Noncompetitive Eligibility (NCE) and You
By Erica Burman on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Noncompetitive eligibility (NCE) is a fantastic hiring status given to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) upon their completion of service (COS). It allows (but does not require) federal agencies to hire RPCVs with NCE who meet the minimum qualifications of a job quickly and easily (i.e., without posting announcements and screening/interviewing candidate via the traditional, competitive process). While NCE is granted to RPCVs for one year after COS, it can be extended for up to three years for academic study, military service, or (and this is the part many RPCVs and employers underestimate), if RPCVs are engaged in any activities which, “in the view of the appointing authority, warrant an extension of such period.”
“Most of the calls we field daily are from RPCVs who mistakenly think the Peace Corps can extend NCE (it’s up to the hiring agency to do this) or from federal employers who ask – ‘Can it really be this easy?’ said Eileen Conoboy, Director of the Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services at the Peace Corps. “That’s why we created a one-stop-shop last year to demystify NCE and help both RPCVs and employers better understand how they can leverage this hiring mechanism for their mutual benefit.” The www.peacecorps.gov/nce site has FAQs and other resources for RPCVs as well as an “Everything You Need to Know about Noncompetitive Eligibility” guide for federal agencies to reassure employers that, yes, it really is that easy!
RPCV Maggie Rudick (The Gambia, 2008-2010) is just one of many RPCVs who have leveraged NCE to land a federal job. She secured her position as an Environmental Protection Specialist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through her attendance at the February 2011 National RPCV Career Fair in Washington, D.C. Her current boss was at the fair, specifically collecting résumés from RPCVs with NCE status because they were looking to hire quickly. “Having NCE status made it easier for me to set up informational interviews and network among other RPCVs throughout different agencies,” said Maggie.
The Peace Corps’ Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services and NPCA are working together to help promote a better understanding of NCE among RPCVs and employers, and to increase career opportunities for RPCVs. Recently NPCA, along with the Peace Corps employees union, sent a letter to Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams asking the agency to explore ways to strengthen the benefit for Returned Volunteers. You can read his reply here.
Note: Returned Volunteer Services (RVS) is offering a free NCE webinar for PCVs and RPCVs on Thursday, May 24th at 1 p.m. EST. To register visit, www.peacecorps.gov/rpcv/events.
The talent and experience possessed by each NCE hire is exceptional.More importantly, each RPCV … brings a uniquely global perspective and commitment to the agency’s mission of eradicating employment discrimination. Our relationship with the Peace Corps has been remarkable, and our successful recruiting efforts have set a benchmark for EEOC offices nationwide. Without exception, partnering with the Peace Corps … continues to be a win-win situation.”
- Debra Wilson-Sumbry, District Resources Manager, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Want to hire an RPCV? Employers can also post openings on NPCA’s Next Step Job Finder site. Federal openings can be posted at no cost.
[Thank you to Erica Herrmann (Cambodia 07-09), Peace Corps Office of Third Goal and Returned Volunteer Services, for her assistance with this article.]