JOINT BASE CHARLESTON

New DLA hiring policy targets qualified applicants, expedites hiring process

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Story by JOHN DWYER on 06/12/2019
Jose Pereira was forecasting employee turnover in his section and needed a way to reduce turnover time within his specialized team. So when he heard the Defense Logistics Agency adopted a new policy that provides expedited direct-hire authority for certain positions listed in the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, he reached out to human resources with a proposal.

Together, the DLA Troop Support Industrial Hardware Division Chief and the HR team coordinated Troop Support's first job opportunity announcement using the Department of Defense's Expedited Hiring Authority at a Hiring Our Heroes event at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst May 30 in New Jersey.

Under this authority, qualified candidates who apply and successfully complete the required online assessments for specialized positions such as production quality and manufacturing, contracting and life cycle logistics, may be directly appointed, effectively reducing the amount of time it takes to get qualified employees on board.

Pereira knew just the audience to market this first EHA opportunity to.

"Three-quarters of my [PQM] workforce is made up of military wrench-turning journeymen that are familiar with our weapons systems, commodities and acronyms," Pereira said. "So bringing a tool like EHA to a veteran-hiring event where I can assess candidates on-the-spot it means I can fill positions and get qualified, knowledgeable folks supporting the Warfighter faster, and with minimal impact to the mission."

Once applicants have been vetted by the HR team using the appropriate Office of Personnel Management requirements the HR team using the appropriate Office of Personnel Management requirements has vetted applicants, Pereira will be able to expedite the selection and on-boarding of the new employees based on his interactions at the event.

It may only apply to select career fields, but for an agency rife with positions that qualify under the DAWIA guidance, it provides a useful tool for hiring managers according to Katherine McMahon, DLA Troop Support Human Resources customer account manager.

"EHA is a very specific authority," McMahon said, "but with great potential for DLA and Troop Support."

Annie Firth, one of Troop Support's lead human resource specialists, joined Pereira at the event where they spoke to more than 50 potential applicants. Firth also understood why an event like Hiring Our Heroes would be prime territory to advertise Troop Support's first hiring opportunity using EHA.

"DLA is an employer of choice for prior service members," Firth said. "Military members bring unique skills that are specifically applicable to the jobs we have here."

The Troop Support HR team is already processing more than 100 applications for the opportunity to work for Pereira, and McMahon is confident that Troop Support is on a good path toward effectively using EHA to bring qualified candidates on board faster.

"With greater flexibility to hire qualified candidates for acquisition positions and consideration for veterans," McMahon said, "I think it's going to be a good thing for Troop Support," McMahon said.

Editor's Note: The EHA was enacted into law in the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. After the initial expiration date of the authority was extended indefinitely, DLA adopted it into policy April 2019. Interested applicants for federal positions can find Job Opportunity Announcements on the USA Jobs website at https://www.usajobs.gov/.

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