[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 92 (Friday, May 11, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 28193-28223]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11068]



[[Page 28193]]

Vol. 77

Friday,

No. 92

May 11, 2012

Part III





Office of Personnel Management





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5 CFR Parts 213, 302, 315 et al.





 Excepted Service, Career and Career-Conditional Employment; and 
Pathways Programs; Final Rules

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 92 / Friday, May 11, 2012 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 28194]]


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OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Parts 213, 302, 315, 330, 334, 362, 531, 536, 537, 550, 575, 
and 890

RIN 3206-AM34


Excepted Service, Career and Career-Conditional Employment; and 
Pathways Programs

AGENCY: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing final 
regulations implementing the Pathways Programs established by E.O. 
13562, signed December 27, 2010. As directed by the President, the 
Pathways Programs provide clear paths to Federal internships and 
potential careers in Government for students and recent graduates. The 
Pathways Programs consist of the Internship Program, the Recent 
Graduates Program and the Presidential Management Fellows Program. 
Positions in the Pathways Programs are excepted from the competitive 
service. Participants in these Programs are appointed under the newly 
created Schedule D of the excepted service.

DATES: This final rule is effective July 10, 2012. Agencies, however, 
shall have a 6-month transition period following the effective date of 
the final rule to convert to the Internship Program any students 
serving under appointments made pursuant to the Student Educational 
Employment Program and to transition to the new Presidential Management 
Fellows Program any Fellows currently serving under appointments made 
pursuant to the existing Presidential Management Fellows Program. In 
addition, during the transition period, agencies are permitted to make 
appointments under the Internship and Presidential Management Fellows 
Programs even if they have not entered into a final Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU) with OPM, as required by 5 CFR 362.104. This 
transition period does not apply to the Recent Graduates Program, and 
appointments under the Recent Graduate Program may not be made until an 
MOU is in place.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gale Perryman, 202-606-1143, Fax: 202-
606-4430 by TTY: 202-418-2532, or email: gale.perryman@opm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In Executive Order 13562, dated December 27, 
2010, President Obama established the Pathways Programs, consisting of 
three streamlined developmental programs: the Internship Program for 
students; the Recent Graduates Program for people who have completed a 
qualifying educational program within the preceding 2 years; and the 
Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program for people who obtained a 
graduate or professional degree within the preceding 2 years. To 
implement this Executive Order, OPM issued proposed regulations for 
parts 213, 302, 315, 330, 334, 362, 531, 536, 537, 550, 575, and 890 of 
title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR) on August 5, 2011.
    As explained in the proposed regulations, the President is 
authorized by statute to provide for ``necessary exceptions of 
positions from the competitive service'' whenever warranted by 
``conditions of good administration.'' (5 U.S.C. 3302). In Executive 
Order 13562, the President found that ``conditions of good 
administration (specifically, the need to promote employment 
opportunities for students and recent graduates in the Federal 
workforce) make necessary an exception to the competitive hiring rules 
for certain positions in the Federal civil service,'' i.e., those to be 
filled through the Pathways Programs. (Exec. Order No. 13562, 75 FR 
82585 (Dec. 27. 2010)).
    OPM's regulations implement the President's order by establishing 
the framework for each of the three discrete excepted service 
internship programs for students and recent graduates:
     The Internship Program is for current students. It 
consolidates two existing internship programs into a single program 
designed to provide high school, vocational and technical, 
undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, opportunities to be 
exposed to the work of Government through Federal internships. It is 
largely modeled after the existing Student Career Experience Program 
(SCEP).
     The Recent Graduates Program is a new program that will 
provide developmental opportunities in Federal jobs for individuals who 
have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or 
programs.
     The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program has been 
the Federal Government's premier leadership development program for 
graduate and professional degree candidates for over three decades. 
Executive Order 13562 preserves the PMF Program while making it more 
flexible by, for example, expanding the eligibility window for 
applicants to include those who have received a qualifying graduate 
degree within the preceding 2 years.
    The appointing authorities for each Pathways Program are contained 
in Schedule D of the excepted service, a new schedule created by 
section 7 of Executive Order 13562. The President created this new 
schedule pursuant to his statutory authority to make necessary 
exceptions to the competitive hiring rules when warranted by conditions 
of good administration. His findings to support the exception are set 
forth in section 1 of the Executive Order. Under the new Schedule D 
authority, agencies will be able, under OPM's guidance, direction, and 
oversight, to use excepted service hiring to fill positions from among 
a particular class of eligible individuals--students and recent 
graduates. This approach is consistent with long-standing civil service 
practice under excepted service hiring authorities, including, for 
example, Schedule A hiring for people with disabilities.
    Part 362 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains the 
regulatory requirements for each Pathways Program. Part 362 consists of 
four subparts. Subpart A contains only those requirements common to all 
Pathways Programs. Program-specific requirements are set forth in 
subpart B for the Internship Program, subpart C for the Recent 
Graduates Program, and subpart D for the PMF Program.

Summary of Comments

    OPM received 238 written submissions with comments on the proposed 
Pathways Programs. A member of Congress, 24 Federal agencies, 8 labor 
unions representing Federal employees, 74 individual Federal employees, 
20 colleges and universities, 11 professional organizations and student 
unions, 56 current students and recent graduates and 44 other members 
of the public submitted comments.
    OPM did not address comments that are outside the scope of the 
regulations. One agency wanted to know how current hiring and pay 
freezes would affect hiring under the Pathways Programs. Some students 
and recent graduates submitted resumes for employment consideration 
under the Pathways Programs. Some submissions detailed personal job 
search experiences. A few were addressed to agency specific programs 
not related to Pathways. We did not respond to these submissions in 
this final regulation.
    The majority of the comments expressed support for the creation of 
the Pathways Programs. Multiple commenters emphasized that the Programs 
are necessary for recruiting and hiring students and recent

[[Page 28195]]

graduates and will be beneficial to the Federal Government. Multiple 
commenters also characterized the Programs as appropriately limited and 
emphasized the importance of the oversight tools available to OPM under 
the proposed regulations. Only two of the commenters--both Federal 
employee unions--questioned the necessity for the Programs, 
particularly the Recent Graduates Program. A third union also indicated 
that it had concerns with the Programs. Even these union commenters, 
however, supported some aspects of the programs.
    Several commenters made arguments either for or against the 
programs in a more general manner, in addition to lodging specific 
comments on particular regulatory provisions. These are addressed 
below, at the outset of the discussion. The comments that addressed 
specific regulatory provisions are addressed in the discussion of the 
applicable regulatory sections.
    As explained in the proposed regulations, each of the Pathways 
Programs is intended to be limited in scope, transparent, and fair to 
veterans. They also require an investment from agencies in the 
training, mentoring, and career development of the individuals who are 
brought into these Programs. OPM will play a critical oversight role to 
ensure that agencies comply with the President's direction to use these 
Programs as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, the 
competitive hiring process. It is with these five core principles in 
mind (limited scope, transparency, fairness to veterans, agency 
investment, and OPM oversight) that we reviewed the public comments on 
the proposed regulations.

Responses to Overarching Comments

1. Necessity

    Two unions commented that the Pathways Programs are not necessary 
for the Federal Government to be able to compete with the private 
sector for high-quality entry-level candidates. Another union called 
the Pathways regulations a step in the right direction, but raised some 
concerns about particular provisions.
    We disagree with the unions' comments that these programs are 
unnecessary. In Executive order 13562, the President, exercising his 
statutory authority, determined that the Pathways Programs are 
necessary for the Federal government to compete for students and recent 
graduates. The President summarized his findings of necessity in 
section 1 of the order:

    The Federal Government benefits from a diverse workforce that 
includes students and recent graduates, who infuse the workplace 
with their enthusiasm, talents, and unique perspectives. The 
existing competitive hiring process for the Federal civil service, 
however, is structured in a manner that, even at the entry level, 
favors job applicants who have significant previous work experience. 
This structure, along with the complexity of the rules governing 
admission to the career civil service, creates a barrier to 
recruiting and hiring students and recent graduates. It places the 
Federal Government at a competitive disadvantage compared to 
private-sector employers when it comes to hiring qualified 
applicants for entry-level positions. To compete effectively for 
students and recent graduates, the Federal Government must improve 
its recruiting efforts; offer clear paths to Federal internships for 
students from high school through post-graduate school; offer clear 
paths to civil service careers for recent graduates; and provide 
meaningful training, mentoring, and career-development 
opportunities. Further, exposing students and recent graduates to 
Federal jobs through internships and similar programs attracts them 
to careers in the Federal Government and enables agency employers to 
evaluate them on the job to determine whether they are likely to 
have successful careers in Government.

    In support of its position that the programs are not necessary, one 
union relies on the current economic environment, specifically the 
unemployment rate. Essentially, it argues that there is a greater 
supply of potential workers now than there was in the years when the 
data was gathered for some of the reports cited by OPM in its notice of 
proposed rulemaking, when unemployment rates were lower. The union then 
draws the conclusion that the Federal Government is necessarily more 
competitive with the private sector now, because there are more 
qualified applicants who need work.
    We disagree. First of all, it is short-sighted to focus on the 
unemployment rate for any particular time period in determining the 
necessity for the Programs. These Programs are intended to be enduring 
and as the economy improves, competition for skilled workers with other 
sectors will increase.
    Further, even in a tight job market, there exists stiff competition 
among employers for students and recent graduates who display great 
potential. Citing Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis, one commenter 
noted that the number of jobs requiring a master's degree will increase 
by 18 percent from 2008-2018, and the number requiring a doctoral 
degree will increase by 17 percent during the same period. Three 
academic commenters and one good government group supported the 
President's finding that the Pathways Programs are essential to 
recruiting and hiring students and recent graduates; they warned that 
the Federal Government would largely miss out on this key segment of 
the workforce without the Pathways Programs. OPM agrees that the 
Federal Government must be able to compete for and hire students and 
recent graduates, who may lack relevant work experience but who possess 
significant untapped potential. The Pathways Programs are designed to 
serve this important purpose.
    The unions' comments also fail to take into consideration other 
important and independent justifications for establishing the Pathways 
Programs. For example, in a report published on February 6, 2012, the 
Partnership for Public Service, citing data compiled by the National 
Association of Colleges and Employers, found that only 2.3 percent of 
some 35,401 students surveyed were interested in a career with the 
Federal Government. See http://ourpublicservice.org/OPS/publications/viewcontentdetails.php?id=170. The Pathways Programs will help promote 
enthusiasm for a Federal career among this demographic. By providing 
positive experiences to students and recent graduates, we help debunk 
negative stereotypes that they and their contemporaries may harbor 
about working for the Federal Government. We also leave them with a 
favorable impression of Government work, so that they would be more 
likely to consider a return to Government service at a later point in 
their careers. Several academic commenters emphasized the important 
role played by this aspect of the Programs, citing experience with past 
internship and fellowship programs to support their conclusions.
    One union commented that the fact that a permanent job is not 
automatically available to all who are appointed to the Recent 
Graduates Program undermines the Federal Government's ability to 
attract high-potential candidates through the Program. It contends that 
an individual with a job offer from the private sector would surely 
accept that over a Recent Graduate appointment without the promise of 
conversion. We disagree. High-potential applicants who are interested 
in a career in public service will be interested in Recent Graduate 
appointments because the Program will provide a meaningful training and 
developmental experience, as well as the potential for a permanent job. 
Based on our experience with the civil service, training and career 
development are among the attributes most often cited by recent 
graduates as desirable in employment opportunities.

[[Page 28196]]

    This commenter also contends that the best indicator of success on 
the job is experience, and that it would be ``perplexing'' for the 
Federal Government to ``seek out'' and ``prefer'' inexperienced 
applicants over those with experience. These Programs are not motivated 
by any desire to prefer one type of worker over another. As discussed, 
agencies should use the Pathways Programs as part of an overall 
workforce planning strategy to ensure that their workforce is diverse 
and drawn from all segments of society.
    Another union suggested that the introduction of ``category 
rating'' into the competitive service selection process, combined with 
other improvements to the competitive hiring process, may have 
eliminated barriers to entry for inexperienced workers. The union 
contends that this change has not been in place long enough to evaluate 
its impact on students and recent graduates. The union is correct that 
category rating allows a hiring official to select from a larger list 
of best qualified candidates than the so-called ``rule of 3.'' But 
category rating does not address the advantage held by experienced 
workers in the competitive examining process. In order to be 
considered, an individual must make the top quality category that the 
agency established by performing well in the competitive examining 
process. Students and recent graduates have not fared well in the 
examining process because of their lack of work experience. Though we 
think the move to category rating is a good one for competitive 
examining overall, we disagree that it addresses the specific needs 
that the Pathways Programs are narrowly drawn to address.
    This union also suggested that a better solution to the problem 
with recruiting and hiring students and recent graduates is to reform 
the competitive hiring process itself. This initiative is not 
inconsistent with improving the competitive hiring process. Rather, it 
is an efficient, targeted approach to address specific, identified 
problems with the current approach to entry-level hiring in the Federal 
Government.
    A union commented that any program that focuses on students and 
recent graduates is demoralizing to temporary employees working at the 
Forest Service and other land management agencies. The Pathways 
Programs are not intended to demoralize any other segment of the 
Federal workforce. Rather, they are intended to provide for a limited 
exception to the competitive hiring rules to address a specific concern 
about the Federal Government's ability to interest students and recent 
graduates in Federal careers and to successfully recruit, hire, and 
retain them.

2. Schedule D

    Multiple comments addressed the new Schedule D, which was created 
by section 7 of Executive Order 13562 and is the appointing authority 
for each of the Pathways Programs.
    One union criticized the new Schedule D hiring authority as overly 
broad. The President created Schedule D pursuant to his statutory 
authority to make necessary exceptions to the regular competitive 
hiring rules when warranted by conditions of good administration. It is 
based upon his determination that the need to promote employment 
opportunities for students and recent graduates in the Federal 
workforce makes necessary an exception to the competitive rules. OPM's 
regulations simply implement the President's mandate.
    The union also disputes that students and recent graduates 
constitute a ``class'' or a ``class of persons'' eligible for 
appointment pursuant to Schedule D. Schedule D was created by the 
Executive order, which provides that Schedule D shall include 
``[p]ositions other than those of a confidential or policy determining 
character for which the competitive service requirements make 
impracticable the adequate recruitment of sufficient numbers of 
students attending qualifying educational institutions or individuals 
who have recently completed qualifying educational programs.'' Section 
2 of the Executive order directs OPM to issue regulations, including 
``a description of the positions that executive departments and 
agencies may fill through the Pathways Programs.'' The regulations 
provide for agencies to submit to OPM the positions they seek to fill 
through the Pathways Programs, and OPM can approve or disapprove of the 
use of the Programs for those positions through the MOU process. 
Because the President established Schedule D and the class of 
individuals covered by it through the Executive order, any comments 
challenging that determination are beyond the scope of these 
implementing regulations.
    One union commented that Pathways Participants may have available 
to them training and mentoring opportunities that are not available to 
other agency employees. The union is correct that agencies may 
implement the Programs in this manner, but it is in keeping with the 
nature of the Program to provide Pathways Participants with training 
and mentoring opportunities. These types of programs are designed to 
leverage the cognitive abilities of students and recent graduates 
through training, mentorship, and development. The current version of 
the Presidential Management Fellows Program and the Veterans' 
Recruitment Appointment authority are examples where program 
participants receive training and development opportunities that may 
differ from those offered to individuals hired through the competitive 
process or through any other hiring authorities.

3. Position Identification

    The proposed regulations contain provisions governing how to 
identify positions that may be filled through the Pathways Programs. 
One union commented that the regulations improperly delegate to 
agencies and their components the authority to exempt positions from 
the competitive service. We disagree. Agencies are required to report 
to OPM on the types of positions they seek to fill through the Pathways 
Programs; they are required to have an Memorandum of Understanding 
(MOU) in place with OPM in order to use the Pathways Programs; and OPM 
will decide whether or not to approve the types of positions agencies 
are filling through the Programs through the MOU renewal process.

4. Definitions

    The proposed regulations contained a number of definitions. Some 
commenters requested clarifications to some of the definitions. As 
discussed below, we have modified some language in the definitions to 
address these concerns.
    Some comments suggested that the definition of ``qualifying 
educational institution'' should not include a homeschool curriculum. 
We think it should. States generally recognize homeschooling as an 
adequate educational alternative, and we believe it is appropriate to 
defer to the states on this issue. Moreover, the requirements and 
standards for homeschooling vary widely from state to state or even 
within a particular state. OPM, therefore, declines to adopt one 
commenter's suggestion that there should be a specific Government-wide 
definition of homeschooling for purposes of these regulations. Rather, 
agencies will be responsible for determining the eligibility of a 
homeschooled student applicant.
    One union commented that, with respect to the Recent Graduates 
Program, the definition of ``qualifying educational institution'' does 
not indicate whether high school degrees would qualify an individual 
for a Recent Graduate appointment. While the proposed regulation did 
not include

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high school in the definition of ``qualifying educational 
institution,'' they were not specifically excluded, as is our 
intention. As a result, we have clarified the definition to exclude 
high school degrees.
    An academic commenter raised a different issue with respect to this 
definition as it pertained to certificate programs. It suggested that 
the proposed definition is too broad and subject to abuse. We agree. We 
have adopted the academic commenter's proposed definition, with 
modification, and defined ``certificate programs'' to mean ``post-
secondary education, in a qualifying educational institution, 
equivalent to at least one academic year of full-time study that is 
part of an accredited college-level, technical, trade, vocational, or 
business school curriculum.''
    With respect to the PMF Program, a union suggested further 
clarification of the term ``advanced degree'' to make clear that the 
Program is open only to those with master's or doctoral degrees or 
other professional degrees. An academic commenter made the further 
point that ``advanced degree'' is no longer in use in the educational 
community. The commenter suggested using the term ``professional or 
graduate degree'' instead. We agree with both comments. Subpart A now 
defines ``advanced degree'' as ``a professional or graduate degree.''

5. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

    The proposed regulations require agencies to execute an MOU (the 
``Pathways MOU'') with OPM as a prerequisite to using the Pathways 
Programs. This requirement generated several comments.
    A Senator commented that it is vital that sufficient OPM oversight 
be built into the regulations to ensure that the new Pathways Programs 
do not become a substitute for competitive hiring. Union commenters and 
multiple academic commenters also generally supported rigorous 
oversight of the Pathways Programs. One academic organization 
characterized the regulations as creating a ``rigorous and accountable 
framework.'' One union commended the MOU requirement as a ``positive 
idea'' that will give OPM ``a foothold on enforcing the Pathways 
regulations' requirements against employing agencies.''
    We agree that rigorous oversight by OPM is important. Such 
oversight is built into the regulations by a number of requirements, 
including, for example: (1) The requirement that agencies report to OPM 
annually on their intended use of the Pathways Programs; (2) the 
requirement that agencies enter an MOU with OPM in order to use the 
Pathways Programs; (3) the requirement that agencies assign a Pathways 
Programs Officer to serve as a point of contact with OPM's Student 
Programs Office; (4) the requirement that agencies provide OPM with 
information about opportunities in the Pathways Programs for posting on 
the Internet; and (5) the authority of the OPM Director to cap the 
number of conversions to the competitive service from the Programs 
(which we have modified, as discussed below, to include the power to 
cap the number of appointments into the Programs, as well).
    One union commented that an MOU is not an appropriate vehicle for 
oversight of agency use of the Pathways Programs. It suggested that the 
concepts to be addressed in the MOU instead be addressed specifically 
in the regulations. We disagree. The MOU will be an effective oversight 
tool and provides a sufficient degree of accountability. We have had 
success with this type of tool in an analogous context. That is, we 
routinely execute delegated examining agreements that authorize 
agencies to perform their own competitive examining and competitive 
service hiring and have found that to be a useful vehicle for 
implementation of other recent hiring reform efforts.
    The union appears to be specifically concerned that agencies are to 
include in their MOUs the criteria for conversion. To the extent this 
comment is suggesting that this criteria should be in the regulations 
(see comment above), we agree with respect to the minimum requirements 
and note that they are set forth in the regulations for each Pathways 
Program--Internship, Recent Graduates, and PMF, respectively. We are 
also asking agencies to provide information in their MOUs on how they 
will apply these criteria.
    One union commented that the regulations do not provide for any 
enforcement mechanism to hold an agency accountable for adhering to the 
terms of its MOU with OPM. It contended that the regulations offer no 
way for a union or other interested party to complain about an alleged 
violation of an MOU. We disagree. Any such complaints could be lodged 
with OPM's Student Programs Office. In addition, we note that 
complaints can be raised directly with agencies through their Pathways 
Programs Officer, a position each agency was required to create by 
Executive Order 13562. Moreover, OPM's office of Merit System 
Accountability and Compliance (MSAC) will incorporate oversight of the 
Pathways Programs into its own evaluations of agency human resources 
programs and also into agency-led evaluations conducted under an 
agency's human capital accountability system. Also, nothing in the 
Pathways Programs implementation alters an employee's ability to seek 
any other relief that would otherwise be available.
    Another union commented that the regulations should specify that 
OPM has the authority to terminate the MOU and rescind an agency's 
authority to use the Pathways Programs if OPM learns of agency abuse. 
We agree and that was always our intention. We have modified our 
regulations to make clear that OPM possess the power to revoke an 
agency's MOU when OPM finds the agency's practices are inconsistent 
with the Executive order, regulation, or the MOU.
    Multiple agencies also commented on the requirements of the MOU. 
They posed questions about such matters as: how long they would have to 
prepare the MOU, whether OPM would provide a template for the MOU, and 
whether the MOU would apply at the agency level or the component level. 
One agency thought each Pathways Program should require a separate MOU. 
Other agency commenters expressed concern regarding the administrative 
burden of the MOU requirement.
    The regulations do not require agencies to establish an MOU within 
any particular timeframe. During the transition period, agencies are 
permitted to make appointments under the Internship and Presidential 
Management Fellows Programs even if they have not entered into a final 
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with OPM, as required. This 
transition period does not apply to the Recent Graduates Program, and 
appointments under the Recent Graduate Program may not be made until an 
MOU is in place.
    Several agencies thought the level of detail required in the MOU 
and the requirement to re-execute the MOU every 2 years were excessive, 
and they recommended requiring renewal of an MOU only every 5 years. 
Another agency recommended re-executing the MOU only if the agency 
decides to make significant changes. We did not adopt the suggestion 
concerning re-executing the MOU. While we recognize that re-executing 
the MOU may occasion some administrative burden, that burden is 
necessary, especially in light of the benefits that having an MOU in 
place will provide. The MOU will help OPM oversee agencies' use of 
these Programs, which are to serve as limited exceptions to the regular 
competitive hiring rules. On the other hand, we understand the

[[Page 28198]]

concerns about the level of detail required in the MOU. As a result, we 
have streamlined the MOU requirements by removing provisions that are 
not essential to our initial oversight of the Programs. If we find we 
need additional information concerning an agency's implementation of 
the Pathways Programs in order to conduct full and complete oversight, 
we will request the information at that time.
    One agency suggested that its policies and procedures may change as 
the Pathways Programs evolve and become more familiar to agencies. The 
agency did not think such changes should necessitate updates and re-
execution of the MOU. We disagree. If OPM is to conduct rigorous 
oversight of these Programs, as is our intention, then it is important 
for regular re-assessment of each agency's use of them. Indeed, the 
commenter's suggestion that it be permitted to adopt significant 
changes to agency policies or procedures for a Pathways Program without 
modifying its MOU is antithetical to this intention. By requiring re-
execution of the MOU on a bi-annual basis, we can better assist 
agencies in complying with the Executive order, these regulations, and 
the law.
    One agency expressed concern that unions will make claims of 
excessive or inappropriate use under Pathways and wanted to know if OPM 
had additional recommendations agencies could include in their MOU to 
help eliminate misconceptions about Pathways. The Programs are designed 
to be a supplement to the competitive hiring procedures, and not a 
substitute for them. The Programs are limited in nature and subject to 
robust OPM oversight. As stated earlier, OPM is working on sample 
template MOUs, and agencies may work with OPM to include additional 
items in the MOU that are particular to their circumstances. OPM is 
also considering additional guidance to agencies to help them use the 
Programs appropriately, as part of an overall workforce planning 
strategy.
    Another agency expressed concern that the requirement that an MOU 
be in place before agencies can use the Pathways Programs will impede 
agencies' abilities to hire students for jobs that will be available 
soon after the final regulations take effect. This agency requested a 
transition period that would allow agencies to fill positions under the 
Pathways Programs during the implementation period needed to complete 
the MOU. As noted above, we have adopted the agency's suggestion. 
First, we are going to provide for the final regulations to take effect 
60 days after their publication, rather than 30 days. Second, we have 
created a six-month transition period during which agencies will be 
able to hire Interns and PMFs even if they have not executed an MOU 
with OPM. Third, we are working now to have MOU templates in place so 
that agencies can satisfy the MOU requirement promptly upon the 
regulations being finalized.
    One agency commented that it does not know what the requirement in 
section 362.104(a)(1)(I)(B) to address in the MOU how it will ``assess 
candidates'' means, since the regulations require agencies to qualify 
candidates based on the OPM Qualification Standard. As required by part 
302, agency MOUs must identify what process an agency will use to 
assess candidates for employment in accordance with part 302 under a 
Pathways Program, e.g., whether applicants will be rated and ranked 
using a numerical system or whether the agency will use an unranked 
method using veterans' preference status.

6. Job Announcements

    The proposed regulations require agencies to provide information 
about Pathways Program opportunities to OPM, which will in turn provide 
such information to the public. One union commented that the 
regulations should further specify that agencies must post all job 
announcements for positions in the Pathways Programs on USAJOBS.gov. It 
contends that this is required by law.
    We disagree with the commenter's legal conclusion. As a matter of 
policy, however, we agree that individuals who are interested in 
applying for positions in the Pathways Programs should be able to 
obtain information about the opportunities that are available. This 
will benefit all members of the public who are interested in and 
eligible for these Programs, including veterans who may have been out 
of school for up to 6 years and therefore not have the same access to 
school career counselors. Thus, we are retaining the provisions in the 
regulations that require agencies to provide information to OPM about 
positions, locations, and where to find information to apply for 
Pathways jobs. OPM will make this information available to the public. 
Our intention is to do so through USAJOBS.gov, as the commenter 
suggested.
    Some agencies also submitted comments regarding the requirement to 
provide information about Pathways opportunities to OPM. A few confused 
the regulatory reporting requirements for accountability and oversight 
with the requirement to post Pathways opportunities to the public. The 
reporting requirements, which are found at Sec.  362.109, are separate 
from the requirement to provide information about Pathways Programs 
opportunities for OPM to post, found at Sec.  362.105. These separate 
regulatory requirements serve different purposes. The reporting 
requirement is intended to encourage agencies to conduct thoughtful 
workforce planning and to provide OPM with information about the 
expected use of the Pathways Programs during the forthcoming year--both 
in particular agencies and across Government--including the specific 
positions to be filled. The posting requirement is provided to promote 
transparency and make it easier for students and recent graduates to 
learn about Pathways Programs opportunities.
    Agencies expressed concern that the regulations will prohibit them 
from engaging in targeted recruitment of students through colleges and 
universities or specific networks such as NACElink or Experience.com. 
Similarly, one agency commented that it needed to retain the ability to 
hire local students and expressed concern over the cost to recruit 
under the new requirements. The regulations require agencies to provide 
basic information about Pathways Programs opportunities to OPM, which 
will then post that information through USAJOBS.gov. However, agencies 
retain the discretion to determine how they will recruit and accept 
applications as long as they comply with applicable law and the 
regulatory procedures of part 302. Nothing in the regulations precludes 
agencies from undertaking local recruiting efforts or using familiar 
recruiting networks, so long as they do so in compliance with law. 
Thus, agencies retain the flexibility to establish guidelines regarding 
minimum announcement periods, geographic areas of consideration, or 
additional recruitment sources. However, agencies must follow the 
appointment procedures in part 302.
    An agency expressed concern that the requirement to announce 
information about Pathways positions would result in an increase in the 
volume of applicants, which would in turn increase the length of time 
needed to fill a position and perhaps even make it more difficult to 
increase diversity in the workforce. In contrast, several comments from 
schools, unions, and private citizens supported the posting of this 
information. OPM acknowledges that posting information about Pathways 
opportunities has the potential to increase the number of applicants 
and possibly lengthen the amount of time to fill positions under 
Pathways. Nonetheless, we agree with the

[[Page 28199]]

commenters who view the requirement positively and note that Executive 
Order 13562 requires posting of information about Pathways 
opportunities. This allows for more transparency in Federal internship 
programs. Members of the public interested in internship opportunities 
with the Federal Government--whether they are students, recent 
graduates, or recently obtained a graduate or professional degree--will 
now be able to learn about these opportunities through a single portal, 
USAJOBS.gov. This is the portal to all Federal jobs in the competitive 
service, so it is a source that job seekers are accustomed to 
consulting. We also believe that agencies ultimately benefit from 
having larger numbers of qualified applicants. We disagree that being 
more transparent about internship opportunities will harm agency 
diversity efforts. Broader dissemination of Pathways opportunities will 
facilitate agency efforts to recruit from all segments of society.

7. Caps

    The proposed regulations reserve to the Director the authority to 
set a cap on conversions from the Pathways Programs into the 
competitive service, as authorized by Executive Order 13562. They do 
not establish a specific cap. One union suggested that OPM establish a 
cap from the outset, and that the number of Participants in the 
Pathways Programs be ``limited to a very small percentage of new 
hires'' in order for the Federal Government to benefit from the 
Programs. A second union also urged establishment of an initial cap. 
Some agencies, on the other hand, suggested there should be no cap. 
They argued that the size of the Programs should be limited only by 
Federal agency hiring needs and not be a centrally determined cap. 
Multiple academic and good government groups also commented that the 
Programs should not be capped.
    The Executive order grants to the OPM Director the discretion to 
limit the number of Program Participants' Government-wide. It would, of 
course, be necessary to apply any such limits to individual agencies in 
order to administer a Government-wide cap. The authority to establish a 
cap is an important oversight tool, along with the other oversight and 
accountability components of the Pathways framework.
    OPM has decided that it would be premature to impose a cap before 
we have experience with how agencies use the Programs. OPM expects 
agencies to use Pathways as a supplemental hiring authority that is 
part of an overall workforce planning strategy, and not as a substitute 
for competitive hiring. Indeed, as one commenter noted, the Pathways 
Programs are inherently limiting--only students and recent graduates 
are eligible--in ways that previous excepted service programs have not 
been. OPM reserves the right to implement a cap if we find that the 
robust oversight mechanisms we have put in place are insufficient. 
Accordingly, OPM will be monitoring agency use of the Programs through 
data collection, assess on an annual basis whether to impose any caps, 
and provide notice of any decision to impose a cap in a manner 
determined by the Director.
    One union commented that if OPM imposes a cap, it should be on the 
number of individuals hired into the Pathways Programs, as opposed to 
the number converted to the competitive service. The union is opposed 
to any cap on the number of Program Participants that are ultimately to 
be converted to competitive service jobs. The union is concerned that a 
cap on conversions will result in good employees being let go because 
of an arbitrary limitation on conversions.
    A cap on conversions would naturally limit the number of people 
hired into the Programs in the first place. It is not in agencies' 
interests to bring on and develop quality talent, only to let them go 
after 2 years. We would expect agencies to take into account any caps 
on conversions when determining how many Pathways Participants to hire 
in the first place.
    Nonetheless, we are mindful of the union's concern that matters 
outside an agency's control, including, for example, new statutory 
mandates or restrictions, can upend even the best laid strategic 
workforce plans. In addition, multiple agencies agreed with the union 
that any caps imposed on the Program should be placed on Pathways 
appointments and not conversions. The agencies reasoned that limiting 
appointments automatically limits conversions. Some agencies also 
commented that they do not want to train Pathways Participants and then 
not have the opportunity to convert them due to a Program cap. 
Accordingly, we are adopting the suggestion offered by the union and 
agency commenters to allow for a cap on the number of hires into the 
Pathways Programs. The Director's authority to cap the number of 
conversions of Pathways Participants and his overall authority to 
oversee and implement the Programs encompasses the inherent authority 
to limit the number of individuals hired into the Pathways Programs. 
Reserving this authority to the Director is in the best interests of 
administering the Programs. We have modified our regulations 
accordingly.
    A union commented that the regulations give OPM too much discretion 
in establishing any such caps. The union asked that additional 
substantive standards be added to the regulations, but did not offer 
any suggestions on the types of standards to include. Some agencies 
also questioned what criteria OPM would use in evaluating whether to 
establish any caps. We agree that it is important to identify the 
criteria we would consider. That is why section Sec.  362.108 of the 
regulations contains several substantive standards for the OPM Director 
to consider in establishing any caps. In response to the comments, we 
have identified an additional substantive consideration: An agency's 
use of the Programs to hire a majority of the individuals for any 
single entry-level position over a period of years would be evidence 
that the agency is not using the Programs as a supplement to 
competitive examining. We have modified the regulations to reflect this 
change.
    One agency suggested requiring OPM to assist agencies with the 
implementation of Pathways by providing training or by assigning OPM 
personnel as points-of-contact for each agency. The agency also 
suggested an interagency workgroup to provide agencies the support 
needed to implement Pathways. OPM recognizes the administrative 
requirements agencies must follow to implement the Pathways Programs 
and has been establishing appropriate support mechanisms. Currently 
each agency is assigned an OPM Human Capital Management Representative 
who provides agencies with policy assistance. In addition, there are 
OPM program managers assigned to each Pathways Program who can assist 
agencies with Pathways implementation. OPM has also established a 
Pathways Advisory Council consisting of agency representatives to 
assist OPM in implementation of the Pathways Programs. Such assistance 
will include providing templates for MOUs and Participant Agreements, 
and providing information about best practices to agencies.

8. Conversion to the Competitive Service

    The proposed regulations set forth the rules governing conversion 
of successful Pathways Participants to jobs in the competitive service. 
We received multiple comments regarding the rules on conversion.

