’t currently available for postal inspectors explore related law enforcement occupations. The federal government employs 192,929 in the Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement and Compliance GS-1800 Group including 3,800 employed overseas.  Review all of your options in law enforcement to improve your chances of landing a high paying, secure, and rewarding law enforcement career.

Review our list of law enforcement hiring agencies that includes the total number employed in each job series and the number employed by each of the hiring agencies. Click on the job title for comprehensive job descriptions that include current federal job vacancies for each occupation.

Forensic Laboratory Services

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service also maintains a National Forensic Laboratory in Dulles, VA. The facility employs technical specialists and forensic scientists that support the postal inspectors in the identification, apprehension, prosecution, and conviction of criminals that commit postal-related offenses. The lab provides scientific and technical expertise to the criminal and security investigations of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Laboratory services are divided into the four units listed below:

  • Questioned Document
  • Fingerprint
  • Physical Sciences
  • Digital Evidence

Employment opportunities exist at the forensic laboratory services facility in a number of related occupations.  Positions such as forensic chemists, information technologist,  physical evidence analysts, fingerprint identification and others are needed to provide these essential services.

References:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Understanding Federal Pay Systems

Pay plans help to organize and identify information about employee’s pay and the authorizations surrounding the dissemination according to position. They help determine positions, agency relation, or occupational groupings; statistical data is then reported and provided to a myriad of entities such as the OPM, as well as payroll and HR systems in a variety of agencies.

Within the Federal Government, there are a myriad of pay systems that are governed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM is the mastermind behind the development, implementation and management of how pay is administered; they set the pay, determine locality along with any special salary requirements and rates, determine bonuses, cost of living and more. Each of the agencies, however, are able to determine their own administration of such policies when it comes to their employees.

Within the Department of Transportation (DOT) for example, they have five levels of pay: Executive, Senior Service, General Schedule, Wage Grade and Pay Banding. Most employees fall under the General Schedule and within that, there are 15 grade levels and steps within each that are aligned with pay compensation.

Within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for example, Pay Banding is utilized to determine the appropriate range of pay for a particular position; locality is not included in the calculation. With a minimum, midpoint and maximum, pay is offered at the lowest base pay rate, median and highest pay rate for that position within the band. Additional information about the FAA’s specific pay banding system can be found here: http://jobs.faa.gov/FAACoreCompensation.htm.

The National Security Agency (NSA) utilizes the OPM pay tables with a 15 grade system and it is based on education, experience and job titles. With the ability for employees to work across the U.S. and beyond, salaries at the NSA are adjusted accordingly to ensure specific cost of living is in accordance with location.

Additionally, some federal employees may receive a specialty pay. Entitled “Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP)”, this example includes Federal Law Enforcement Officers that are poised in criminal investigation work roles. IT management, Cybersecurity and Computer Professionals may also fall under specialty umbrellas. These incentives are put in place by OPM to foster competition and to attract those in demanding skill sets.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently implemented measures to recruit, hire and pay its employees off of the traditional General Schedule. With a flexible benefits package, incentives are provided at various stages within the employee’s professional career. In order to recruit top talent effectively, specifically in the areas of Border Patrol and Cyber, DHS has sought and utilized new and improved pay, recruitment and hiring tactics.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) offers the Administratively Determined (AD) Pay Plan that enables Assistant United States Attorneys, Supervisory Assistant United States Attorneys, Senior Litigation Counsel, Special Assistant United States Attorneys and United States Attorneys to take part in this pay for performance based plan.

There are many pay systems that are centered around the traditional General Schedule Pay System. When applying for federal positions the pay system designation is provided on the job announcement along with the position’s pay range. Read the job announcement thoroughly and provide all of the required information to ensure your application is accepted for consideration. There are certain conditions that warrant the applicant to request a higher pay rate than initially offered. You must negotiate a pay increase before signing an acceptance agreement.

References:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

New Performance Pay Plan for Federal Employees

The Office of Management and Budget is focusing on a new way to reward and retain high performers. These government employees will likely benefit from this new structure as it seeks to replace older, more inefficient processes and focus on new initiatives. Essential skills, high performance and targeted pay incentives are the baseline for this new and improved pay plan; funding is being proposed for the 2018-2019 plans for implementation. Additionally, each Agency can work to create innovative and exciting rating systems to reward and retain employees with critical skills, knowledge and abilities. Further, monies will be provided to support robust training and education programs that focus on enhancing performance; opportunities to pilot new efficiencies, processes and procedures are being provided and encouraged across the federal government and beyond.

