Recruiting National Service Volunteers for Federal Workforce
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In response to the July 2013 Presidential Memorandum entitled “Expanding National Service Through Partnerships to Advance Government Priorities,” the Office of Personal Management (OPM) recently released guidelines agencies can use to recruit National Service volunteers into the federal workforce pipeline.

 Directed at heads of executive departments and agencies, the memo explains how such volunteers are a source of talent that can enhance an agency’s workforce capacity to achieve its mission and should be included as part of their overall recruitment strategy. 

“Participants in our national service programs have transferable skills, work experience in areas aligned with agency missions (such as, emergency and disaster services, education, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, healthy futures), and a commitment to continue serving the public through the career civilian service,” says OPM Director Katherine Archuleta. 

Recruiting strategies 


Federal workforce leaders are advised to the use the following recruiting strategies to build and leverage the national service talent pipeline.

  • Establish and develop a relationship with the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) and the Peace Corps to better understand the value of national service experience.  
  • Work with CNCS to build lists of stakeholders in the national service field to conduct outreach relating to open positions. 
  • Use the “Spotlight” feature on to attract national service participants in applying for opportunities at your agency as part of your overall recruiting efforts. 
  • Publicize job postings throughout the national service field by working with nonprofit organizations that serve as host organizations for national service members.
  • Expand social media outreach to include national service stakeholders and participants to reach broader, targeted audiences and to raise awareness of agency mission and career opportunities.
  • Seek out collaborative recruiting relationships with colleges and universities, technical and trade schools, professional associations, and student organizations to improve outreach to students and recent graduates through the Pathways Programs. 

In the memo, Archuleta also encourages agencies to use existing hiring authorities to appoint national service participants to federal jobs, including non-competitive eligibility for returning Peace Corps and Volunteers In Service To America participants. Agencies should also Partner with OPM to educate national service participants on how to find and apply for federal jobs. Agencies may post OPM-developed outreach materials and videos on your website (see and  

To enhance understanding of how national service participants can add value to your workforce, OPM will be hosting a symposium in December to introduce you to all the various national service programs and the types of experience gained through those programs. 

For more information, read the complete OPM Memorandum

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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