[[Page 28200]]

    Two unions suggested that the opportunity for Interns and Recent 
Graduates to convert to competitive service positions upon completion 
of their Programs should be eliminated. The unions contend that Interns 
and Recent Graduates will obtain enough experience during their 
Internship and Recent Graduate Programs to be able to compete 
effectively for positions in the competitive service. The President has 
already made the determination to allow for conversion, and these 
regulations simply implement his order. Accordingly, any comments 
concerning whether to allow for conversion are outside the scope of 
these regulations.
    In any event, OPM believes the opportunity for conversion is 
essential to the success of these Programs. A major premise of the 
Pathways Programs is that a good way to evaluate these potential job 
candidates--i.e., students and recent graduates lacking prior work 
experience in their field--is through a ``tryout'' in the workplace. 
That is what the Pathways Programs are intended to provide--a tryout 
for inexperienced workers who have recently undertaken or completed 
educational programs. In addition, the Programs encourage agencies to 
develop their Pathways Participants for careers in Government. We are 
asking agencies to make an investment in these individuals through 
mentorship, training, and developmental activities. Agencies should be 
able to reap the benefits of that investment by retaining those who 
successfully complete their Programs. This is why we have emphasized 
that agencies must consider opportunities for conversion when deciding 
how many people to hire through the Programs; there should be a close 
correlation.
    We also disagree that the work experience obtained through the 
Internship Program or even through on-the-job experience in the Recent 
Graduates Program would be sufficient to place those individuals on a 
level playing field when seeking to obtain a job through the regular 
competitive hiring process. The research we cited in our notice of 
proposed rulemaking establishes that the workers with much more 
experience are being hired to fill entry-level jobs in Government. In 
any event, as the Executive order established, the Pathways Programs 
are intended to compete effectively for students and recent graduates 
and must also offer a clear path to civil service careers. For these 
reasons, we are not accepting the union's suggestion.
    The union also suggested that on-board employees would lose out on 
career advancement opportunities to Pathways Participants who are 
``fast-tracked'' into desirable positions. The union's concern is 
misplaced. As an initial matter, the Pathways Participants are not 
being ``fast-tracked'' into any Federal positions. Rather, they are 
being exposed to the Federal workplace through on-the-job experience 
that they otherwise would not be able to obtain. Indeed, rather than 
being ``fast-tracked,'' they are actually being required to complete a 
developmental program and demonstrate through the course of that 
Program that they are capable of working in an entry-level Federal job.
    In addition, though the Pathways Programs include excepted service 
appointment authorities, OPM qualification requirements will apply to 
the Recent Graduates and PMF Programs. For the Internship Program, 
agencies will have the discretion, as they do under the current student 
programs, to establish agency-specific qualification requirements or to 
use OPM qualification requirements. Many agencies use OPM qualification 
requirements for Interns. In short, either OPM or agency-specific 
qualifications requirements apply to the Pathways Programs, and an 
Intern, Recent Graduate, or PMF must meet the applicable qualifications 
requirements in order to be converted into that job, just as he or she 
would have to do if seeking the job through the competitive hiring 
process.
    With respect to the Recent Graduates Program, one union objected to 
the requirement that Recent Graduates complete 2 years of service 
before gaining eligibility to convert to the competitive service. The 
union argued that the 2-year period would result in inequitable 
treatment between people hired through the Recent Graduates Program and 
those hired through the competitive process into the same job. The 
difference primarily concerns at what point the individual would be 
deemed an ``employee'' for purposes of appeal rights under 5 U.S.C. 
chapter 75. We agree with the union and are modifying our regulations 
to provide for conversion of Recent Graduates after completion of 1 
year in the Program, subject to an exception where there are position-
specific training requirements that the individual must complete in 
order to gain entry into the position or maintain the position.
    Because the Executive order provides for conversion to the 
competitive service, we are not bound by the practice that non-
preference eligibles hired into the excepted service only become 
``employees'' for chapter 75 purposes after completing 2 years of 
service. Instead, the Executive order gives OPM the authority to 
implement the Pathways Programs, including the conversion rule, and we 
are choosing to provide for conversion after 1 year, at which point the 
individual would become an ``employee'' for purposes of chapter 75.
    We are persuaded that a full 2-year period of evaluation is not 
necessary. Because the Recent Graduates Program contains training, 
mentoring, and career development requirements, we would expect and 
encourage agencies to be closely monitoring Participant performance to 
ensure the match with the agency is a good one throughout the entire 
duration of the Program. It is better for all parties involved if the 
agency makes a conversion decision within the first year. Subject to 
the exception discussed below, a year is sufficient time for an agency 
to evaluate a Participant's potential, and the agency should assign 
work to the Participant within that year that allows him or her to 
demonstrate the ability to perform the job. By allowing for conversion 
to occur after 1 year in the Program, we provide for more equal 
treatment among people hired into the same job, regardless of whether 
they obtained the job through the Recent Graduates Program or the 
competitive hiring process.
    As mentioned, however, we recognize that agencies may have 
position-specific training programs that new hires must complete before 
they can actually begin to perform the duties of the job. In those 
instances, we would permit agencies to develop a recent graduate 
program that lasts longer than 1 year, up to a maximum of 2 years. 
Agencies wishing to use this flexibility must include a provision in 
their Pathways MOU that describes the training program, including its 
length. Standard training given to every Federal Government employee, 
or to every employee of the agency, will not trigger this exception to 
the 1-year conversion period. Rather, the training must be position-
specific and serve as a prerequisite to entry to the job, or continued 
performance in the job. We think this approach aligns the agency's 
interest in having a sufficient period of time to evaluate a candidate 
for conversion with the candidate's interest in obtaining training and 
career development opportunities.
    A union commented that the regulations do not include appropriate 
standards for assuring that excessive numbers of employees are not 
hired into the Pathways Programs without being converted to the 
competitive service at the end of their appointment. It suggested that 
the regulations should require each agency to identify its plan for 
converting Pathways Programs

[[Page 28201]]

Participants to competitive service positions, and the number of each 
appointment to be used (term and permanent). We agree with the union's 
suggestion that agencies should conduct sound workforce planning to 
maximize the benefit of the Pathways Programs, but we think the 
specific suggestion offered by the union would be overly prescriptive. 
Agencies have differing staffing needs and will use the Pathways 
Programs in different ways. For example, some agencies may have very 
robust internship programs, where the aim is to provide interns with a 
good career development opportunity even though opportunities to 
convert to permanent positions may be limited. The proposed regulations 
strike an appropriate balance between agency flexibility and the need 
to provide adequate conversion opportunities for employees.
    Another union commented that Program Participants should receive 
``due process'' before an agency decision not to convert them based on 
unsatisfactory performance. The decision to convert or not convert 
could be based on a host of reasons, including performance, budget, 
agency priorities, etc. If by due process the union is suggesting that 
Program Participants receive adverse action rights under chapter 75, 
the law does not provide for such rights during the initial 2 years of 
the excepted service appointment (except for preference eligibles who 
have completed one year of service).
    The union also objected to a provision in Sec.  362.106(c), which 
allows Pathways Participants to convert non-competitively to a position 
in the competitive service at another agency. The union argues that 
this provision is inconsistent with the concept of the Pathways MOU 
because there is no relationship between the receiving agency and OPM 
or the appointee. This provision was intended to allow for Pathways 
Participants who successfully complete their Programs, but for whom the 
employing agency lacks budgetary resources or who is interested in a 
different career path, to convert to a position at another agency so 
that the Federal Government continues to benefit from the employing 
agency's investment in the individual. While we continue to believe 
that this is a valid policy consideration, the union's comment has led 
us to re-consider the issue in the context of each specific Program.
    With respect to the Internship Program, we are persuaded that the 
rule that currently applies under SCEP allowing students to convert to 
positions at other agencies should be retained. Because of uncertainty 
about the length of time it will take a student to complete his or her 
degree, certificate, etc., it is more difficult for agencies to conduct 
workforce planning that accounts for Intern conversion. These 
individuals are more at risk of losing conversion opportunities due to 
factors beyond their control, or the control of the agency. 
Accordingly, we do not think a change in the current rule is justified 
at this time. We will continue to evaluate this rule, however, and are 
open to considering changes to it at a later date. In any event, we 
believe the practice of an Intern working for one agency and then 
converting to another upon graduation is very rare under the current 
SCEP.
    We have decided, however, to adopt the union's suggestion with 
respect to the Recent Graduates Program. One of the purposes of the 
Recent Graduates Program is for the Recent Graduate to have an initial 
``try-out'' period with an agency, where he or she can receive on-the-
job training, mentoring, and career development and the agency can 
evaluate the potential of the Recent Grad for a career in Government. 
We think it best that the Recent Graduate convert to a job at the 
agency that oversaw this developmental process. It is also noteworthy 
that the regulations (Sec.  362.304) allow Recent Graduates to seek a 
Recent Graduates appointment at another agency during their period of 
eligibility. This flexibility helps to address our original concern, as 
Recent Graduates working at agencies with shrinking budgets and 
personnel could seek an appointment at another agency at which they 
could complete the Program.
    Similarly, the PMF Program currently does not contemplate that a 
Participant who completes the PMF Program would convert to another 
agency. Rather, the current regulations require the employing agency to 
convert the PMF if he or she is certified by the Executive Resources 
Board (ERB). Though the requirement to convert each PMF has been 
eliminated in these regulations, the rationale continues to hold. 
Agencies will be inclined to convert PMFs who are ERB certified because 
they have invested in their development for 2 years.

9. Waiver

    The proposed regulations included a provision granting the OPM 
Director authority to waive Pathways Program requirements under limited 
circumstances. A union commented that the waiver is too broad. The 
union proposes alternative language, namely that waiver should be 
limited to extraordinary circumstances that would render an agency's 
compliance with the regulations impracticable or impossible. OPM agrees 
with the union's position that the waiver provision is too broad. 
Rather than modify the language, as the union suggested, we have 
removed the waiver provision entirely from the final regulation. OPM 
believes elimination of the waiver provision will contribute to better 
overall Program oversight and administration on the part of 
participating agencies and that sufficient flexibility is offered by 
other, narrower already existing waiver authorities available to the 
OPM Director.

10. Veterans' Preference

    OPM regularly consulted with veterans' service organizations during 
the development of the Pathways Programs, prior to publication of the 
proposed regulations. The proposed regulations make clear that 
veterans' preference rules apply to the Pathways Programs.
    One union cited favorably the steps OPM has taken to safeguard 
veterans' preference in the regulations. It nonetheless commented that 
application of veterans' preference in the excepted service is not 
transparent and the ability to monitor and enforce application of 
veterans' preference would be compromised under the new Schedule D. As 
our regulations make clear, veterans' preference applies to the 
excepted service, Schedule D is no exception, and ensuring that 
agencies are properly applying veterans' preference will be a key 
aspect of our oversight of the Pathways Programs.
    A Senator suggested that additional guidance and oversight 
mechanisms are needed to ensure agency compliance with veterans' 
preference. The regulations make clear that veterans' preference 
applies to the Pathways Programs. OPM is also considering further 
guidance to agencies on how to manage the application and selection 
process for the Pathways Programs in a manner that is consistent with 
veterans' preference. As mentioned above, we believe the regulations 
provide sufficient oversight mechanisms to guard against agency abuse.
    A union commented that the Pathways Programs erode veterans' 
preference by excluding veterans who fail to meet the eligibility 
criteria for the Programs from applying for positions in the Program. 
We disagree. The President is authorized by law to make necessary 
exceptions to the competitive procedures, and he has appropriately done 
so here. Moreover, OPM has taken appropriate steps to ensure that the

[[Page 28202]]

Pathways Programs are fair to veterans. These include requiring that 
information about Pathways opportunities be posted; specifying that 
veterans' preference rules apply to the Pathways Programs; and allowing 
certain veterans up to 6 years from the time of graduation (rather than 
the standard 2 years) to participate in the Recent Graduates Program. 
As discussed here, OPM has also included several significant oversight 
mechanisms in the regulations to ensure that agencies are properly 
using them as a supplement to competitive hiring, rather than a 
substitute for it.
    One agency commented that it supported veterans' preference but did 
not believe that application of the preference should disadvantage 
current students or recent graduates. One agency wanted to know how 
veterans' preference would apply. Agencies are required to follow part 
302 procedures (which includes the application of veterans' preference) 
when making any Pathways appointment, even if to do so disadvantages 
current students or recent graduates.
    One agency wanted to know how the application of veterans' 
preference would affect the consideration of priority reemployment 
candidates under the Pathways Programs. The Pathways Programs do not 
change the requirements. Agencies must follow the order of 
consideration in part 302 when filling jobs under the Pathways 
Programs.
    One agency suggested that OPM revisit the application of veterans' 
preference under the Pathways Programs because the agency believes OPM 
combined competitive and excepted service procedures for veterans' 
preference. The same agency also expressed concern that providing 
veterans' preference under Pathways gives the perception that veterans 
have an overall advantage and wanted to know how agencies would apply 
veterans' preference. The Veterans' Preference Act of 1944, as amended, 
applies to positions in the excepted service. OPM does not have the 
discretion to except Pathways from this statutory requirement, nor 
would it agree with an exception as a matter of policy. Further, many 
veterans may be availing themselves of the GI Bill to complete an 
education. They deserve to have their preference applied should they 
seek a Federal job via Pathways. Part 302 contains the regulatory 
requirements and procedures for the application of veterans' preference 
in the excepted service.
    One agency wanted to eliminate from consideration preference 
eligibles that do not submit proper documentation. OPM will not adopt 
this suggestion. Agencies are required to exercise due diligence in 
affording veterans' preference to eligible applicants and to establish 
policy and procedures that follow existing regulations. This same 
agency suggested that OPM add a requirement to the final rule stating 
agencies are not required to accept late applications from veterans' 
preference eligibles. We did not adopt this suggestion because it is 
not necessary. The requirement to accept late applications from 10-
point preference eligible veterans as provided in Sec.  332.311 does 
not apply to filling positions in the excepted service.

11. Age Discrimination

    One union questioned whether the Pathways Programs are 
discriminatory, claiming that the Programs favor younger applicants. 
The union's concerns are misplaced. First, we emphasize that the 
intention of these regulations is to provide agencies with options to 
employ as part of an overall recruiting and hiring strategy that will 
result in a workforce drawn from all segments of society, including 
employees of all ages. Second, the Pathways Programs themselves are 
open to all students and recent graduates, regardless of age. Eligible 
students and recent graduates will include older individuals who left 
the workforce and returned to school to prepare themselves for new 
careers, as well as those who obtained degrees while they took time off 
from their careers to raise a family. Older veterans who use the new GI 
Bill to further their education after completing their military service 
are also eligible to participate in the Pathways Programs.
    In short, the Pathways Programs were not intended to discriminate 
based on age, nor should they have that effect. To the extent that an 
individual believes that an agency is misusing the Programs in order to 
discriminate against older applicants, he or she may pursue available 
legal remedies to address such misuse.

12. Miscellaneous

    The provisions for temporary assignment under the Intergovernmental 
Personnel Act (IPA) in Sec.  332.102 contain a definition of 
``employee.'' PMFs, SCEPs, FCIPs and VRAs are included in the 
definition of employee as examples of excepted service employees 
eligible under the IPA. OPM removed these excepted service examples 
contained in 332.102 in the proposed regulations because most of them 
will become obsolete with the publication of the final Pathways rule. 
One agency suggested that OPM should replace the examples with the new 
Pathways Programs rather than deleting the explanatory language 
altogether. We are not adopting this suggestion because we believe the 
definition is adequate without examples.
    One agency suggested OPM create a special Program identifier code 
to track Pathways Participants. OPM does not believe such a code is 
necessary at this time. Each Pathways Program has its own unique 
appointing authority that can be used to track Participants and Program 
usage. We will evaluate over time whether this approach is adequate.
    One agency asked whether the Pathways Programs will be centrally 
funded from a source separate from the agency's approved appropriation. 
The Pathways Programs are not centrally funded. Agencies must fund 
their own Pathways Programs.
    One agency recommended that OPM establish a Pathways alumni group 
to help with recruitment and mentoring. We will consider this idea. In 
the meantime, we note that agencies are free to establish these groups 
themselves.
    Several agencies asked OPM to clarify whether the Administrative 
Careers with America (ACWA) testing is required when filling positions 
under the Recent Graduates Program and whether OPM will be developing 
assessment criteria for positions filled through the Recent Graduates 
Program. ACWA testing is not specifically required. Rather, agencies 
must use a valid and job-related assessment for all positions 
(including those formerly covered by ACWA). Agencies can choose to use 
the OPM assessment or other valid assessments.

Responses to Comments on the Regulations

1. Excepted Service (Part 213)

    One agency suggested that OPM amend the final rule by placing the 
regulatory requirements for the administration of the Pathways Programs 
in part 213 rather than part 362 because it believes it is confusing to 
have the requirements for the administration of the Pathways Programs 
in part 362. We did not adopt this suggestion because we believe it is 
clearer to maintain the specific Program requirements of the Pathways 
Programs separate from the broad regulatory requirements for the use of 
excepted schedules that are contained in part 213. Additionally, the 
current regulatory requirements for use of the PMF Program are 
contained in part 362, and we decided that it would be best to have

[[Page 28203]]

requirements for each of the three Pathways Programs in the same 
section of the regulation.
    One agency requested clarification regarding an agency's ability to 
continue to simultaneously fill the same position in both the 
competitive and excepted service (via Pathways). As discussed above, 
using Pathways is similar to how agencies currently use the SEEP under 
Schedule A or the Schedule A for hiring people with disabilities. The 
Executive order allows the positions to be filled in the excepted 
service, and then converted to the competitive service at a later date. 
In general agencies have broad authority to fill a position with any 
applicable authority, regardless of whether doing so places the 
position in the excepted service.
    One agency suggested we clarify the intent of Sec.  213.102(c)(2) 
pertaining to targeted recruitment. Section 213.102(c)(2) refers to 
OPM's authority to remove positions from the competitive service so 
they can be filled in the excepted service under authorities that 
target specific groups such as students, recent graduates or people 
with disabilities. Targeted recruitment can be conducted so long as it 
is done so consistent with any applicable law and regulations.
    Several agencies commented and expressed concern regarding 
temporary appointments for the Internship Program. One agency noted 
that ``temporary appointment'' is defined as not-to-exceed 2 years. The 
same agency asked if temporary appointments would be administered under 
part 316. Several agencies also expressed concern regarding the impact 
that provisions regarding service limits and restrictions on refilling 
positions in Sec.  213.104(b)(1) and (2) would have on their ability to 
use temporary Interns under Pathways. Temporary appointments in the 
excepted service, the time limits on them, and exceptions to the time 
limits remain unchanged. The Pathways Programs are covered by excepted 
service provisions in both Sec.  213 and Sec.  302, not under Sec.  
316. By definition in both the competitive and excepted service, 
temporary appointments are those initially made not to exceed 1 year. 
Agencies can extend a temporary appointment up to 1 additional year 
without OPM approval. Because of the nature of temporary intern 
appointments and the need to accommodate a student's academic 
curriculum, they are not subject to the time limitations in Sec.  
213.104 as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of that section. The only 
change made to Sec.  213.104 is the inclusion of the newly established 
Schedule D.

2. Employment in the Excepted Service (Part 302)

    Our proposed regulations include some changes to part 302, 
governing employment in the excepted service. Agencies submitted 
several suggestions on part 302. One agency wanted to know how 
following part 302 would affect priority reemployment candidates. When 
filling jobs under the Pathways Programs, agencies must follow the 
order of consideration in Sec.  302.304, that requires consideration of 
all qualified candidates on its priority reemployment list before 
considering other candidates.
    One agency suggested OPM amend part 302 to allow, but not require, 
the use of category rating selection procedures so agencies can 
consider candidates based on criteria other than veterans' preference 
or reemployment priority eligibility. OPM is not adopting this 
suggestion. Under Sec.  302.105, agencies may adopt category rating-
like selection procedures, as long as those procedures provide veterans 
with at least as much preference as they would otherwise receive under 
the other criteria in part 302. Another agency suggested that OPM 
modify the final rule to include Schedule D in the list of exemptions 
from the appointment procedures of part 302 in order to allow agencies 
to apply veterans' preference as far as administratively feasible. OPM 
did not adopt this recommendation for several reasons. Excepted service 
positions are approved for exemption from the appointment procedures of 
part 302 because the circumstances and conditions required to fill the 
positions cannot be accommodated under the regulations. Pathways 
positions do not meet this requirement because agencies are required to 
provide information on Pathways job opportunities and to identify its 
excepted service procedures for Pathways Programs applicants in 
accordance with part 302. A central objective of the Pathways Programs 
is to establish Federal-wide Programs with consistent policies and 
procedures. Additionally, the exemption from the appointment procedures 
of part 302 does not relieve agencies from applying veterans' 
preference as required by law; rather it allows each agency filling 
these certain types of positions to determine what procedures it will 
use to afford eligible veterans their preference in a positive manner. 
For these reasons, it would not be appropriate to exempt Pathways 
Programs appointments from the appointment procedures of part 302.