Specifically, the plan will enhance rewards and incentives so that organizations can retain high performers and most importantly, those with the best skill mix. In order to accomplish this, agencies will have flexibility with any number of innovations. Some may choose to elect pay banding which is accomplished by consolidating the GS system’s 15 grades into a limited number of pay bands, usually four or five Pay Bands or perhaps change ratings to a pass/fail system. The Federal Aviation Administration has used a core compensation alternative pay system incorporating pay bands since the late 1990s. Additionally, others may opt for the ability to offer cash awards for critical skills…and the list goes on and on. Developmental programs are being refined in each of these areas to determine which system works best for each particular agency based on the skills, knowledge and abilities required for those missions.

Recognizing employees for their performance is a critical piece to a successful mission; these new opportunities to alter the plans to the most appropriate solution are a good one. New forward leaning ideas will arise, and communication, collaboration and information sharing increased. Measures will be implemented so as to ensure compliance and accountability with the new system and to ensure it is working properly.

In conjunction with the new pay system, many companies are opting to revisit their education and training programs. Skill mix and development are critical to many of these mission sets and therefore, hiring and performance assessments are key to their success. By revisiting many of these education and training plans, agencies can provide additional opportunities and coursework that will in turn, enhance performance. The link to the new pay system and education and training is critical and one that should go hand in hand with the implementation of new performance requirements. This system will encourage employees to develop creative Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to improve their skill sets and be rewarded with higher pay and awards as they accomplish their targeted goals.

Many organizations are providing additional funding for coursework, on the job training, college programs and skill enhancement initiatives that foster increased performance. These opportunities, particularly in the area of information systems, cybersecurity, science, technology, engineering and math, for many of the agencies, are increasing performance and providing a more holistic way forward for the organization in meeting their goals and objectives.

Although each approach may vary, agencies will have the ability to implement what makes the most sense to them; they will now have the flexibility to  appropriately reward employees for performance and meet the needs of their mission. Each will need to ensure they work to establish a mechanism as well, to measure success; feedback on these new processes and procedures are critical and must be captured so that that they can make adjustments, as necessary.

References:

Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

City Carrier Assistant (CCA) and Associate Rural Carrier (ARC) Post Office Jobs

The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers many great job opportunities  especially during the holidays when it is critical for them to deliver mail, packages, and parcels on time. The city carrier assistant (CCA) and the rural carrier associate (RCA) are two of the most in demand jobs each holiday season.

All applicants must apply online to be considered for employment and have a valid email address. All communication regarding employment opportunities, examinations, interviews and background checks are sent by email. Add the following list of email domain addresses to your contact list or check you spam folder for these email extensions:

  • @usps.gov
  • @psionline.com
  • @geninfo.com
  • @uspsis.gov

Dennis Damp, host of PostalWork.net reports that many applicants miss out on opportunities because they don’t print out a copy of the Postal Service job announcement. The job announcement includes detailed application guidance. It also provides contact information in case you have a problem with the application process, need to reschedule an exam, or to confirm receipt of documents.  Damp frequently receives questions from applicants that don’t know who to contact after applying for postal positions because they didn’t print out a copy of the job announcement.

City Carrier Assistant (CCA)

Generally CCAs are appointed for periods not-to-exceed 360 days. Subsequent appointments after a 5 day break in service may be offered but are not guaranteed.  If your work performance is satisfactory there may be opportunities to apply for a permanent position.  City Carrier Assistants must be U.S. citizens to apply, take an on line assessment and pass the 473 Postal Exam. The starting salary is $16.06 per hour paid bi-weekly.