3. Conversion to Career or Career-Conditional Employment (Part 315)

    Part 315 of the proposed regulations addresses conversion to the 
competitive service. Several agencies requested clarification of Sec.  
315.713, Conversions based on service in a Pathways Program, for 
Pathways Participants, particularly Interns, converted to the 
competitive service. We believe the requirements in Sec.  315.713(b), 
are clear, i.e., people lacking the 3-year service requirement for 
career tenure will be converted to a career-conditional appointment. 
However, those requirements must be applied according to the provisions 
of Sec.  315.201, Service requirement for career tenure. Certain types 
of service are creditable toward career tenure as identified in Sec.  
315.201(b), Creditable service. Service in any Pathways Program is 
creditable for career tenure. Because the service requirement for 
tenure is 3 years, most Pathways Participants will convert to career-
conditional unless they have previously attained tenure (completed 3 
years of creditable service) in which case those individuals should be 
converted to a career appointment.
    Several agencies requested clarification of Sec.  315.713, 
Acquisition of competitive status. We have clarified the regulation to 
specify that competitive status is acquired upon completion of the 
probationary period. Time spent on any Pathways appointment is 
creditable toward completion of the probationary period requirement for 
the competitive service. Recent Graduates and PMFs attain competitive 
status immediately upon conversion, i.e., they have completed their 
probationary period. Because some Interns can be converted after 
completing their educational requirements and a minimum of 640 hours of 
work experience, they will be required to complete the requirements for 
probationary period after conversion.
    One agency commented that some agencies have statutory authority to 
establish probationary periods of more than a year. They requested a 
Pathways provision that would allow those agencies to apply the longer 
probationary periods to Pathways conversions. We did not adopt this 
suggestion. Agencies with statutory authority to require probationary 
periods in excess of 1 year generally have an agency-specific 
appointing authority under the same statute. The Pathways Programs fall 
under the provisions of title 5. The Pathways Programs authorities 
cannot be used under other statutory authorities.

[[Page 28204]]

Pathways Programs (Part 362)

A. General Provisions (Part 362, Subpart A)

    Part 362 of the proposed regulation set forth the requirements for 
each of the Pathways Programs. The majority of comments we received 
were generally supportive of the creation of the Pathways Programs and 
with the overall implementation of the Programs through our 
regulations. We received many comments, however, about specific 
regulatory provisions.
    Several agencies commented that the structure of the proposed 
regulations was not consistent in addressing requirements such as trial 
periods, performance management, and progress evaluation information 
for each Pathways Program. We agree that some modification for clarity 
is in order. For example, we placed the performance and progress 
evaluation requirements in subpart A of the final rule, as they apply 
to each of the three Programs.
    One agency suggested rewording Sec.  362.101(c), which is the 
requirement that agencies provide for equal employment opportunity in 
the Pathways Programs, consistent with merit system principles and 
applicable law. The language we proposed is a more accurate reflection 
of law regarding equal employment opportunity, and we are retaining the 
language as it was written.
1. Definitions (Sec.  362.102)
    Several schools suggested we specify schools of public policy and 
schools of international affairs in the definition of a ``qualifying 
educational institution'' in Sec.  362.102, Definitions, as examples of 
graduate or professional schools. We did not make this change, because 
we did not wish to highlight one type of qualifying educational 
institution to the exclusion of other types.
    One agency suggested we redefine ``agency'' to include the 
Government Printing Office (GPO) in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 
2302(a)(2)(C). OPM agrees that the GPO should be included in the 
definition of ``agency'' and modified the final rule accordingly.
    Several agencies suggested OPM provide a definition of 
``certificate program'' for the purpose of eligibility under Pathways. 
We agree and have defined, in Sec.  362.102, ``certificate program'' to 
mean ``postsecondary education, in a qualifying educational 
institution, equivalent to at least 1 academic year of full-time study 
that is part of an accredited college-level, technical, trade, 
vocational, or business school curriculum.''
    One agency asked OPM to modify the final rule by adding 
apprenticeship programs registered with the Department of Labor to the 
definition of ``qualifying educational institution.'' OPM is not 
adopting this suggestion because apprenticeship programs focus on 
requirements for on-the-job experience rather than education and they 
are not qualifying educational institutions for the purposes of the 
Pathways Programs. The Pathways Programs focus on formal education. 
Nonetheless, the Internship Program is open to students in qualifying 
technical or trade schools, as is the Recent Graduates Program upon 
completion of a qualifying technical or trade program.
2. Memorandum of Understanding (Sec.  362.104)
    OPM made edits to this section in consideration of the considerable 
comments previously discussed. For example, we included new definitions 
for ``advanced degree'', ``certificate program,'' and ``Participant 
Agreement'' in Sec.  362.102. We clarified agency requirements in Sec.  
362.104 by reordering and renumbering the MOU requirements. Other 
changes are addressed in the applicable sections of the regulations.
On-Boarding Process (Sec.  362.104(c)(8))
    One agency commented that the on-boarding process should be removed 
as a MOU requirement because on-boarding processes are different among 
organizations, processes change from time to time due to requirement 
changes, etc. The agency recommended that OPM amend the final rule by 
placing the on-boarding process under agency commitment. We agree with 
this suggestion and modified the final regulations in Sec.  
362.104(c)(8)(iv) to provide an adequate on-boarding process for each 
Pathways Program.
Pathways Programs Officer (Sec.  362.104(c)(9))
    Several agencies suggested OPM eliminate the grade requirement for 
the Pathways Programs Officer (PPO) in Sec.  362.104(a)(1)(iv)(A) on 
the basis that agencies should have the authority to determine the 
grade level and be held accountable. OPM is not adopting this 
suggestion. Given the duties and responsibilities of the agency PPO, 
OPM believes GS-12 is the appropriate minimum grade level.
Participant Agreement (Sec.  362.106)
    We received several agency comments on the Participant Agreement 
(PA) to be executed with all Pathways Participants.
    Several agencies suggested that OPM remove the PA from the MOU and 
place it in each Pathways Program subpart of the regulations. We agree 
that it should be removed from the MOU, but disagree that it should be 
removed from subpart A of the regulations. The PA is a requirement for 
all Pathways Participants and is appropriately placed in subpart A of 
the regulations. It is clearer, though, to set it out in a separate 
section, rather than including it in the MOU section. Accordingly, we 
have renamed it the Participant Agreement (instead of Pathways 
Agreement) and placed it in a separate section (Sec.  362.106, 
Participant Agreement). The remaining subpart A sections were 
renumbered accordingly.
    One agency suggested we require agencies to file the PA in the 
Participant's Official Personnel File (OPF). OPM is not adopting this 
suggestion. The PA must be maintained while the Pathways Participant is 
in the applicable Program. However, once the Participant completes the 
Program and is separated or converted to a position in the competitive 
service, the PA is no longer applicable. Therefore, we do not believe 
it is appropriate to add a requirement that it be filed in the OPF.
    The same agency commented that the regulations should provide a 
similar level of detail as is provided for the Pathways Programs 
Officer with respect to who could execute and approve the PA, and that 
the requirements for the PA be stipulated in the MOU. OPM does not 
believe any changes to the final rule are necessary. Agencies have 
discretion to determine who signs a PA. Participant Agreement 
requirements are now contained in Sec.  362.106.
    Several agencies suggested more detailed requirements for the PA. 
For example, one agency suggested adding certain requirements to the 
Participant Agreement an Intern must meet to continue in the Program, 
such as Grade Point Average (GPA) or a statement of good academic 
standing and performance ratings of Fully Successful or above. Some 
agencies supported removal of the requirement for a 3-way agreement 
with the Participant, the agency, and the Participant's educational 
institution, while others do not think the 3-way requirement should be 
removed. Another stated that it was confusing to have a choice and the 
requirement should be either kept or removed. Several agencies asked if 
they would have the flexibility to design Participant Agreements based 
on agency need and several comments expressed concern over the workload 
the PA will create.

[[Page 28205]]

    The Participant Agreement is another administrative requirement 
that OPM believes is necessary for the successful administration of the 
Pathways Programs. The regulations provide the minimum requirements of 
the PA. However, agencies have discretion to tailor PAs for each 
Pathways Program or even for individual organizations as necessary. An 
agency may continue to use a 3-way agreement, and it may or may not add 
GPA requirements for continuation in the Internship Program. We 
understand the challenges involved with identifying specific agency 
requirements and creating the necessary Participant Agreements. 
However, once developed, the PAs provide a powerful communication 
mechanism that ensures Program Participants understand their 
appointment provisions, manages expectations of all parties concerned, 
and identifies expectations for successful completion of a Pathways 
Program for both the Program Participant and manager.
    One agency asked if agencies are obligated to enter into an 
agreement with the educational institution if the school or college 
required such an agreement. If an agency wishes to enter into a 
relationship with an educational institution that requires an 
agreement, the agency has the discretion to do so.
    One agency does not believe the Participant Agreement should be 
required for Interns hired under the temporary provisions of subpart B. 
We disagree. Interns hired on a temporary basis should have the same 
benefit of well-defined expectations as any other Pathways Participant.
    Several agencies suggested we provide them with a template 
Participant Agreement. OPM will provide a PA template for agencies to 
use at their discretion.
3. Filling Positions (Sec.  362.105)
Appointments (Sec.  362.105(c))
    One agency suggested including temporary appointments in section 
Sec.  362.105(c) of the regulations. We did not adopt this suggestion. 
The use of temporary appointments is applicable to the Internship 
Program only and is addressed in subpart B. Temporary appointments 
cannot be made under the Recent Graduates or PMF Programs.
Citizenship (Sec.  362.105(e))
    One agency commented that the citizenship requirements were 
confusing. This paragraph is to ensure that agencies meet Government-
wide requirements for non-citizen hiring and do not inadvertently 
convert a non-citizen to the competitive service. As with excepted 
service hiring in general, the law permits agencies to hire non-
citizens under the Pathways Programs provided they meet applicable 
immigration requirements.
Length of Appointments (Sec.  362.105(g))
    Several agency comments requested clarification in this area. One 
agency asked whether the length of appointment for Recent Graduates and 
PMFs is to be calculated using consecutive or calendar days. Because 
calendar days are consecutive, we assume the commenter meant business 
days or calendar days. Appointments for Recent Graduates and PMFs are 
calculated by counting consecutive calendar days. Agencies may extend 
the appointment of a Recent Graduate or PMF for no more than an 
additional 120 calendar days.
    Several agencies asked questions about how the 2-year appointment 
period would be applied for individuals hired under the Internship 
Program. The 2-year appointment limit does not apply to individuals 
hired under the Internship Program. Length of appointments for Interns 
is addressed in subpart B.
Terminations (Sec.  362.105(h))
    Several agency comments suggested the regulations should state 
reasons for terminating Pathways Participants, such as not maintaining 
good standing with their school, or failure to meet the conditions of 
the Participant Agreement. We are not including these suggestions in 
the final regulations. This paragraph is simply to inform agencies that 
Pathways Participants can be terminated in accordance with any 
applicable laws and regulations pertaining to the excepted service. In 
response to one agency comment, we added the word ``including'' before 
``for misconduct, poor performance, or suitability'' to be clear that 
we are not attempting to restate the entire universe of reasons that an 
individual could legitimately be terminated. Agencies are expected to 
take appropriate personnel actions for any Pathways Participant who is 
not converted to the competitive service at the end of his or her 
appointment.
4. Conversion to the Competitive Service (Sec.  362.107)
    One agency suggested we modify Sec.  362.107 specifying that 
conversions must be made in accordance with the applicable Programs. We 
have made this modification to the final rule.
    Another agency suggested OPM enumerate the exemptions of the 
Priority Reemployment List in Sec.  362.107. The Priority Reemployment 
List (PRL) is a mandatory priority placement program for certain 
current and former excepted service employees to excepted service 
positions covered in part 302 and is not applicable here. Conversions 
from a Pathways Program are made to competitive service positions. 
Because the PRL does not apply to competitive service positions, an 
exemption is not necessary.
    One agency requested that OPM provide the statutory citation that 
allows a term employee in the competitive service to be 
noncompetitively converted to a permanent position in the competitive 
service. The authority to convert from a Pathways Program term to 
permanent competitive service appointment is provided in Executive 
Order 13562, section 6, paragraph (c), which was issued under the 
President's broad statutory authority over the civil service.
5. Program Accountability and Oversight (Sec.  362.107)
    In the proposed regulations, Program accountability and oversight 
information was contained in a single regulatory section, Sec.  
362.107. In response to a number of comments seeking further clarity on 
these provisions, we have now addressed each topic in its own 
regulatory section. Section Sec.  362.108 now addresses program 
oversight and Sec.  362.109 addresses agency reporting requirements.
    One agency asked if they should estimate their Pathways hires on a 
fiscal or calendar year basis. The same agency asked about a process 
for revising their estimates should it need additional Pathways hires. 
One agency suggested agencies be allowed to give an approximate number 
of hires under the Pathways Programs, but not be committed to staying 
within the initial proposed count.
    The reporting requirements for Pathways are two-fold: (1) report an 
estimated projected use of the Pathways Programs for workforce 
planning; and (2) report actual Program usage for the previous year. 
Agencies will be required to report to OPM all positions that they 
intend to fill through Pathways appointments. The reports serve as an 
important planning and oversight tool. We anticipate requiring this 
data on a calendar year basis. We will provide additional guidance on 
the specific form of the reports we wish to receive. This guidance will 
allow for agencies to review and revise their projections for a 
particular year if the need arises.

[[Page 28206]]

6. Transition (Sec.  362.108)
    Several agencies suggested OPM provide regulatory guidance on how 
current student employees and PMFs would transition into Pathways. One 
agency suggested maintaining the current SCEP conversion authority 
through April 30, 2013, to allow current SCEPs who graduate before the 
end of 2012 to complete SCEP work experience and other agency-specific 
conversion requirements. The agency stated that April 30, 2013, would 
provide a 120-day conversion period and allow sufficient time to obtain 
necessary documentation of graduation with the required overall GPA for 
students graduating in December 2012. The same agency suggested the 
regulations permit current SCEPs to be converted to the new Internship 
Program with full credit for their prior SCEP work experience.
    OPM appreciates the many questions concerning conversion to the new 
Programs. We will issue comprehensive guidance for the transition of 
current STEP, SCEP, and PMF employees to the new Pathways Programs 
following publication of the final rule. We will consider the agency's 
comments as we craft that guidance. In addition, as mentioned above, we 
have provided for a 6-month transition period for the Internship and 
PMF Program. We cannot, however, adopt the agency's suggestion to 
retain SCEP through April 2013. By virtue of the executive order, the 
authority to appoint under SCEP is eliminated on the effective date of 
these regulations.

B. Internship Program (Part 362, Subpart B)

    The rules governing the Internship Program appear in subpart B. A 
union expressed concern that the Internship Program would undermine the 
competitive hiring process by enabling an agency to hire an Intern who 
had completed degree requirements but not yet graduated and then 
subject the Intern to a lengthy trial period with the potential for 
termination at the end of the period. The union misreads the scope of 
the Program. An individual may serve as an Intern only while a student. 
In order to be eligible for conversion, the individual must accumulate 
640 work hours (up to 320 of which may be waived under certain 
circumstances) while a student. The union's hypothetical could not 
occur because the Intern would not be able to obtain the requisite 
number of work hours between completion of degree requirements and 
graduation.
    For these reasons, we decline to adopt the union's additional 
suggestion that individuals who have less than a half semester of 
coursework before graduation should be eligible only for the Recent 
Graduates Program. The individual at that point is still a student; he 
or she may or may not graduate on schedule, and even if he or she does, 
the Intern may enroll in another academic program and maintain 
eligibility for employment as an Intern. It is not uncommon, for 
example, for students who graduate from college to immediately begin a 
master's or professional degree program.
    The union also argues that internship positions should be limited 
to entry-level positions up to grade 9 or to grade 11 for science, 
technology, engineering, or mathematics positions. The union notes that 
this grade limitation applies in the Recent Graduates Program. Another 
union also argues for grade limits on Internship Program appointments. 
Several academic commenters support eliminating the grade limits on 
Recent Graduates and, presumably, approve of the absence of limits on 
Interns. Grade limitations on Interns would be a change from the 
current Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), under which interns 
are paid according to their qualifications. OPM is not persuaded that 
it should depart from the existing SCEP rule. Agencies need to be able 
to compete with the private sector for sought-after students, including 
those in graduate and professional degree programs.
    The union also alleges that a particular agency is currently 
abusing the SCEP, and that the Internship Program regulations would not 
prevent the type of abuse being alleged. Without commenting on the 
particulars of the allegations, we note that each agency would be 
operating its Internship Program under the oversight of OPM, pursuant 
to an MOU entered into with OPM, and subject to a cap on their use of 
the Programs. Any further comment would be outside the scope of the 
regulation.
    Another union commented that the duties of a position to which an 
Intern is appointed should relate to either the Intern's academic or 
career goals. We agree with this commenter and have modified the 
regulation to reflect this requirement. In addition, in response to 
agency comments, we have modified the regulation to provide agencies 
the discretion, especially when filling positions that require the 
completion of specific education, to require degree relatedness.
    The union also objected to Sec.  362.204(c) insofar as it allows 
agencies to waive up to 320 of the 640 work hours requirement for an 
Intern to convert. The union contends that the criteria for waiver are 
vague and subject to abuse. A good government group, however, commented 
in favor of the waiver provision. We agree with the good government 
commenter. This waiver provision mirrors the existing provision under 
SCEP, which has not been problematic. Furthermore, we think that the 
waiver option promotes an incentive for Interns to excel academically 
and in the workplace, to the benefit of the Government.
    The majority of agency comments support the concept that, upon 
completion of the Internship Program, an Intern should be converted to 
a position directly related to the Intern's academic training and 
intern work experience. Two agencies, however, suggested that removal 
of the requirement was inconsistent with the Program. We disagree with 
these two commenters. A large majority of General Schedule positions do 
not have a positive education requirement. Therefore, Interns could 
qualify for conversion to a position at the appropriate grade level 
based on their general educational background alone. The agencies will 
have invested in the development of Interns, and it is in their 
interests, as well as the taxpayers', to take advantage of that 
investment by having the Intern continue to work for the agency. 
Accordingly, though we would encourage agencies to conduct workforce 
planning and hire interns into a field for which they ultimately have a 
need to fill permanent positions, it is consistent with the Internship 
Program to allow agencies lacking a permanent position related to the 
Intern's field of study and Intern work experience to convert high 
performing Interns to another career field for which the Intern 
qualifies. Additionally, time spent on the Internship appointment 
qualifies as work experience for purposes of evaluating an Intern's 
qualifications for a particular position.
    One agency noted a disparity in having a grade limitation on Recent 
Graduates (i.e., people with degrees) while no similar limitation 
exists for Interns (i.e., people working toward a degree). The 
different rules recognize the different purposes of the Programs. The 
Internship Program is aimed at recruiting students--including those at 
the highest levels of study--to work in the Federal Government. In 
recognition of this purpose, grade levels are not currently limited 
under SCEP. This allows the Government to compete, for example, for 
highly educated researchers who are finishing their doctoral programs. 
The Recent

[[Page 28207]]

Graduates Program, on the other hand, is focused on individuals without 
prior work experience in their chosen field, in recognition of the 
difficulty they have in securing a Federal job through the competitive 
hiring process. A grade-level limitation is therefore appropriate for 
Recent Graduates because the premise is that they lack prior related 
work experience. Their grade levels are thus tied to the levels for 
which they could qualify based solely on their education.
    One agency suggested OPM add a mentor requirement to the Internship 
Program rules. OPM is not adopting an across-the-board requirement 
because some Interns serve for very short periods of time. However, we 
included a requirement to identify mentorship opportunities in the 
Participant Agreement with Interns. Moreover, we encourage agencies to 
provide mentors to the Interns it expects to employ for lengthier 
periods of time (for example, longer than 12 weeks).
    One agency requested that OPM add an authority to allow agencies to 
convert an Intern serving on a temporary appointment to an Intern 
appointment. The regulations allow any qualified student to be 
appointed under the Internship Program on either a temporary (not to 
exceed 1 year) or time limited (more than 1 year) basis. An agency 
wishing to change a temporary Intern to an Intern appointment would 
simply reappoint the individual under Sec.  213.3402(a).
    Several agencies and a union suggested OPM define the phrase 
``meaningful developmental work.'' OPM is not adopting this suggestion 
because we do not believe it is appropriate to provide a specific 
definition in the regulation. The phrase broadly refers to career-
related work experience that will enable the individual to successfully 
work upon conversion to the competitive service. By not adopting a 
specific definition, we allow agencies and Pathways participants to 
determine the nature of the developmental work appropriate to the 
position. In exercising this discretion, agencies should not assign, as 
an Intern's primary duties, simple administrative or clerical tasks 
such as scanning a document or filing documents which do not support 
the Intern's career goals. We would expect agencies and Interns to 
discuss the nature of their work in connection with executing the 
Participant Agreement.
    Several agencies suggested that Intern appointments be made with a 
specific not-to-exceed (NTE) date. We are not adopting this suggestion 
because the appointment authority permits noncompetitive conversion to 
a permanent job in the competitive service, and some Interns will not 
be treated as time-limited.
    An agency commented that the use of the word ``Intern'' causes 
confusion since Interns are typically hired to work for no salary or a 
small stipend to gain work experience. OPM does not agree or share this 
concern. The Student Employment Educational Program (SEEP) co-existed 
with part 308, Volunteer Service, for many years and we see no reason 
why the Internship Program cannot continue to do so. Additionally, 
volunteer service under part 308 can be considered creditable service, 
under Sec.  362.204, toward an Intern's work requirement for conversion 
to the competitive service.
    Several other agencies expressed concern over losing the ability to 
use unpaid interns. OPM is not revoking the authority to use student 
volunteers in part 308.
    Several agencies asked whether Interns could be converted to the 
Recent Graduates Program. The Executive order does not provide 
authority to convert an Intern to the Recent Graduates Program. 
Agencies should provide Interns with appropriate, related work 
experience and training. Upon completion of their education and 
successful performance of the duties of the Intern position, agencies 
should convert Interns to competitive service positions. Interns could 
also apply to the Recent Graduates Program upon completing their 
educational program requirements.
    One agency asked that we clarify the distinction between an 
Internship for a high school student versus one for a post secondary 
school student, to address work schedules, appointment limitations and 
work assignments. There is no difference in the appointment or the 
Program; however, work schedules, assignments, etc., may vary. The 
Internship Program is flexible enough to allow agencies to tailor the 
Program to meet its needs. Agencies may appoint any qualified student 
to the Internship Program on either a temporary or time limited basis. 
Appointment limitations, work schedules and work assignments and 
expectations are required to be addressed in the Participant Agreement.
    Several agencies expressed concern that OPM is limiting agencies 
use of temporary Interns. One agency suggested language to modify the 
final rule for clarity. OPM has modified the final rule to clarify the 
appropriate use of temporary Interns. The Supplementary Information 
accompanying the proposed regulations simply reminded agencies to limit 
their appointment of temporary Interns because the intent of the 
Program is for agencies to develop a pipeline of talent for important 
workforce needs. Agencies may hire temporary Interns as they deem 
necessary, though, in accordance with agency Pathways hiring 
procedures, and any limitations that may be established by the 
Director.
    One agency suggested OPM rename the Internship Program the 
``Current Student Fellowship Program.'' OPM is not adopting this 
suggestion because we believe ``Internship Program'' is a better, 
commonly understood label for the Program.
1. Definitions (Sec.  362.202)
    Several agencies suggested a more specific definition of 
``student.'' Some agencies proposed OPM limit the Internship Program 
only to students attending classes for certain time periods, e.g., 
those who have completed at least one academic semester. We are not 
adopting these suggestions. The proposed definition of student is 
familiar, as it is adapted from the current SEEP, which has served the 
existing student programs well for many years.
2. Filling Positions (Sec.  362.203)
    One agency suggested OPM modify the regulations to include 
language, similar to language currently in the SEEP regulations, 
regarding the use of training funds for Pathways Participants. OPM is 
not adopting this suggestion. We are not attempting to alter the 
availability of any of these benefits. We have simply eliminated some 
provisions currently contained in the SEEP regulations that restate 
requirements or provisions contained in other CFR parts, such as those 
pertaining to the use of training funds, tuition assistance, travel and 
transportation, etc. This avoids lengthy changes to sections of the CFR 
when a particular regulatory requirement changes.
    A school asked whether prior Federal service can be used by 
agencies to determine qualifications and grade-level limitations for 
individuals appointed to the Internship Program. Yes. Agencies are 
required, though, to establish procedures on how they will assess 
applicants for any Pathways Program.
Eligibility (Sec.  362.203(b))
    An agency suggested OPM add a requirement that a student be in good 
academic standing to be eligible for an Internship appointment. We have 
not historically expressly stated a good academic standing requirement 
and are concerned that by introducing it now,

[[Page 28208]]

there will be confusion about what it means. It is our expectation, 
though, that agencies would only appoint students who are adequately 
progressing toward completion of their academic program.
Qualifications (Sec.  362.203(c))
    One agency suggested OPM modify the final rule to require students 
to qualify for the Internship Program based only on education. Though 
we expect that will be true for the vast majority of Interns, we are 
preserving the rule under SEEP that a student's prior experience may 
also be taken into account in determining his or her qualifications in 
connection with an Intern appointment. That approach has been used 
successfully for decades. Additionally, the Internship Program will be 
subject to OPM oversight, including potential caps on the number of 
Program Participants and OPM's authority to revoke an agency's MOU and 
thus prohibit it from using the Programs.
    Another agency asked OPM to modify the regulations to include a 
provision allowing agencies to develop their own qualification 
requirements for the competitive service position to which an Intern 
converts. We are not adopting this suggestion because the OPM 
Qualification Standards apply when filling any competitive service 
position and agencies are responsible for the training and development 
of Interns. Pathways Participants who meet the OPM Qualification 
Standard for a particular position are eligible for conversion.
Appointments (Sec.  362.203(d))
    Several agencies submitted comments asking OPM to clarify the 
appointment time limit for Interns. In addition, several agencies 
confused appointment time limit with the requirement that the 
Participant Agreement clearly state an expected NTE date. Interns can 
be appointed two ways: as a temporary employee (NTE 1 year); or for a 
period of more than 1 year. Appointments made for more than 1 year do 
not require a NTE date. However, the Participant Agreement requires an 
expected end date by which the student will complete all educational 
requirements of the degree.
Promotion (Sec.  362.203(e))
    Several agencies suggested OPM add instructional language to the 
regulations stating that the promotion of a temporary Intern is 
documented as a conversion to a new temporary appointment with a 
requirement the NTE date remain. OPM is not adopting this suggestion. 
The service limits and restrictions in Sec.  213.104 on refilling 
excepted service positions do not apply to the appointment of temporary 
Interns. Therefore the original NTE date is not applicable.
Classification (Sec.  362.203(f))
    One agency commented that the requirement to classify positions to 
the 99 series is problematic because there is no distinction between 
one and two-grade interval positions. We disagree.
    Using the -99 series for one and two-grade interval positions 
affords agencies the greatest amount of flexibility when hiring 
individuals into developmental type programs. Because these individuals 
are ``trainees'' they are not restricted to the types of work that is 
normally associated with a specific series. In addition, an entire job 
family (e.g., 300) of positions will be available at the time of 
conversion based on the individual's qualifications and the agency's 
needs. Agencies can differentiate between one grade and two-grade 
interval positions based on the education level of the employee (e.g., 
below Baccalaureate level, one grade interval), based on the journeymen 
level of the target position (e.g., GS 12 full performance level, two 
grade interval), documented advancement opportunities (career ladders) 
in the participant's agreement.
    Another agency suggested we add the requirement to classify wage 
grade intern positions to the 01 series. We are adopting this 
suggestion and have modified the regulations. We did not intend to 
limit Internship appointments to General Schedule positions; therefore 
we are clarifying that agencies can make Internship appointments to 
either General Schedule or Wage Grade positions.
Schedules (Sec.  362.203(g))
    Two agencies commented on work schedules. One suggested OPM amend 
the final rule by specifying the number of hours a student may work. We 
did not amend the final rule because the regulations specify an Intern 
may work a full or part-time schedule. Interns agreeing to work a full-
time schedule must work 40 hours per week. Part-time schedules are 
generally considered to fall between 16 and 32 hours per week. Interns 
are covered by the same rules for hours of duty contained in part 610 
of the CFR.
    Another agency suggested we modify the final rule to include an 
intermittent work schedule. We did not modify the final rule because we 
do not believe an intermittent work schedule is appropriate for an 
Intern. Employees on an intermittent work schedule do not have a 
regularly-scheduled tour of duty; they have no set hours of duty or 
days of work every week. This is not conducive for students with a set 
academic schedule or for Intern appointments intended to train an 
employee for permanent employment.
Breaks in Program (Sec.  362.203(h))
    Most commenting agencies felt the rule about breaks in program, 
under the SEEP, should be maintained. One agency asked OPM to modify 
the final rule to allow only one break in Program per appointment. 
Rules about breaks in Program are solely at an agency's discretion. 
Therefore, OPM will maintain the current SEEP provisions regarding 
breaks in program.
3. Conversion to the Competitive Service (Sec.  362.204)
    One school suggested OPM remove the 120-day requirement for 
conversion so Interns working during summer months would be eligible 
for conversion upon completion of his or her academic requirements. OPM 
is not adopting this suggestion, as it appears to be based on a 
misunderstanding of how the 120-day period works. The 120-day 
administrative period begins when the Intern completes his or her 
academic course of study. In other words, the agency has 120 days after 
the Intern completes all academic requirements of his or her course of 
study to convert the Intern to the competitive service.
    Several agency commenters asked whether the requirement to complete 
an academic course of study could include a variety of certificate 
programs, e.g., several 2-week programs completed over a period of 2 
years. Short-term training programs that award certificates for 
completion are not considered an academic course of study. Because of 
the many comments received regarding certificate programs, OPM modified 
the regulations to include a definition of ``certificate program'' in 
subpart A.
    One agency asked whether third-party interns (i.e., non-Federal 
interns) can convert directly into the competitive service. The 
Pathways Programs do not allow a non-Federal intern to be directly 
appointed to the competitive service. Up to 320 hours of service as a 
third-party intern, however, counts toward conversion, if the student 
subsequently is appointed to the Internship Program.
    Several agencies asked OPM to clarify the Internship rules 
regarding creditable work experience and waiver of work experience for 
conversion. We agree with the agencies that further clarification of 
the requirements in the proposed rule is in order. Therefore, we

[[Page 28209]]

modified the final rule by restructuring this section as follows: (a) 
Contains the conversion authority; (b) lists the conversion 
requirements an Intern must meet for eligibility, such as 640 hours of 
work experience; and (c) addresses creditable work experience. 
Paragraph (d) contains the waiver provision. Agencies may waive up to 
one-half, which is 320 hours, of the work experience requirement for 
outstanding performers who also have a 3.5 or better grade point 
average. Paragraph (e) makes it clear that agencies may not credit or 
waive, or any combination thereof, more than 320 hours of the 640-hour 
work experience requirement.
    Another agency suggested that agencies should be required to 
document the credit of work experience or waivers. We are not adopting 
this suggestion because agencies have the flexibility to establish such 
a requirement should they choose to do so. Additionally, the Internship 
Program mirrors the existing SEEP, which does not have such a 
requirement.
    Another agency suggested that any experience creditable toward the 
640-hour work experience should be directly related to an Intern's 
career path and academic study. We agree in part. We modified the final 
rule to require that creditable work experience must be comparable to 
the work experience of the Internship appointment. For consistency, we 
did not adopt the suggestion to require the creditable service to 
directly relate to an Intern's academic study because it is not a 
requirement of the Internship Program itself.
    Several agencies asked OPM to modify the final rule to require that 
Interns be rated Fully Successful or above to be eligible for 
conversion. We have not historically expressly stated a minimum rating 
for student conversion and are concerned that by introducing it now, 
there will be confusion about what it means. It is our expectation, 
though, that agencies would only convert students who are performing 
acceptably, as reflected in any formal ratings of record they may have 
achieved.
    One agency suggested OPM lower the Grade Point Average (GPA) 
requirement under the waiver provision for Interns, stating a 3.5 GPA 
requirement to be very restrictive. The agency also suggested that many 
schools no longer use a ranking system. OPM did not adopt this 
suggestion because we believe there must be sufficient support to waive 
one-half of the work requirement. The waiver provision allows agencies 
to waive up to 320 hours of the 640-hour work requirement based 
exclusively on a high potential that must be supported by exceptional 
academic and job performance. Also, this standard mirrors the current 
SCEP standard.
    Another agency asked OPM to change the waiver requirement for 
exceptional job performance by modifying the final rule to state that 
exceptional job performance can be demonstrated by a performance rating 
of Fully Successful or higher. OPM is not accepting this suggestion 
because we do not believe a Fully Successful rating demonstrates 
exceptional job performance. The waiver provision allows agencies to 
waive up to 320 hours of the 640-hour work requirement based 
exclusively on a high potential that must be supported by exceptional 
academic and job performance.
    OPM received several comments simply supporting or opposing the 
credit or waiver of 320 hours of work experience. These comments 
offered nothing further than the simple statement of support or 
opposition, and no response is necessary.
    One agency asked if performance plans are required for Interns. 
Yes, Pathways Participants are Federal employees subject to performance 
management provisions as specified in part 430. OPM modified the final 
rule in Sec.  362.105(h) for clarity.
4. Reduction in Force and Terminations (Sec.  362.205)
    One agency commented that tenure group 0 does not appear in Sec.  
351.502. The agency suggested OPM revise the regulatory text in either 
this section or Sec.  351.502. We are not adopting this suggestion. 
Tenure group 0 is not included in Sec.  351.502 because it is not 
covered by RIF regulations; thus, employees who have a tenure group 
status of 0 have no RIF rights.
    Several agencies asked OPM to clarify tenure codes for Interns. We 
agree with this suggestion and modified the final rule to clearly state 
that Interns hired for more than 1 year are placed in tenure group II; 
temporary Interns (hired not to exceed 1 year) are placed in tenure 
group 0; temporary Interns extended for an additional year are placed 
in tenure group III.
    Several agencies asked OPM to modify the final rule to clarify 
appeal rights for Interns. We did not adopt this suggestion because 
Pathways Interns are Federal employees subject to the same appeal 
rights under chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code as any other 
employee. Since the provisions for appeal rights are covered under 
another rule, we will not restate them under this part.
    One agency suggested that OPM clarify information pertaining to 
termination based on conduct and performance. We are not making this 
change because Pathways Participants are Federal employees and are 
subject to regulations on terminations for conduct and performance in 
parts 432 and 752.