Duties

  • Routes or cases all classes of mail in sequence of delivery along an established route. Rearranges and re-labels cases as required.
  • Withdraws mail from the distribution case and prepares it in sequence for efficient delivery independently or by another carrier along an established route. Prepares and separates all classes of mail to be carried by truck to relay boxes along route for subsequent delivery.
  • Handles undeliverable mail in accordance with established procedures.
  • Delivers mail along a prescribed route, on foot or by vehicle, on a regular schedule, picking up additional mail from relay boxes as needed. Collects mail from street letter boxes and accepts letters from mailing from customers; on certain routes may deliver mail that consists exclusively of parcel post, or the collection of mail.
  • Uses portable electronic scanner as instructed.
  • Delivers and collects charges on customs, postage-due, and C.O.D. mail matter. Delivers and obtains receipts for registered and certain insured mail. Signs for such matter, except insured mail, at the post office before beginning route and accounts for it upon return by payments of the amounts collected and delivery of receipts taken.
  • Deposits in the post office mail collected on the route upon returning from the route.
  • Checks, and corrects if necessary, mailing cards from advertisers bearing names and addresses of customers or former customers on the route.
  • Furnishes customers with postal information and provides change of address cards and other postal forms as needed.
  • Reports to supervisor all unusual incidents or conditions relating to mail delivery, including condition of street letter boxes and centralized delivery equipment.
  • Becomes proficient, when assigned to a route, in the casing of mail on other routes as assigned.
  • Works professionally with other employees in the office.
  • May as a CCA, perform clerical duties and be required to pass examinations on scheme of city primary distribution.
  • In addition, may perform any of the following duties: check hotels and other establishments to ensure that mail for residents undeliverable as addressed is not improperly held; deliver stamps or other paper supplies to contract or classified stations and other designated delivery points; serves at carriers’ delivery window; receive and register where practical, all letters and packages of first-class matter properly offered for registration; case mail and make deliveries on other routes as assigned.

Physical Requirements

You must be physically able to efficiently perform the duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. CCA duties require arduous exertion involving prolonged standing, walking, bending and reaching, and may involve handling heavy containers of mail weighing up to the allowable maximum mailing weight.

Additional Requirements

CCAs must work their assigned tour and days of work.  CCAs must follow Postal Service policies and procedures for personal conduct at work, including adhering to rules and regulations.

CCAs are required to provide service to the public.  They must maintain a neat and professional appearance and demeanor in such interactions. May be required to wear uniform items.

Applicants must have a valid state driver’s license, and demonstrate and maintain a safe driving record.

Associate Rural Carrier (ARC)

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • On line assessment and a written Exam Required: Postal Exam 473 is required.
  • $17.02 per hour paid bi-weekly.

Duties

  • Loads packages in delivery sequence in vehicle.
  • Delivers packages to customers along a prescribed route.
  • Sorts mail in delivery sequence for the assigned route.
  • Receives and signs for accountable mail.
  • Loads mail and packages in vehicle.
  • Delivers mail and packages to customers along a prescribed route or as an auxiliary assistant by a vehicle; collects monies and receipts for accountable mail; picks up mail from customers’ roadside boxes.
  • Furnishes routine information concerning postal matters to customer.
  • Returns mail collected, undeliverable mail, and submits monies and receipts to post office.
  • Prepares appropriate time records.
  • Provides for mail security at alltimes.
  • May be required to provide a vehicle for delivery if an employer provided vehicle is not assigned.

They are non-career employees who provide customers along a rural route services which includes delivering and collecting mail.

Work is performed indoors and outdoors in all types of weather. Carriers may be required to load and unload trays and containers of mail and parcels weighing as much as 70 pounds.

For more information, review our step-by-step guide for applying for and taking the exam. A postal exam study guide titled Post Office Jobs, the 6th edition, can help you prepare for the exam.

Additional Information from the OOH website

Postal service mail carriers deliver mail to homes and businesses in cities, towns, and rural areas. Most travel established routes, delivering and collecting mail. Carriers cover their routes by foot, vehicle, or a combination of both. Some mail carriers collect money for postage due. Others, particularly in rural areas, sell postal products, such as stamps and money orders. All carriers must be able to answer customers’ questions about postal regulations and services and, upon request, provide change-of-address cards and other postal forms.

All applicants must pass a written exam that measures speed and accuracy at checking names and numbers and the ability to memorize mail distribution procedures. Jobseekers should contact the post office or mail processing center where they want to work to find out when exams are given.

When accepted, applicants must undergo a criminal background check and pass a physical exam and a drug test. Applicants also may be asked to show that they can lift and handle heavy mail sacks. Mail carriers who drive at work must have a safe driving record, and applicants must receive a passing grade on a road test.

Other Qualities

Customer-service skills

Postal service workers, particularly clerks, regularly interact with customers. As a result, they must be courteous and tactful and provide good client service.