C. Recent Graduates Program (Part 362, Subpart C)

    The rules governing the Recent Graduates Program are in subpart C.
    A union commented that agencies should be required to create 
training solely for Recent Graduates Program Participants that is 
different from the standard training offered to all employees at the 
agency. We agree, as this is the intent of the regulation. Section 
362.301 of the proposed regulation addresses this issue.
    The union also commented that the Recent Graduates Program should 
not permit an agency to hire whole groups of entry-level employees and 
then convert them to term appointments. It would be highly unusual for 
agencies to take the course of action described by the union. The 
intent behind allowing agencies to convert Pathways Participants to 
term appointments is to cover those instances where budgets and other 
workforce requirements preclude an agency from converting an individual 
to a permanent position. Because a term appointment can be made for up 
to 4 years, the agency may be able to recover and subsequently offer 
that term employee a permanent position. Again, agency practices in 
implementing the Pathways Programs will have to comply with the MOU and 
will be subject to OPM oversight, and we will address any concerns 
along the lines of what the union posits in its comment through the MOU 
process.
    Another union commented that eligibility for the Recent Graduates 
Program should be limited to those completing the requirements for 
their degree or certificate within 1 year, rather than 2. The union 
contends that the narrower window keeps the Program's focus on those 
who have graduated most recently. Another commenter specifically 
applauded the 2-year window. The 2-year eligibility window is required 
by the Executive order, and we have no discretion to adopt the 
commenter's suggestion. Moreover, we disagree with the union 
commenter's premise that those having completed their degree or 
certificate requirements within the preceding 2 years are not recent 
graduates. It takes time for many graduates to obtain their first job 
following graduation (months and even years in some cases), so many 
will not have an opportunity to gain much experience during their first 
year

[[Page 28210]]

that would allow them to compete in the normal competitive process in 
year two.
    One agency requested that any individual who graduated between the 
date the Federal Career Intern Program was abolished (February 28, 
2011) and the date these regulations take effect should have an 
extended window of eligibility. We reject this suggestion because the 
Recent Graduates Program was developed independent of the FCIP based on 
OPM's analysis of the Federal Government's ability to recruit, hire, 
and retain students and recent graduates. It would therefore not be 
appropriate to tie eligibility for the Recent Graduates Program in any 
way to the FCIP.
    We are, however, sympathetic to those who graduated during the 
period starting when President Obama issued Executive Order 13562 
(December 27, 2010) through the date these regulations take effect. The 
Executive order directed that this Program be created, and these 
graduates should not be disadvantaged as a result of the length of time 
it takes to issue implementing regulations. Accordingly, we think it is 
fair and equitable to allow anyone who would have become eligible for 
the Recent Graduates Program after the date Executive Order 13562 was 
issued and before the final regulations take effect to have 2 full 
years of eligibility from the date the final regulations take effect. 
We expect this change will have the largest impact on the May 2011 
graduates, who otherwise would have only had 1 year of eligibility 
under the Program. OPM will provide additional instructions in the 
transition guidance.
    One union also emphasized its view that it is important that Recent 
Graduate opportunities apply only to entry-level positions. We agree 
with the commenter and have amended Sec.  362.301 to specifically 
reference entry-level positions.
1. Program Administration (Sec.  362.301)
Mentor (Sec.  362.301(a))
    One agency asked OPM to define what we meant by the requirement to 
assign a mentor from an ``appropriate level'' outside the Recent 
Graduate's chain of command. We have reconsidered this issue and now 
conclude that the level of the mentor assigned should be left solely to 
the agency's discretion. We intend to allow agencies the discretion to 
determine mentor grade levels, as agency decisions can be made based on 
any one of a number of factors such as, on a case-by-case basis, 
according to job series, or according to the grade level of the Recent 
Graduate.
Training (Sec.  362.301(c))
    One agency asked OPM to explain the meaning of ``formal'' training 
in Sec.  362.301(c). For the purposes of the Recent Graduates Program, 
``formal'' training is any structured, career-related training.
2. Eligibility (Sec.  362.302)
    Several agencies requested that OPM clarify the eligibility 
requirements for participation in the Recent Graduates Program. Recent 
Graduates have 2 years from the date they complete their educational 
requirements to apply to the Recent Graduates Program. Applicants who 
apply to Recent Graduates job announcements within the 2-year time 
limit may be considered and appointed even if the appointment occurs 
after the 2-year time limit. As mentioned, we are providing 2 full 
years from the final date of these regulations for anyone graduating 
since the Executive order was issued on December 27, 2010, who 
otherwise meets all of the eligibility requirements of the Recent 
Graduates Program.
    Several agencies asked OPM to provide situational examples on the 
extension of eligibility for veterans in Sec.  362.302(b)(2). OPM will 
issue transition guidance that will contain situational examples to 
clarify how to extend the 2-year eligibility period for veterans 
precluded from applying to the Recent Graduates Program due to military 
service.
    One agency suggested OPM modify the final rule to include Peace 
Corps and VISTA volunteers in the extension of eligibility because of a 
military service obligation provided in Sec.  362.302(b)(2). The 
extension of eligibility was narrowly tailored to address the unique 
circumstances of service members. We are not persuaded that the 
exception should be extended beyond that population, nor is there 
authority to do so under the Executive order.
    One commenter suggested OPM modify the military extension criteria 
to provide a 2-year eligibility period for any veteran completing 
degree requirements while on active duty. We are not adopting this 
suggestion because the requirements of the Executive order are to 
provide an eligibility extension to individuals who enter active 
military duty after completion of their educational requirements.
    One agency asked OPM to allow agencies to extend the eligibility 
period for veterans beyond 6 years. The 6-year window was established 
in the Executive order, and we are without authority to extend it 
further.
    One agency suggested OPM change the eligibility criterion in Sec.  
362.302 from ``completion of all requirements of an academic course of 
study'' to ``must have obtained a qualifying degree.'' The agency 
believes that, as written, the requirements will be administratively 
burdensome to agencies, applicants and educational institutions. It 
also states that the requirement will result in improper appointments 
or inadequate consideration of candidates. Additionally, it states that 
the suggested change aligns more closely with the requirements of the 
Executive order. OPM is not adopting this suggestion because the 
requirement to ``complete all requirements of an academic course of 
study'' has been effective under the current SEEP. Additionally, 
requiring the graduate to be in receipt of the diploma or certificate 
can, in many cases, disadvantage the recent graduate. We understand it 
is not uncommon for individuals to complete their academic course of 
study and then not receive their certificate or degree for months, 
depending on the procedures of the particular school.
    One agency suggested that OPM modify the final rule in Sec.  
362.302 to be consistent with language used in other sections of the 
proposed rule regarding the completion of educational requirements. We 
agree that eligibility criteria should be consistently stated. We have 
modified the final rule in Sec.  362.302 to state the eligibility as 
``2 years from the date all requirements of an academic course of study 
leading to a qualifying associate's, bachelor's, master's, 
professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate 
from a qualifying educational institution are met.'' This generally 
means the individual is considered a Recent Graduate upon completion of 
all required coursework and final exams, not the date the graduate 
receives the degree or certificate.
3. Filling Positions (Sec.  362.303)
Announcements (Sec.  362.303(a))
    One agency suggested that OPM modify the final rule to require 
agencies to fill Recent Graduate positions within a certain time period 
of the announcement, for example 90 or 120 days. We are not adopting 
the agency's suggestion because we do not believe it is appropriate to 
impose a hard deadline on agency hiring actions. For example, we would 
not want to prevent agencies from participating in on campus fall 
recruiting events for positions to be

[[Page 28211]]

filled the following spring, after the candidates graduate.
Appointments (Sec.  362.303(b))
    One agency asked OPM to define ``initial appointment'' as 
referenced in Sec.  362.303(b). For the purposes of Pathways, ``initial 
appointment'' means an individual's first Pathways appointment in any 
particular agency.
    The same agency asked if Recent Graduates appointments can be made 
at the full performance-level of a position. Appointments under the 
Recent Graduates Program may not be made to a full-performance level 
position. Recent Graduate appointments must have career advancement 
opportunities, i.e. they must be career ladder positions.
    Section 362.303(b)(3)(i) through (iv) allows Recent Graduates 
filling certain science, technology, engineering, and mathematics 
(STEM) positions to be appointed up to the GS-11 grade level. An agency 
asked OPM to clarify whether additional occupations, other than STEM, 
would be included to allow initial appointment above the GS-9 grade 
level. They would not.
    The same agency asked OPM to include a list of science, technology, 
engineering, or mathematics (STEM) occupations, as referenced in Sec.  
362.303(b)(3)(ii), in the final rule. OPM refers the agency to the 
listing of STEM occupational families appearing in the Handbook of 
Occupational Groups and Families, available on the OPM Web site.
    Several schools suggested OPM remove the grade-level limitations of 
the Recent Graduates Program to allow work-related experience and 
additional skills to be used to qualify for appointment up to a GS-12. 
OPM is not adopting this suggestion because the point of this Program 
is to allow individuals to qualify for jobs based solely on their 
education.
Extensions (Sec.  362.303(c))
    Several agencies suggested OPM include a provision in the final 
rules allowing OPM to approve appointment extensions, not to exceed 1 
year, for Recent Graduate appointments. OPM is not adopting this 
suggestion because the Executive order does not provide OPM the 
authority to do so. Recent Graduate appointments may only be extended 
up to a period of 120 days under the employing agencies' procedures. 
Agencies may, of course, continue to provide training, mentoring, and 
career development opportunities at their discretion.
Qualifications (Sec.  362.303(d))
    Section 362.303(d) requires agencies to fill Recent Graduates 
positions using the OPM Qualification Standard for the position being 
filled. Several agencies asked OPM to modify the final rule to allow 
the use of agency-developed qualification standards. We are not 
adopting this suggestion because we do not have the authority to do so 
under the Executive order, which requires use of OPM Qualification 
Standards.
Promotions (Sec.  362.303(e))
    One agency suggested OPM add a provision to allow agencies to make 
accelerated promotions for Recent Graduates. We are not adopting this 
suggestion. The purpose of the Program is to provide a developmental 
experience designed to lead to a Federal career. Accelerated promotions 
are not consistent with the purpose of the Recent Graduates Program.
Trial Period (Sec.  362.303(f))
    One agency asked OPM to clarify trial period for Recent Graduates. 
Specifically, the agency requested clarification of the reference to 
Sec.  315.802 which applies to probationary periods in the competitive 
service. Because recent graduates must work for at least one year prior 
to conversion, they will have completed their probationary period upon 
conversion. No further trial period following conversion is available.
4. Movement Between Agencies (Sec.  362.304)
    Several agencies asked OPM to clarify the provisions in Sec.  
362.304. Specifically, they asked if the new agency can require the 
Recent Graduates to begin a new employment period for conversion 
eligibility. An agency that hires a current Recent Graduate into its 
Program cannot require the Recent Graduate to start a new Recent 
Graduate appointment. The agency must convert the Recent Graduate 
without a break in service, and the employee will be eligible for 
conversion upon completion of the gaining agency's Program plus any 
agency-approved extension not to exceed 120 days. This applies 
regardless of the position series the Recent Graduate is appointed to 
in either agency.
5. Reduction in Force and Terminations (Sec.  362.305)
    One agency suggested OPM clarify information pertaining to 
termination of employment based on conduct and performance. Another 
suggested we add language pertaining to appeal rights for Recent 
Graduates. OPM is not adopting these suggestions because regulatory 
guidance on terminations for conduct and performance and appeal rights 
can be found in parts 432 and 752, respectively.
6. Conversion to the Competitive Service (Sec.  362.306)
    Several agencies asked OPM to modify the final rule to allow the 
use of agency-developed qualification standards for conversion to 
positions in the competitive service. We are not adopting this 
suggestion because we do not have the authority to do so under the 
Executive order, which requires use of OPM Qualification Standards. 
Recent Graduates must meet the OPM Qualification Standards for the 
position to which he or she will be converted. On the rare occasions 
where we have provided for agency-specific qualification standard, for 
a competitive service position, we are considering that to be an OPM 
Qualification Standard that agencies may use.
    One agency asked OPM to specify time-in-grade (TIG) requirements 
for promotion at the time of conversion. We are not adopting this 
suggestion. Generally, excepted service employees are not subject to 
the TIG requirements of the competitive service. However, Recent 
Graduates are subject to the OPM Qualification Standards. This means 
that in order to promote a Recent Graduate, he or she would have to 
meet the specialized experience requirement of the applicable 
qualification standard, which is generally 1 year. The same 
requirements apply when converting the Recent Graduate to a competitive 
service position. For example, a GS-9 Recent Graduate would need 1 year 
of specialized experience at the GS-9 level at the time of conversion 
to be converted to a GS-11 position in the competitive service.
    Several schools recommended OPM include a provision in the final 
rule to require conversion to the competitive service upon completion 
of the Recent Graduates Program. OPM is not adopting this suggestion 
because we believe conversion decisions should be based on the 
individual and the needs of the agency. We encourage agencies, however, 
to conduct sound workforce planning so that adequate conversion 
opportunities are available for Recent Graduates.
    Recent Graduates must be rated under an agency's approved 
performance appraisal system as at least Fully Successful (or 
equivalent) to be eligible for conversion to the competitive service. 
One agency suggested OPM add requirements to clarify how performance 
will be evaluated when a

[[Page 28212]]

Recent Graduate moves to another agency. OPM is not adopting this 
suggestion, because no special rule applies to Recent Graduates. 
Rather, Recent Graduates are Federal employees subject to the 
performance management requirements specified in part 430 of 5 CFR.

D. Presidential Management Fellows Program (Part 362, Subpart D)

    The proposed regulations set forth the rules governing the PMF 
Program in subpart D. OPM received several comments simply supporting 
or opposing the elimination of the school nomination process. A union 
urged OPM to retain the school nomination process. The union argues the 
nomination process is the key to maintaining the PMF as a rigorous, 
prestigious program. It suggested that OPM regulate standards for 
schools to apply when making nominations. It also cited anecdotal 
evidence that OPM's assessment process is more burdensome than the 
school nomination process. A good government group and an academic 
group commented in favor of the elimination of the nomination process. 
We agree with these commenters, rather than the union commenter. We do 
not believe that the school nomination process is critical any longer. 
It may be subject to inconsistent application and, for those schools 
not as familiar with how the PMF Program operates, has served as a 
barrier to application for qualified students, according to reports we 
have received from students at those institutions. Moreover, we have 
revamped our PMF assessment process to include, among other things, an 
interview process that has been professionally developed and validated 
by our industrial psychologists. Our new assessment process ensures 
that the PMF Program will remain a rigorous and prestigious program 
that uses a valid, professionally-developed selection process. Finally, 
as the academic commenter notes, the new eligibility rules for PMF 
allow an individual to participate up to 2 years after having obtained 
a degree. There would be substantial practical obstacles for schools to 
manage a nomination process that includes alumni, and for the alumni--
who may now be very far away from campus--to participate in any such 
process.
1. Program Administration (Sec.  362.402)
    One agency objected to subparagraph (d), which requires agencies to 
allow Fellows assigned to field locations to do a developmental 
rotation to agency headquarters and to allow Fellows to attend Federal 
Executive Board-sanctioned activities in their region. The agency asked 
OPM to modify the final rule by changing the word ``must'' to 
``should'' or ``OPM highly recommends.'' The agency believes the 
current language places expectations on agencies that may be difficult 
to meet or inappropriate. We agree with the agency and modified the 
final rule to comport with this suggestion.
2. Announcement, Eligibility and Selection (Sec.  362.403)
    Several agencies asked OPM to clarify the new eligibility criteria 
for PMFs. To clarify, individuals are eligible to apply to the PMF 
Program up to 2 years from the date of completion of the educational 
requirements for a professional or graduate degree. A PMF finalist may 
be appointed without regard to the time limit for application. For 
example, an individual could apply for the PMF Program a year and a 
half after completing his or her advanced degree. If the individual is 
selected as a finalist but does not receive an employment offer until 
two and a half years after completion of the degree, the individual may 
be appointed as a PMF. OPM is not establishing a limit on the number of 
times a graduate may apply to the PMF Program. However, a PMF finalist 
who chooses to reapply to a future announcement will be removed from 
the current finalist list and must successfully compete for placement 
on the new finalist list.
3. Appointment and Extension (Sec.  362.404)
    Several agencies suggested OPM include a provision in the final 
rules allowing OPM to approve extensions of PMF appointments, not to 
exceed 1 year. OPM is not adopting this suggestion because the 
Executive order does not provide OPM the authority to do so. PMF 
appointments may only be extended up to a period of 120 days under the 
employing agencies' procedures. Agencies should only extend 
appointments under rare and unusual circumstances. The extension period 
should not be used as a standard practice to accommodate the processing 
of personnel actions.
4. Development, Evaluation, Promotion, and Certification (Sec.  
362.405)
    Most commenting agencies objected to the requirement that PMF 
mentors be in the Senior Executive Service (SES). OPM is persuaded by 
these comments. Talented mentors exist at the non-SES levels, and SES 
mentors may not be available in certain agency field locations. We 
adjusted the regulation to require a mentor to be a ``managerial 
employee outside the PMF's chain of command.''
    A majority of agencies asked OPM to modify the provisions of 
paragraph (b)(6) that require agencies to provide PMFs to assist in the 
assessment process of new PMF applicants at the agency's expense. OPM 
agrees and has removed the provision requiring agencies to cover the 
expenses associated with providing PMF assessors.
5. Withdrawal and Readmission (Sec.  362.407)
    One agency asked OPM if the last sentence of paragraph (a)(1) 
regarding reimbursement of the placement fee, was misplaced and should 
in fact be part of Sec.  362.406, Movement between agencies. The agency 
is correct. We have modified the final rule by placing the sentence in 
Sec.  362.406(d). The agency also asked OPM to clarify who would 
reimburse the original appointing agency, OPM or the gaining agency. 
The original appointing agency may request reimbursement from the 
gaining agency, not OPM.

Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget has reviewed this rule in 
accordance with E.O. 13563 and E.O. 12866.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document does not contain proposed information collection 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 
104-13.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that these regulations will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they 
will apply only to Federal agencies and employees.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Parts 213, 302, 315, 330, 334, 362, 531, 
536, 537, 550, 575, and 890

    Administrative practices and procedures, Colleges and universities, 
Employment, Government employees, Military personnel, Students, 
Veterans.

    U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
John Berry,
Director.
    Accordingly, the Office of Personnel Management is amending 5 CFR 
chapter I as follows:

PART 213--EXCEPTED SERVICE

0
1. The authority citation for part 213 is revised to read as follows:


[[Page 28213]]


    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 3161, 3301 and 3302; E.O. 10577, 3 CFR 
1954-1958 Comp., p. 218; E.O. 13562. Sec. 213.101 also issued under 
5 U.S.C. 2103. Sec. 213.3102 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3301, 3302, 
3307, 8337(h), and 8456; 38 U.S.C. 4301 et seq.; and Pub. L. 105-
339, 112 Stat. 3182-83.

Subpart A--General Provisions

0
2. Revise Sec.  213.102 to read as follows:


Sec.  213.102  Identification of positions in Schedule A, B, C, or D

    (a) As provided in 5 U.S.C. 3302, the President may prescribe rules 
governing the competitive service. The rules shall provide, as nearly 
as conditions of good administration warrant, for--
    (1) Necessary exceptions of positions from the competitive service; 
and
    (2) Necessary exceptions from the provisions of sections 2951, 
3304(a), 3321, 7202, and 7203 of title 5, U.S. Code.
    (b) The President delegated authority to the Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM) in Civil Service Rule VI to except positions from the 
competitive service when OPM determines that:
    (1) Appointments thereto through competitive examination are not 
practicable; or
    (2) Recruitment from among students attending qualifying 
educational institutions or individuals who have recently completed 
qualifying educational programs can better be achieved by devising 
additional means for recruiting and assessing candidates that diverge 
from the processes generally applicable to the competitive service.
    (3)(i) Upon determining that any position or group of positions, as 
defined in Sec.  302.101(c), should be excepted indefinitely or 
temporarily from the competitive service, the Office of Personnel 
Management will authorize placement of the position or group of 
positions into Schedule A, B, C, or D, as applicable. Unless otherwise 
specified in a particular appointing authority, an agency may make 
Schedule A, B, C, or D appointments on either a permanent or 
nonpermanent basis, with any appropriate work schedule (i.e., full-
time, part-time, seasonal, on-call, or intermittent).
    (ii) When OPM establishes eligibility requirements (e.g., 
residence, family income) for appointment under particular Schedule A, 
B, or D exceptions, an individual's eligibility for appointment must be 
determined before appointment and without regard to any conditions that 
will result from the appointment.
    (c) For purposes of making any such determinations, positions 
includes:
    (1) Those that are intended to be removed indefinitely from the 
competitive service because the nature of the position itself precludes 
it from being in the competitive service (e.g., because it is 
impracticable to examine for the knowledge, skills, and abilities 
required for the job); and
    (2) Those that are intended to be removed temporarily from the 
competitive service to allow for targeted recruiting and hiring from 
among a particular class of persons, as defined by the Office of 
Personnel Management, with the opportunity for the persons selected for 
those positions to convert to the competitive service at a later date.

0
3. In Sec.  213.103, revise the section heading and paragraph (a) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  213.103  Publication of excepted appointing authorities in 
Schedules A, B, C, and D.

    (a) Schedule A, B, C, and D appointing authorities available for 
use by all agencies will be published as regulations in the Federal 
Register and the Code of Federal Regulations.
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  213.104, revise the section heading, paragraph (a) 
introductory text, and paragraphs (a)(1), (b)(1), (b)(2), and 
(b)(3)(ii) to read as follows:


Sec.  213.104  Special provisions for temporary, time-limited, 
intermittent, or seasonal appointments in Schedule A, B, C, or D.

    (a) When OPM specifies that appointments under a particular 
Schedule A, B, C, or D authority must be temporary, intermittent, or 
seasonal, or when agencies elect to make temporary, intermittent, or 
seasonal appointments in Schedule A, B, C, or D, those terms have the 
following meaning:
    (1) Temporary appointments, unless otherwise specified in a 
particular Schedule A, B, C, or D exception, are made for a specified 
period not to exceed 1 year and are subject to the time limits in 
paragraph (b) of this section. Time-limited appointments made for more 
than 1 year are not considered to be temporary appointments, and are 
not subject to these time limits.
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) Service limits. Agencies may make temporary appointments for a 
period not to exceed 1 year, unless the applicable Schedule A, B, C, or 
D authority specifies a shorter period. Except as provided in paragraph 
(b)(3) of this section, agencies may extend temporary appointments for 
no more than 1 additional year (24 months of total service). 
Appointment to a successor position (i.e., a position that replaces and 
absorbs the original position) is considered to be an extension of the 
original appointment. Appointment to a position involving the same 
basic duties, in the same major subdivision of the agency, and in the 
same local commuting area is also considered to be an extension of the 
original appointment.
    (2) Restrictions on refilling positions under temporary 
appointments. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, 
an agency may not fill any position (or its successor) by a temporary 
appointment in Schedule A, B, C, or D if that position had previously 
been filled by temporary appointment(s) in either the competitive or 
excepted service for an aggregate of 2 years, or 24 months, within the 
preceding 3-year period. This limitation does not apply to programs 
established to provide for systematic exchange between a Federal agency 
and non-Federal organizations.
    (3) * * *
    (ii) Positions are filled under an authority established for the 
purpose of enabling the appointees to continue or enhance their 
education, or to meet academic or professional qualification 
requirements. These include the authorities set out in paragraphs (r) 
and (s) of Sec.  213.3102 and paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of Sec.  
213.3402, and authorities granted to individual agencies for use in 
connection with internship, fellowship, residency, or student programs.
* * * * *

Subpart C--Excepted Schedules

0
5. In Sec.  213.3102, remove and reserve paragraphs (ii) and (jj).


Sec.  213.3102  Entire executive civil service.

* * * * *
    (ii) [Reserved]
    (jj) [Reserved]
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  213.3202, remove and reserve paragraphs (a), (b), and (o).


Sec.  213.3202  Entire executive civil service.

    (a) [Reserved]
    (b) [Reserved]
* * * * *
    (o) [Reserved]
* * * * *

0
7. After Sec.  213.3302, add a new undesignated center heading and 
Sec.  213.3401 and Sec.  213.3402 to read as follows:

[[Page 28214]]

Schedule D


Sec.  213.3401  Positions other than those of a confidential or policy 
determining character for which the competitive service requirements 
make impracticable the adequate recruitment of sufficient numbers of 
students attending qualifying educational institutions or individuals 
who have recently completed qualifying educational programs.

    As authorized by OPM, agencies may make appointments under this 
section to positions other than those of a confidential or policy-
determining character for which the competitive service requirements 
make impracticable the adequate recruitment and selection of sufficient 
numbers of students attending qualifying educational institutions or 
individuals who have recently completed qualifying educational 
programs. These positions, which may be filled in the excepted service 
to enable more effective recruitment from all segments of society by 
using means of recruiting and assessing candidates that diverge from 
the rules generally applicable to the competitive service, constitute 
Schedule D Pathways Programs. Appointments under this authority are 
subject to the basic qualification standards established by the Office 
of Personnel Management for the occupation and grade level unless 
otherwise stated.


Sec.  213.3402  Entire executive civil service; Pathways Programs.

    (a) Internship Program; Positions in the Internship Program. 
Agencies may make initial appointments of Interns under this authority 
at any grade level, depending on the candidates' qualifications. 
Appointments must be made in accordance with the provisions of subpart 
B of part 362 of this chapter.
    (b) Recent Graduates Program; Positions in the Recent Graduates 
Program. (1) Agencies may make initial appointments of Recent Graduates 
at any grade level, not to exceed GS-09 (or equivalent level under 
another pay and classification system, including the Federal Wage 
System (FWS)), depending on the candidates' qualifications, and the 
position's requirements except that:
    (i) Initial appointments to positions for science, technology, 
engineering, or mathematics (STEM) occupations may be made at the GS-11 
level, if the candidate possesses a Ph.D. or equivalent degree directly 
related to the STEM position the agency is seeking to fill.
    (ii) Initial appointments to scientific and professional research 
positions at the GS-11 level for which the classification and 
qualification criteria for research positions apply, if the candidate 
possesses a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree directly 
related to the position the agency is seeking to fill.
    (iii) Initial appointments to scientific and professional research 
positions at the GS-12 level for which the classification and 
qualification criteria for research positions apply, if the candidate 
possesses a Ph.D. or equivalent degree directly related to the position 
the agency is seeking to fill.
    (2) Appointments must be made in accordance with the provisions of 
subpart C of part 362 of this chapter.
    (c) Presidential Management Fellows Program. Positions in the 
Presidential Management Fellows Program. Appointments under this 
authority may not exceed 2 years except as provided in subpart D of 
part 362 of this chapter. Agencies may make initial appointments of 
Fellows at the GS-09, GS-11, or GS-12 level (or equivalent under 
another pay and classification system such as the FWS), depending on 
the candidates' qualifications and the positions' requirements. 
Appointments must be made in accordance with the provisions of subpart 
D of part 362 of this chapter.

PART 302--EMPLOYMENT IN THE EXCEPTED SERVICE

0
8. The authority citation for part 302 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 1302, 3301, 3302, 8151, E.O. 10577 (3 CFR 
1954-1958 Comp., p. 218); Sec.  302.105 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
1104, Pub. L. 95-454, sec. 3(5); Sec.  302.501 also issued under 5 
U.S.C. 7701 et seq.


0
9. In Sec.  302.101, remove paragraph (c)(8) and redesignate paragraphs 
(c)(9) through (11) as paragraphs (c)(8) through (10), respectively.

PART 315--CAREER AND CAREER-CONDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT

0
10. The authority citation for part 315 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 1302, 3301, and 3302; E.O. 10577, 3 CFR, 
1954-1958 Comp. p. 218, unless otherwise noted; and E.O. 13562. 
Secs. 315.601 and 315.609 also issued under 22 U.S.C. 3651 and 3652. 
Secs. 315.602 and 315.604 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 1104. Sec. 
315.603 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 8151. Sec. 315.605 also issued 
under E.O. 12034, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp. p. 111. Sec. 315.606 also issued 
under E.O. 11219, 3 CFR, 1964-1965 Comp. p. 303. Sec. 315.607 also 
issued under 22 U.S.C. 2506. Sec. 315.608 also issued under E.O. 
12721, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp. p. 293. Sec. 315.610 also issued under 5 
U.S.C. 3304(c). Sec. 315.611 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3304(f). 
Sec. 315.612 also issued under E.O. 13473. Sec. 315.710 also issued 
under E.O. 12596, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp. p. 229. Subpart I also issued 
under 5 U.S.C. 3321, E.O. 12107, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp. p. 264.

Subpart B--The Career-Conditional Employment System

0
11. In Sec.  315.201, revise paragraphs (b)(1)(ix), (b)(1)(xiii), and 
(b)(1)(xix) and add paragraphs (b)(1)(xx), (b)(1)(xxi), and 
(b)(1)(xxii) to read as follows:


Sec.  315.201  Service requirement for career tenure.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ix) The date of nontemporary excepted appointment under Sec.  
213.3202(b) of this chapter (the former Student Career Experience 
Program) as in effect immediately before the effective date of the 
regulations removing that paragraph, provided the student's appointment 
is converted to career or career-conditional appointment under 
Executive Order 12015, with or without an intervening term appointment, 
and without a break in service of one day.
* * * * *
    (xiii) The date of appointment as a Participant in the Presidential 
Management Fellows Program under the provisions of Executive Order 
13318, provided the employee's appointment is converted without a break 
in service to career or career-conditional appointment under Sec.  
315.708 as in effect immediately before the effective date of the 
regulations that removed and reserved that section;
* * * * *
    (xix) Appointment as a career intern under Schedule B, Sec.  
213.3202(o) of this chapter, provided the employee's appointment is 
converted to career or career-conditional appointment under Sec.  
315.712 as in effect immediately before the effective date of the 
regulations that removed and reserved that section;
    (xx) The date of appointment as a Pathways Participant in the 
Internship Program under Schedule D, Sec.  213.3402(a) of this chapter, 
provided the employee's appointment is converted to career or career-
conditional appointment under Sec.  315.713(a), with or without an 
intervening term appointment, and without a break in service of one 
day;
    (xxi) The date of appointment as a Pathways Participant in the 
Recent Graduates Program under Schedule D, Sec.  213.3402(b) of this 
chapter, provided the employee's appointment is converted to career or 
career-conditional appointment under Sec.  315.713(b), with or

[[Page 28215]]

without an intervening term appointment, and without a break in service 
of one day; and
    (xxii) The date of appointment as a Pathways Participant in the 
Presidential Management Fellows Program under Schedule D, Sec.  
213.3402(c) of this chapter, provided the employee's appointment is 
converted to career or career-conditional appointment under Sec.  
315.713(c), with or without an intervening term appointment, and 
without a break in service of one day.
* * * * *

Subpart G--Conversion to Career or Career-Conditional Employment 
From Other Types of Employment


Sec.  315.708  [Removed and Reserved]

0
12a. Remove and reserve Sec.  315.708.


Sec.  315.712  [Removed and Reserved]

0
12b. Remove and reserve Sec.  315.712.

0
12c. Add a new Sec.  315.713 to subpart G to read as follows:


Sec.  315.713  Conversion based on service in a Pathways Program under 
part 362 of this chapter.

    (a) Agency authority. An agency may convert to a career or career-
conditional employment in the competitive service, without further 
competition, the following Pathways Participants:
    (1) An Intern who has satisfactorily completed the Internship 
Program and meets all eligibility requirements for conversion under 
subpart B of part 362 of this chapter;
    (2) A Recent Graduate who has satisfactorily completed the Recent 
Graduates Program and meets all eligibility requirements for conversion 
under subpart C of part 362 of this chapter; and
    (3) A Presidential Management Fellow who has satisfactorily 
completed the Fellows Program and meets all eligibility requirements 
for conversion under subpart D of part 362 of this chapter.
    (b) Tenure on conversion. An employee whose appointment is 
converted to career or career-conditional employment under this section 
becomes:
    (1) A career-conditional employee except as provided in paragraph 
(b)(2) of this section;
    (2) A career employee when he or she has completed the service 
requirement for career tenure or is excepted from it by Sec.  
315.201(c).
    (c) Acquisition of competitive status. A Pathways Participant 
converted to career or career-conditional employment in the competitive 
service under this section acquires competitive status upon completion 
of probation.

PART 330--RECRUITMENT, SELECTION, AND PLACEMENT (GENERAL)

0
13. The authority citation for part 330 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 1104, 1302, 3301, 3302, 3304, and 3330; 
E.O. 10577, 3 CFR, 1954-58 Comp., p. 218; Section 330.103 also 
issued under 5 U.S.C. 3327; Subpart B also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
3315 and 8151; Section 330.401 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3310; 
Subparts F and G also issued under Presidential Memorandum on Career 
Transition Assistance for Federal Employees, September 12, 1995; 
Subpart G also issued under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) and 8456(b).


0
14. In Sec.  330.211, revise paragraph (f)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  330.211  Exceptions to RPL placement priority.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (3) An excepted service appointment under part 213 of this chapter;
* * * * *

0
15. In Sec.  330.609, revise paragraph (e)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  330.609  Exceptions to CTAP selection priority.

* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (3) Make an excepted service appointment under part 213 of this 
chapter;
* * * * *

0
16. In Sec.  330.707, revise paragraph (h)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  330.707  Exceptions to ICTAP selection priority.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (3) An excepted service appointment under part 213 of this chapter;
* * * * *

PART 334--TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENTS UNDER THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL 
PERSONNEL ACT (IPA)

0
17. The authority citation for part 334 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 3376; E.O. 11589, 3 CFR 557 (1971-1975).


0
18. In Sec.  334.102 revise the definition of employee to read as 
follows:


Sec.  334.102  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Employee, for purposes of participation in this Program, means an 
individual serving in a Federal agency under a career or career-
conditional appointment, including a career appointee in the Senior 
Executive Service, an individual under an appointment of equivalent 
tenure in an excepted service position, or an individual employed for 
at least 90 days in a career position with a State, local, or Indian 
tribal government, institution of higher education, or other eligible 
organization;
* * * * *

0
19. Revise part 362 to read as follows:

PART 362--PATHWAYS PROGRAMS

Subpart A--General Provisions
Sec.
362.101 Program administration.
362.102 Definitions.
362.103 Authority.
362.104 Agency requirements.
362.105 Filling positions.
362.106 Participant Agreement.
362.107 Conversion to the competitive service.
362.108 Program oversight.
362.109 Reporting requirements.
362.110 Transition.
Subpart B--Internship Program
362.201 Agency authority.
362.202 Definitions.
362.203 Filling positions.
362.204 Conversion to the competitive service.
362.205 Reduction in force and termination.
Subpart C--Recent Graduates Program
362.301 Program administration.
362.302 Eligibility.
362.303 Filling positions.
362.304 Movement between agencies.
362.305 Conversion to the competitive service.
362.306 Reduction in force and termination.
Subpart D--Presidential Management Fellows Program
362.401 Definitions.
362.402 Program administration.
362.403 Announcement, eligibility, and selection.
362.404 Appointment and extension.
362.405 Development, evaluation, promotion, and certification.
362.406 Movement between agencies.
362.407 Withdrawal and readmission.
362.408 Termination and reduction in force.
362.409 Conversion to the competitive service.

    Authority:  E.O. 13562, 75 FR 82585. 3 CFR, 2010 Comp., p. 291

Subpart A--General Provisions


Sec.  362.101  Program administration.

    (a) The Pathways Programs authorized under Executive Order 13562 
consist of the following three Programs:
    (1) The Internship Program;

[[Page 28216]]

    (2) The Recent Graduates Program; and
    (3) The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program.
    (b) An agency may rename the Programs specified in paragraphs 
(a)(1) through (3) of this section, provided that the agency-specific 
name includes the Pathways Program name identified in paragraph (a) of 
this section, e.g., Treasury Internship Program.
    (c) Agencies must provide for equal employment opportunity in the 
Pathways Programs without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, 
sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, age, 
disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other non-
merit-based factor.


Sec.  362.102  Definitions.

    For the purposes of this part:
    Advanced degree means a professional or graduate degree, e.g. 
master's, Ph.D., J.D.
    Agency means an agency as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105, and the 
Government Printing Office.
    Certificate program means post-secondary education, in a qualifying 
educational institution, equivalent to at least one academic year of 
full-time study that is part of an accredited college-level, technical, 
trade, vocational, or business school curriculum.
    Director means the Director of OPM or his or her designee.
    OPM means the Office of Personnel Management.
    Participant Agreement means a written agreement between the agency 
and each Pathways Participant.
    Program Participant or Pathways Participant means any individual 
appointed under a Pathways Program.
    Qualifying educational institution means--
    (1) A public high school whose curriculum has been approved by a 
State or local governing body, a private school that provides secondary 
education as determined under State law, or a homeschool that is 
allowed to operate in a State; and
    (2) Any of the following educational institutions or curricula that 
have been accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary 
of the U.S. Department of Education:
    (i) A technical or vocational school;
    (ii) A 2-year or 4-year college or university;
    (iii) A graduate or professional school (e.g., law school, medical 
school); or
    (iv) A post-secondary homeschool curriculum.


Sec.  362.103  Authority.

    An agency may make an appointment under this part to a position 
defined in Sec.  213.3402 of this chapter, provided a Memorandum of 
Understanding between the head of the agency or his or her designee and 
OPM is in effect.


Sec.  362.104  Agency requirements.