Physical stamina

Postal service workers, particularly carriers, must be able to stand or walk for long periods.

Physical strength

Postal service workers must be able to lift heavy mail bags and parcels without injuring themselves

Union Membership

Most postal service workers belonged to a union in 2014.

These were just two of the many wonderful job opportunities offered by the USPS.

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Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Working for the United States Postal Service (USPS) (Part 1)

There are abundant opportunities for employment at more than 31,600 Postal facilities nationwide. The Postal Service has annual revenue of $69 billion and it’s responsible for delivering 47 percent of the world’s mail. There are over 617,000 employees and the Postal Service is one of the largest employers in the nation. The benefits are outstanding and on par with the Federal workforce. They include excellent pay, job security, a generous pension with a 401K, and Social Security.

 

Jobs Hunt Hiring

The Postal Service was created during the beginning weeks of the Revolutionary War at the meeting of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia in May 1775. To thwart the threat of British aggression against the colonies, Ben Franklin and others formed a committee. This committee determined that a postal system was needed for the conveyance of letters and other intelligence for the cause of liberty. Ben Franklin was named as the first Postmaster General and served in the position until November 1776. The postal system task was to carry letters to Congress and the armies.

Today’s Postal Service is an independent agency that funds its operation through the sale of postage, products and services. It is the only delivery service that reaches every address within the United States, which is approximately 155 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes.

History

The official United States Post Office by a decree of the Second Continental Congress was created on July 26, 1775. Officially, the Post Office was created in 1792 and was referred to as the Post Office Department (USPOD) based on Constitutional authority empowering Congress “To establish post offices and post roads”.

As the West expanded so did the postal system services. It provided a fast and convenient communication system. Letters provided settlers information and encouraged western migration. In addition, businesses and merchants were provided opportunities to develop commercial relationships that helped factories back east. The Postal Service assisted the Army in the control of the Western expansion and the newspapers sent by mail increased their circulation and disseminated information nationwide.

During the 19th century the postal service expanded its delivery routes via railroad, steamboat and eventually waterways where no roads existed. The volume of mail increased during the 20th century by the use of Parcel Post and Rural Free Delivery (RFD). These helped to promote more efficient postal transportation systems.

Currently, the USPS operates one the largest fleets of vehicles in the world, with an estimated 211,264 vehicles. The Department of Defense and the USPS jointly operate a postal system that delivers mail to the military known as the Army Post Office (APO). The Fleet Post Office delivers to the Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard postal facilities.

In 1971 the Post Office Department was reorganized and became the United States Post Office. It was an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States. The mission of the Postal Service remained the same, as stated in Title 39 of the U.S. Code:

“The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities”.

Some Interesting Facts about the USPS

  • The Postal Service has the country’s largest retail network — larger than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Walmart combined, domestically.
  • Through the Carrier Alert Program, Postal Service letter carriers help monitor the well-being of elderly and disabled customers. If carriers notice an accumulation of mail that might indicate an accident or illness, they notify emergency personnel. In addition, each year postal employees go beyond the call of duty, some even risking their own safety to save the lives of the customers they serve. In 2015, the Postal Service recognized 318 employee heroes for going above and beyond.
  • The Postal Service embraces the heroic service of the United States’ armed forces. More than 113,000 veterans are employed with the organization, and more than 140 stamps have been issued that reflect the nation’s military history, including the current Medal of Honor series. (As of Jan 2015).
  • The Postal Service is the only organization in the country that has the resources, network infrastructure and logistical capability to regularly deliver to every residential and business address in the nation.
  • The Postal Service can and does compete with the private sector — and it collaborates with it, too. UPS and FedEx pay the Postal Service to deliver hundreds of millions of their ground packages to residences, taking advantage of the Postal Service’s expansive delivery network. The Postal Service pays UPS and FedEx for air transportation, taking advantage of their comprehensive air networks.
  • Mail is reliable, trusted and secure — more than 200 federal laws protect the sanctity of the U.S. Mail. These laws are enforced by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the country. U.S. Postal Inspectors are federal agents, mandated to safeguard the nation’s mail — including the people who move it and the customers who use it.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is the core of the $1.4 trillion mailing industry in this country that employs more than 7.5 million people.

Postal Careers

The U. S. Postal Service (USPS) employs over 617,000 workers in 300 job categories for positions at 31,600 post offices, branches, stations, and community post offices throughout the United States. Thousands of post office jobs are advertised each year to backfill for retirements, transfers, deaths and to replace employees who choose to leave the Postal Service. The Postal Service also hires many temporary workers (casual temporary positions) during peak mail periods. Mail carrier, clerk, and mail handlers must take and pass the 473 Postal Exam when they apply for these positions. The corporate positons do not require this exam.

Most Postal Service jobs are mail carrier and clerk positions. However, like most large corporations the Postal Service employs workers for everything from janitors to engineers; technicians, mechanics, accountants, program managers, Postal Inspectors and administrative and logistics occupations of all types.

Here are a few of the many USPS job occupations:

In our next article we will discuss job occupations that the Post Office needs to fill for the upcoming busy holiday season.

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Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Postal Service Job Promotions and Advancement

The United States Postal Service has many promotional opportunities for employees to advance in their postal careers.  Many employees will take advantage of the different training programs to become supervisors and managers and if your dream is to manage a large distribution center or post office, the training you need is available.

Working For the Postal Service
Working For the Postal Service

There are other opportunities as well, such as being “detailed” into a position, which is what I did.  I began my postal career in a large processing plant in Kansas City KS working as a PTF Distribution Clerk.  I was able to transfer to an associate office closer to home and was fortunate to have a Postmaster that encouraged me to learn more and allowed me to accept a detail in Personnel for 6 months.  Shortly after starting my detail a vacancy became available in Personnel for a Human Resources Specialist; I applied and was accepted for the position.  I loved working in Personnel and learned so much.  This position was supposed to be a temporary position; not-to exceed 2 years.  I was fortunate to be able to keep it for 5 years.

Most employees at the postal service begin their careers working as an hourly employee and most are able to move up the ladder.  The opportunities are there!  I had many co-workers that began when I did and are now supervisors and managers.  If you get a job with the postal service, ask your supervisor, Postmaster or Manager about detail opportunities or apply for one of the programs listed below.  Live your dream!

The postal service’s career development initiatives prepare employees to achieve their goals and turn their career dreams into realities.

National Center for Employee Development

The National Center for Employee Development (NCED) is the U.S. Postal Service’s national center for employee training. NCED oversees and conducts hands-on training for postal employees who manage and maintain major high-technology postal systems, vehicles, and mail processing equipment. Training offered at NCED supports postal automation efforts and national job skills training. NCED is a nationally recognized leader in the use of distance learning technology. NCED expands its reach from the resident classrooms by using national networks for live satellite broadcasts, audio teletraining, and computer driven audiographics courses, plus computer, video, and internet technology to deliver critical job skill training to postal employees.

Associate Supervisor Program

The Associate Supervisor Program (ASP) is designed to attract,  select, and train the best possible candidates for first-line supervisory positions. ASP will develop technical, operational, administrative, and leadership skills through its comprehensive classroom training and on-the-job assignments. Applicants who meet the requirements will learn the critical knowledge and skills necessary to become highly effective leaders of the U.S. Postal Service. ASP is a 16-week training program, combining classroom training and on-the-job assignments, to provide a practical hands-on experience. Coaching is an important aspect of the program. ASP trainees are assigned a coach who provides leadership and guidance throughout the program. If you like working with people, want to make a difference, and be associated with a winning team, then the supervisor position is the right job for you.

Managerial Leadership Program

The Managerial Leadership Program is a two week program based on the Managerial Competency Model. The curriculum spans a three month period: Week One is centered on the interpersonal and developmental aspects of leadership and includes an introduction to Lean Six Sigma, coaching, giving and receiving feedback, and effective messaging. Week Two contains interactive activities related to managing difficult business conversations, team development, and power & influence. MLP targets both Headquarters and Field employees, EAS Level 19 and above. MLP participants are high-potential managers who have demonstrated the ability to move into higher level EAS leadership roles; are not in Corporate Succession Planning (CSP); and have not attended the Advanced Leadership Program (ALP).

Advanced Leadership Program

The Advanced Leadership Program is a three week program based on the Executive Competency Model. The curriculum spans a 6-9 month period: Week 1: Business Foundations covers the essential information necessary to be an effective leader. Some of the topics include finance, strategy and transition, and project management; Week 2: Personal Development includes rich assessments and a one on one coaching session; and Week 3: Business Leadership and the Business Case presentation. Participants address an issue facing the Postal Service and present their findings and recommendations to an executive panel. The ALP participant must be a non-executive who has been identified as a potential successor in Corporate Succession Planning (CSP) and has not previously attended the program. These individuals must be nominated by a sponsoring Executive and approved by their Vice President.ir career.

A Career development Plan or Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an essential first step for those who desire promotions and career advancement. It doesn’t have to be a formal plan however you must at the minimum set short and long term goals to achieve your objective (a targeted position, upgrade, or transfer to another specialty). Discuss your career development options with your supervisor and consider lateral assignments, details, and the various training programs available to postal service employees at your location.

Also consider ways to improve your chances for postal service job promotions or new assignments by attending night school or taking classes at local universities online or through weekend programs. Use whatever is available and realistic to achieve your goals.

Take Charge of Your Federal Career: A Practical Action-Oriented Career Management Workbook for Federal Employee by Dennis V. Damp can be used as a primer to develop your personal Individual Development Plan (IDP). It was written for federal employees however it is also helpful to anyone wishing to advance in their career. You will discover how to identify positions in your organization based on your interests, education and training, set realistic short and long term career goals, and work with your supervisor to make it happen.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Custodian Jobs With the USPS

Labor Custodians play a major role in the United States Postal Service. They are responsible for the daily manual labor in connection with maintenance and cleaning of the buildings and grounds of a postal facility. The job is physically demanding, requiring both indoor and outdoor responsibilities. They are responsible for such duties as clearing sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice to mopping floors and dusting furniture and fixtures. Applicants must be able to perform the duties of the position with or without accommodation. Labor Custodians are used in the processing and distribution plants as well as some of the larger post offices.

Custodian
Custodian

Hundreds of Custodians are employed by the USPS. The starting pay is $13.25 an hour and they are paid under the APWU pay schedule. The Mid-America district office in Kansas City, MO, is located in their Western Region and they employ 197 career custodians to service facilities in their area. The Mid-America district office is one of 67 nationwide.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Makes or assists in making minor maintenance repairs to building and equipment.
  • In smaller buildings assist the fireman-laborer in firing the boiler; in firemen-laborer’s absence fires and clean the boiler.
  • Operates a variety of power driven equipment such as floor scrubbers, floor sanders, waxers, and wall washers; adjusts brushes, buffers, and other attachments on machines; uses wax, polish, and other protective agents appropriate for the various; surfaces; washes walls and ceilings from scaffolding.
  • Performs general laboring duties such as uncrating and assembling furniture and fixtures using bolts and screws for assembly, loading and unloading supplies and equipment.
  • Performs janitorial duties such as cleaning, scrubbing, waxing, and polishing floors; washes walls and ceiling; dusts furniture and fixtures; cleans hardware and toilet fixtures; washes windows; cares for lawns and shrubs; cleans sidewalks and driveways and removes ashes, snow and ice.
  • In addition, may: operate elevator, stack supplies in storage rooms and on shelves; move furniture and equipment.

Applicants must successfully complete Postal Service Test 916. This custodial exam is made up of 60 multiple-choice questions. There are four parts:

  • Vocabulary
  • Safely basics
  • General Cleaning
  • Following Instructions

Sample questions could include the following: (More sample questions are provided in the 6th edition of Post Office Jobs.)

1. Avoid breathing caustic product fumes. Caustic most nearly means:

A. Harmful
B. Cleaning
C. Safety
D. Helpful
E. Degenerative

2. Which of these would you use to clean a concrete floor?

A. Mop
B. Scraper
C. Wire Brush
D. Detergent
E. All of the Above

3. What must you do when working in an area with high dust levels?

A. Hold your breath while cleaning the area
B. Put a handkerchief over your nose and mouth
C. Wait until the dust settles
D. Wear an approved protective mask provided by your employer
E. Wear gloves to keep dust off your hands

This position is restricted to applicants eligible for veterans’ preference.

Note: Applicants who are not entitled to veterans’ preference may be considered only when preference eligible applicants are not available for appointment.

Not all veterans receive preference for federal civilian employment, and not all active duty service qualifies for Veterans’ Preference. Only veterans discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions are eligible for Veterans Preference. Preference eligible vets must have been discharged under an honorable or general discharge. There are two types of preference eligible; those with a service-connected disability and those without.

Vets without a Service Connected Disability (5-point Preference) entitles you to be hired before a non-veteran whose application is rated in your category. To meet this criterion, your service must meet one of the following conditions;

  • 180 or more consecutive days, any of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001 and ending on a future date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law as the last date of Operation Iraqi Freedom, OR
  • Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992 OR
  • 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976, OR
  • In a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955.

Vets with a Service Connected Disability (10-Point Preference) – You are a 10-point preference eligible if you served at any time and you:

  • Have a service connected disability
  • Received a Purple Heart
  • Are the spouse, widow, widower or mother of a deceased or disabled veteran.

If interested in custodian position or any other positions at the United States Postal Service, please visit http://www.postalwork.net to begin your job search. Good luck in your job-hunting endeavors. Use our Postal Job Guide to familiarize yourself with the application process and for links to the official Post Office recruiting web site.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Postal Service Automotive Technician Jobs

Have you ever thought about who keeps all the postal vehicles in running order? The USPS has 211,654 vehicles (one of the largest civilian fleets in the world) and someone has to be able to maintain them and keep them up and running. What would they do without Vehicle Maintenance positions? These positions include: Lead Automotive Technician, Automotive Technician and Automotive Mechanic. These are very important positions in the USPS, because without them – the mail would come to a stand still. There are over 4000 Vehicle Maintenance positions. They are responsible for the maintenance and repair of light and medium delivery vehicles, tractor-trailers, service vehicles and automobiles that cover over a billion miles on our nation’s highways and byways. Below you will find more details on these Postal Service automotive technician jobs.

bigstock-car-mechanic-worker-repairing--75071323

Most new employees are hired in as PTF (Part-time Flexible) employees. As a PTF, you are paid an hourly rate and work a flexible schedule as required by the workflow needed to maintain the postal fleet. Automotive technicians and mechanics work in a vehicle maintenance facility noted for a clean and safe environment, state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, tools and shop equipment and environmentally friendly materials. The postal service has over 320 vehicle maintenance facilities and auxiliary garages that are located in all major metropolitan areas across the country.

Vehicle maintenance positions include the following:

LEAD AUTOMOTIVE TECHNICAN: Serves as a working group leader at a maintenance facility or an auxiliary garage without direct supervision. Personally performs the most complex automotive maintenance and repairs on all types of vehicles.

AUTOMOTIVE MECHANIC: Troubleshoots, diagnoses and performs routine repairs and scheduled maintenance on all types of vehicles.

AUTOMOTIVE TECHNICIAN: They are responsible for maintaining and repairing all types of motor vehicles used in the postal fleet, troubleshoot and diagnose more complex vehicle malfunctions using a variety of computerized test equipment; may provide assistance to lower level employees.

The salary range for Automotive Technician is $41,185 to $59,245 annually. This job requires applicants to take and pass the Automotive Mechanic and Technician 943 Exam.

The following sample test questions provide examples of the types of questions that you will find on the 943 Exam. Additional automotive technician exam questions are included in Chapter Four of the all new 6th edition of Post Office jobs: The Ultimate 473 Postal Exam Study Guide and Job Finder. The exam takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

Sample 943 Exam Questions

1. Which one of the following answers represents another way to open an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve other than with vacuum?

A. Spring Action
B. Electricity
C. Manually
D. Hydraulic Pressure

2. What engine defect will a wet compressions test detect?

A. Head gasket leaking
B. Valve seals are worn
C. Worn piston rings
D. Worn valve seats.

Answers: 1 – B, 2 – C

Automotive Technician Job Duties and Responsibilities

1. Diagnoses operating difficulties on a variety of vehicles and performs operational checks on engines; its major supporting systems, parts, components, assemblies; including emissions systems, electrical, computer and electronic controlled components.
2. Performs various computerized and electronic diagnostic tests using specialized equipment; interprets trouble codes and other information from electronic scanners and test analyzers; uses reference materials such as service manuals and wiring
schematics to determine operational difficulties, drivability problems and evaluates performance efficiency.
3. Conducts visual and auditory vehicle inspections, road calls and road tests before and after maintenance and repairs; annotates vehicle problems on work orders.
4. Provides technical guidance and instructions to mechanics and technicians on more difficult repairs and in the use of specialized computer-aided diagnostic equipment.
5. Performs maintenance and repairs resulting from normal preventive maintenance inspections.
6. Prepares and updates vehicle records, maintains vehicle records; annotates labor time, parts and/or equipment and other pertinent data on work orders.
7. Performs engine tune-ups; removes, replaces, adjusts, cleans parts, components, assemblies and accessories; uses a variety of specialized test equipment to adjust systems and components to prescribed operating tolerances.
8. Troubleshoots malfunctioning vehicles resulting from road calls and identifies improperly functioning part(s) and repairs or replaces.
9. Repairs and replaces major components including transmissions, differentials, brake systems, power assist units, steering and suspension assemblies.
10. Performs other job related duties and responsibilities in support of primary duties.
11. Follows all established safety practices and procedures; complies with all postal, local, state and federal environmental regulations and policies.

If interested in any maintenance position or any other positions at the United States Postal Service, please visit http://www.postalwork.net to begin your job search. Good luck in your job-hunting endeavors.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

Electronic Technician Jobs With the U.S. Postal Service

There are over 2000 occupational codes in the Postal Service’s Position Directory. A number of these positions are in the maintenance field. I use to think of “maintenance” as just being the “cleaning crew”. But it is so much more than that. The USPS has area maintenance technicians, building equipment mechanics, thousands of custodians, electronics technicians, auto mechanics and technicians, and general maintenance mechanics just to name a few of the available maintenance positions.

Fortunately there are promotion opportunities in these departments. A person that works as an automotive mechanic for example could move up to a technician position. They could also be promoted to lead technician or a supervisory position if available and if they meet the qualifications for the promotion.

There are many opportunities for electronic technicians due to the considerable amount of electronic equipment that has to be in full working order 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Electronics Technician
Electronics Technician

In 1982, the Postal Service deployed its first flat sorting machine (FSM), the FSM 775. Previously, all flats had been processed manually. With four operators keying in part of the ZIP Code, the FSM 775 could sort about 6,200 flats per hour into 100 bins. The FSM 881, introduced ten years later in 1992, could sort about 10,000 flats per hour with four operators. These were the machines that I worked on at the Kansas City KS General Mail Facility, when I was a PTF clerk. The ET’s had to be available to keep these machines operational so the mail could keep moving and be ready for dispatch at 4:30 am. You can see why ET’s are so valuable to the postal service; the mail could come to a complete halt if the machines like the FSM and Delivery Bar Code Sorters were unable to operate.

I’ll cover a number of the maintenance positions in my column starting with electronic technician. The salary range for an Electronic Technician – PS 10 is $56,150 to $67,156.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Carry out all phases of maintenance, troubleshooting and testing of electronic circuitry used in equipment and systems requiring knowledge of solid-state electronics. Instructs and provides technical support on complex systems and on combinational (hardware/software) or intermittent problems.

  • Performs the testing, diagnosis, maintenance and revision work requiring knowledge of solid-state electronics.
  • Observes the various equipment and systems in operation and applies appropriate testing and diagnostic methods and procedures to ensure proper operation.
  • Locates source of equipment and system failures, rectifies trouble in involved cases or provides instructions to be used by maintenance employees performing repair work.
  • Makes or participates with contractor representative or electronic technician in installing or altering equipment and systems as required.
  • Makes reports of equipment and system failures, which require corrective action by contractor and follows up to see that appropriate action, is taken.
  • Makes preventive maintenance inspections to discover incipient malfunctions and to review the standards of maintenance.
  • Recommends changes in preventive maintenance procedures and practices as found to be necessary.
  • Programs scheme and/or scheme changes into memory units as requested by management.
  • Furnishes pertinent data to superiors and contract employees on operation and testing problems.
  • Participates in training programs: classroom, on-the-job, and correspondence, at postal facilities, trade schools and manufacturer’s plants as required. May assist in developing and implementing training programs. Instructs equal or lower level employees as required.
  • Observes established safety regulations pertaining to the type of work involved.
  • May drive vehicle or utilize other available mode of transportation to work site when necessary.
  • Provides technical support to other electronic technicians to resolve complex, combinational (hardware/software) and/or intermittent failures.
  • Performs such duties as may be assigned

If interested in any Maintenance position or any other position at the United States Postal Service visit our USPS Job Search Guide and follow the link at the end of the guide to the official USPS jobs site to find job vacancies in your area.

Good luck in your job hunting endeavors.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.