    (a) Memorandum of Understanding. In order to make any appointment 
under a Pathways authority, a Memorandum of Understanding (Pathways 
MOU) must be in effect between the head of an agency, or his or her 
designee, and OPM for the administration and use of Pathways Programs, 
to be re-executed no less frequently than every 2 years.
    (b) The Director may revoke an agency's Pathways MOU when agency 
use of these Programs is inconsistent with Executive Order 13562, this 
part, or the Pathways MOU.
    (c) The Pathways MOU must:
    (1) Include information about any agency-specific program labels 
that will be used, subject to the Federal naming conventions identified 
in Sec.  362.101 (e.g., OPM Internship Program);
    (2) State the delegations of authority for the agency's use of the 
Pathways Programs (e.g., department-wide vs. bureaus or components);
    (3) Include any implementing policy or guidance that the agency 
determines would facilitate successful implementation and 
administration for each Pathways Program;
    (4) Prescribe criteria and procedures for agency-approved 
extensions for Recent Graduates and PMFs, not to exceed 120 days. 
Extension criteria should be limited to circumstances that would render 
the agency's compliance with the regulations impracticable or 
impossible;
    (5) Describe how the agency will design, implement, and document 
formal training and/or development, as well as the type and duration of 
assignments, and necessary exceptions for short term temporary work, 
such as summer jobs;
    (6) Include a commitment from the agency to:
    (i) Provide to OPM any information it requests on the agency's 
Pathways Programs;
    (ii) Adhere to any caps on the Pathways Programs imposed by the 
Director;
    (iii) Provide information to OPM about opportunities for 
individuals interested in participating in the Pathways Programs, as 
required by this part;
    (iv) Ensure adherence to the requirements for accepting 
applications, assessing applicants, rating and ranking qualified 
candidates, and affording veterans' preference in accordance with the 
provisions of part 302; and
    (v) Provide a meaningful on-boarding process for each Pathways 
Program;
    (7) Identify the agency's Pathways Programs Officer (PPO), who:
    (i) Must be in a position at the agency's headquarters level, or at 
the headquarters level of a departmental component, in a position at or 
higher than grade 12 of the General Schedule (GS) (or the equivalent 
under the Federal Wage System (FWS) or another pay and classification 
system);
    (ii) Is responsible for administering the agency's Pathways 
Programs, including coordinating the recruitment and on-boarding 
process for Pathways Programs Participants, and coordinating the 
agency's Pathways Programs plan with agency stakeholders and other 
hiring plans (e.g., merit promotion plans, plans for hiring people with 
disabilities);
    (iii) Serves as a liaison with OPM by providing updates on the 
agency's implementation of its Pathways Programs, clarifying technical 
or programmatic issues, sharing agency best practices, and other 
similar duties; and
    (iv) Reports to OPM on the agency's implementation of its Pathways 
Programs and individuals hired under these Programs, in conjunction 
with the agency's Pathways MOU; and
    (8) Identify the agency's PMF coordinator responsible for 
administering the agency PMF Program and serving as a liaison with OPM.


Sec.  362.105  Filling positions.

    (a) Workforce Planning. Before filling any positions under these 
Programs, agencies should include measures in their workforce planning 
to ensure that an adequate number of permanent positions will be 
available to convert Pathways Participants who successfully complete 
their Programs.
    (b) Announcements. When an agency accepts applications from 
individuals outside its own workforce, it must provide OPM information 
concerning Pathways Programs job opportunities as provided in each 
Pathways Program. For the purposes of this paragraph, ``agency'' means 
an Executive agency as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105 and the Government 
Printing Office. An Executive department may treat each of its bureaus 
or components (first major subdivision that is separately organized and 
clearly distinguished from other bureaus or components in work function 
and operation) as a separate agency or as part of one agency, but

[[Page 28217]]

must do so consistent with its Delegated Examining Agreement.
    (c) Appointments. (1) Agencies must fill positions under the 
Pathways Programs using the excepted service appointing authority 
provided by Sec.  213.3402 (a), (b), or (c) of this chapter, as 
applicable.
    (2) Agencies must follow the procedures of part 302 of this chapter 
when filling a position under a Pathways Program.
    (3) Appointments are subject to all the requirements and conditions 
governing term, career, or career-conditional employment, including 
investigation to establish an appointee's qualifications and 
suitability.
    (d) Eligibility. Except as set forth in this section, eligibility 
requirements for appointment under a Pathways Program are specified in 
each Pathways Program.
    (e) Citizenship. (1) An agency may appoint a non-citizen provided 
that:
    (i) The Pathways Participant is lawfully admitted to the United 
States as a permanent resident or is otherwise authorized to be 
employed; and
    (ii) The agency is authorized to pay aliens under the annual 
Appropriations Act ban and any agency-specific enabling and 
appropriation statutes.
    (2) A Pathways Participant must be a United States citizen to be 
eligible for noncompetitive conversion to the competitive service.
    (f) Employment of relatives. In accordance with part 310 of this 
chapter, a Pathways Participant may work in the same agency with a 
relative when there is no direct reporting relationship and the 
relative is not in a position to influence or control the Participant's 
appointment, employment, promotion or advancement within the agency.
    (g) Length of Appointments. Except as provided in subpart B, Recent 
Graduate and PMF appointments under this authority may not exceed 2 
years plus any agency-approved extension of up to 120 days.
    (h) Terminations. An agency may terminate a Pathways Participant 
for reasons including misconduct, poor performance, or suitability 
under the provisions of this chapter.
    (i) Performance and progress evaluation. Each Participant must be 
placed on a performance plan, as prescribed by part 430 of this chapter 
or other applicable law or regulation, establishing performance 
elements and standards that are directly related to acquiring and 
demonstrating the various leadership, technical, and/or general 
competencies expected of the Participant, as well as the elements and 
standards established for the duties assigned.
    (j) Compensation. The rules for setting pay upon the initial 
appointment of a Participant are governed by the pay administration 
rules of the pay system or pay plan of the Participant's position under 
the Pathways program. In determining the Participant's compensation, 
agencies may also use any applicable pay flexibilities available under 
that pay system or pay plan (e.g., recruitment, relocation, and 
retention incentives under part 575 of this chapter; student loan 
repayments under part 537; and, for General Schedule positions, special 
rates under part 530, subpart C, and the superior qualifications and 
special needs pay setting authority and the maximum payable rate rule 
under part 531, subpart B).


Sec.  362.106  Participant Agreement.

    Agencies must execute a written Participant Agreement with each 
Pathways Participant that clearly identifies expectations, including 
but not limited to:
    (a) A general description of duties;
    (b) Work schedules;
    (c) The length of the appointment and termination date;
    (d) Mentorship opportunities;
    (e) Training requirements as applicable;
    (f) Evaluation procedures that will be used for the Participant;
    (g) Requirements for continuation and successful completion of the 
Program; and
    (h) Minimum eligibility requirements for noncompetitive conversion 
to term or permanent competitive service employment according to the 
requirements of the applicable Pathways Program.


Sec.  362.107  Conversion to the competitive service.

    (a) Subject to any limits on conversion imposed by the Director, 
and in accordance with the provisions of each Pathways Program, an 
agency may noncompetitively convert an eligible Pathways Participant to 
a term or permanent competitive service position.
    (b) A Pathways Participant who is noncompetitively converted to a 
competitive service term appointment may be subsequently converted 
noncompetitively to a permanent competitive service position.
    (c) Noncompetitive conversion. (1) An Intern may be converted to a 
position within the employing agency or any other agency within the 
Federal Government.
    (2) A Recent Graduate or Presidential Management Fellow may be 
converted within the employing agency. Agencies may not convert Recent 
Graduates or Presidential Management Fellows from other agencies.
    (d) The provisions of the career transition assistance programs in 
subparts B, F and G of part 330 of this chapter do not apply to 
conversions made under this part.
    (e) Time spent serving as a Pathways Participant counts towards 
career tenure when the individual is noncompetitively converted to a 
permanent position in the competitive service upon completion of the 
Program, with or without an intervening term appointment, and without a 
break in service of one day.
    (f) Though Pathways Participants are eligible for noncompetitive 
conversion to the competitive service upon successful completion of 
their Program and any other applicable conversion requirements, service 
in a Pathways Program confers no right to further employment in either 
the competitive or excepted service. An agency wishing to convert a 
Pathways Participant must therefore execute the required actions to do 
so.


Sec.  362.108  Program oversight.

    (a) The Director may establish caps on the number of Pathways 
Participants who may be appointed or converted in any Pathways Program 
within a specific agency or throughout the Federal Government.
    (b) The Director may establish such caps based on agency or 
Governmentwide use of the Pathways Programs, input from the Executive 
agencies, and consideration of the following:
    (1) Agency MOU compliance;
    (2) Agency approach to entry-level hiring;
    (3) Agency engagement in sound workforce planning to ensure that an 
adequate number of permanent positions will be available to which 
Pathways Participants who successfully complete their Programs can be 
converted;
    (4) Agency record in using the Pathways Programs as a supplement to 
competitive examining, rather than as a substitute for it;
    (5) Agency record of publicizing their positions in the Pathways 
Programs and recruiting and selecting from a broad array of sources; 
and
    (6) Any other information the Director deems relevant.
    (c) In the event the Director determines that any caps would be 
appropriate, OPM will publish notice of such caps in a manner chosen by 
the Director.

[[Page 28218]]

Sec.  362.109  Reporting requirements.

    Agencies must provide information requested by OPM regarding 
workforce planning strategies that includes:
    (a) Information on the entry-level occupations targeted for filling 
positions under this part in the coming year;
    (b) The percentage of overall hiring expected in the coming year 
under the Internship, Recent Graduates, and Presidential Management 
Fellows Programs; and
    (c) For the previous year:
    (1) The number of individuals initially appointed under each 
Pathways Program;
    (2) The percentage of the agency's overall hires made from each 
Pathways Program;
    (3) The number of Pathways Participants, per Program, converted to 
the competitive service; and
    (4) The number of Pathways Participants, per Program, who were 
separated.


Sec.  362.110  Transition.

    OPM will provide written guidance for the orderly transition of 
employees currently appointed as students under the Student Educational 
Employment Program and current PMFs to the applicable Pathways Program 
and may revise that guidance as necessary.

Subpart B--Internship Program


Sec.  362.201  Agency authority.

    The Internship Program provides students in high schools, colleges, 
trades schools and other qualifying educational institutions, as 
defined in Sec.  362.102 of this part, the opportunity to explore 
Federal careers as paid employees while completing their education. 
Students appointed under this authority are referred to as Interns.


Sec.  362.202  Definitions.

    In this subpart:
    Student means an individual accepted for enrollment or enrolled and 
seeking a degree (diploma, certificate, etc.) in a qualifying 
educational institution, on a full or half-time basis (as defined by 
the institution in which the student is enrolled), including awardees 
of the Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship Program under Public Law 
93-842. Students need not be in actual physical attendance, so long as 
all other requirements are met. An individual who needs to complete 
less than the equivalent of half an academic/vocational or technical 
course-load immediately prior to graduating is still considered a 
student for purposes of this Program.


Sec.  362.203  Filling positions.

    (a) Announcement. (1) When an agency accepts applications from 
individuals outside its own workforce, it must provide OPM information 
concerning opportunities to participate in the agency's Internship 
Program. For the purposes of this paragraph (a), ``agency'' means an 
Executive agency as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105 and the Government Printing 
Office. An Executive department may treat each of its bureaus or 
components (first major subdivision that is separately organized and 
clearly distinguished from other bureaus or components in work function 
and operation) as a separate agency or as part of one agency, but must 
do so consistent with its Delegated Examining Agreement. The 
information must include:
    (i) Position title, series and grade;
    (ii) Geographic location of the position, and
    (iii) How to apply. A public source (e.g., a link to the agency's 
Web site with information on how to apply) for interested individuals 
to seek further information about how to apply for Internship 
opportunities; and
    (iv) Any other information OPM considers appropriate.
    (2) OPM will publish information on Internship opportunities in 
such form as the Director may determine.
    (b) Eligibility. Except as provided in paragraph (h) of this 
section, Interns must meet the definition of student in Sec.  362.202 
throughout the duration of their appointment.
    (c) Qualifications. Individuals may be evaluated against either 
agency-developed standards or the OPM Qualification Standard for the 
position being filled.
    (d) Appointments. (1) An agency may make Intern appointments, 
pursuant to its Pathways MOU, using the Schedule D excepted service 
appointing authority provided in Sec.  213.3402(a) of this chapter.
    (2) Appointments may be made to any position for which the 
individual is qualified. The duties of the position to which the 
individual is appointed should be related to either the Intern's 
academic or career goals.
    (3) An agency may:
    (i) Appoint an Intern for an initial period expected to last more 
than 1 year. Intern appointments are not required to have an end date. 
However, agencies are required to specify an end date of the 
appointment in the Participant Agreement with the Intern; or
    (ii) Appoint an Intern on a temporary basis, not to exceed 1 year, 
to complete temporary projects, to perform labor-intensive tasks not 
requiring subject-matter expertise, or to fill traditional summer jobs. 
The agency may extend these temporary appointments as provided in part 
213 of this chapter.
    (e) Promotion. An agency may promote any Intern who meets the 
qualification requirements for the position. This provision does not 
confer entitlement to promotion.
    (f) Classification. (1) Intern positions under the General Schedule 
or appropriate pay plan must be classified to the -99 series of the 
appropriate occupational group.
    (2) Intern positions under the Federal Wage System must be 
classified to the -01 series of the appropriate occupational group.
    (g) Schedules. There are no limitations on the number of hours an 
Intern can work per week (so long as any applicable laws and 
regulations governing overtime and hours of work are adhered to). 
Agencies and students should agree on a formally-arranged schedule of 
school and work so that:
    (1) Work responsibilities do not interfere with academic schedule;
    (2) Completion of the educational program (awarding of diploma/
certificate/degree) and the Internship Program is accomplished in a 
reasonable and appropriate timeframe;
    (3) The agency is informed of and prepared for the student's 
periods of employment; and
    (4) Requirements for noncompetitive conversion to a term or 
permanent position in the competitive service are understood by all 
parties.
    (h) Breaks in program. A break in program is defined as a period of 
time when an Intern is working but is unable to go to school, or is 
neither attending classes nor working at the agency. An agency may use 
its discretion in either approving or denying a request for a break in 
program.


Sec.  362.204  Conversion to the competitive service.

    (a) An agency may noncompetitively convert an Intern who is a U.S. 
citizen, to a term or permanent appointment in the competitive service.
    (b) To be eligible for conversion, the Intern must have:
    (1) Completed at least 640 hours of work experience acquired 
through the Internship Program, except as provided in paragraphs (c) 
and (d) of this section, while enrolled as a full-time or part-time, 
degree- or certificate-seeking student;
    (2) Completed a course of academic study, within the 120-day period 
preceding the appointment, at a qualifying educational institution

[[Page 28219]]

conferring a diploma, certificate, or degree;
    (3) Received a favorable recommendation for appointment by an 
official of the agency or agencies in which the Intern served;
    (4) Met the qualification standards for the position to which the 
Intern will be converted; and
    (5) Met agency-specific requirements as specified in the agency's 
Participant Agreement with the Intern.
    (c)(1) An agency may evaluate, consider, and grant credit for up to 
one-half (320 hours) of the 640-hour service requirement in paragraph 
(b)(1) of this section for comparable non-Federal internship experience 
in a field or functional area related to the student's target position 
and acquired while the student:
    (i) Worked in, but not for, a Federal agency, pursuant to a formal 
internship agreement, comparable to the Internship Program under this 
subpart, between the agency and an accredited academic institution;
    (ii) Worked in, but not for, a Federal agency, pursuant to a 
written contract with a third-party internship provider officially 
established to provide internship experiences to students that are 
comparable to the Internship Program under this subpart; or
    (iii) Served as an active duty member of the armed forces 
(including the National Guard and Reserves), as defined in 5 U.S.C. 
2101, provided the veteran's discharge or release is under honorable 
conditions.
    (2) Student volunteer service under part 308 of this chapter and 
other Federal programs designed to give internship experience to 
students (e.g., fellowships and similar programs), may be evaluated, 
considered, and credited under this section when the agency determines 
the experience is comparable to experience gained in the Internship 
Program.
    (d) An agency may waive up to one-half (i.e., 320 hours) of the 
640-hour minimum service requirement in paragraph (b)(1) of this 
section when an Intern completes 320 hours of career-related work 
experience under an Internship Program appointment and demonstrates 
high potential by outstanding academic achievement and exceptional job 
performance. For purposes of this paragraph:
    (1) Outstanding academic achievement means an overall grade point 
average of 3.5 or better, on a 4.0 scale; standing in the top 10 
percent of the student's graduating class; and/or induction into a 
nationally-recognized scholastic honor society.
    (2) Exceptional job performance means a formal evaluation conducted 
by the student's Internship supervisor(s), consistent with the 
applicable performance appraisal program that results in a rating of 
record (or summary rating) of higher than Fully Successful or 
equivalent.
    (e) An agency may not grant a credit or waiver (or a combination of 
a credit and waiver) totaling more than 320 hours of the 640-hour 
service requirement in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.


Sec.  362.205  Reduction in force (RIF) and termination.

    (a) Reduction in force. Interns are covered by part 351 of this 
chapter for purposes of RIF.
    (1) Tenure Groups. (i) An Intern serving under an appointment for 
an initial period expected to last more than 1 year is in excepted 
service Tenure Group II.
    (ii) A temporary Intern, serving under an appointment not to exceed 
1 year, who has not completed 1 year of service, is in excepted service 
Tenure Group 0.
    (iii) A temporary Intern serving under an appointment not to exceed 
1 year, who has completed 1 year of current, continuous service, is in 
excepted service Tenure Group III.
    (2) [Reserved]
    (b) Termination. As a condition of employment, an Intern 
appointment expires:
    (1) 120 days after completion of the designated academic course of 
study, unless the Participant is selected for noncompetitive conversion 
under Sec.  362.204, or
    (2) Upon expiration of the temporary Internship appointment.

Subpart C--Recent Graduates Program


Sec.  362.301  Program administration.

    The Recent Graduates Program provides an entry-level developmental 
experience designed to lead to a civil service career in the Federal 
Government after successfully completing 1 year under the Program, 
unless the training requirements of the position warrant a longer and 
more structured training program. Employment under the Recent Graduates 
Program may not exceed 2 years plus any agency approved extension of up 
to an additional 120 days. Individuals appointed under this authority 
are referred to as Recent Graduates. An agency wishing to participate 
in the Recent Graduates Program must:
    (a) Identify in the MOU the duration of its Recent Graduates 
Program, including any criteria used to determine the need for a longer 
and more structured training program that exceeds 1 year;
    (b) Ensure, within 90 days of appointment, that each Recent 
Graduate is assigned a mentor who is an employee outside the Recent 
Graduates' chain of command;
    (c) Ensure, within 45 days of appointment, that each Recent 
Graduate has an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that is approved by 
his or her supervisor; and
    (d) Provide at least 40 hours of formal interactive training per 
year that advances the goals and competencies outlined in each Recent 
Graduate's IDP. Mandatory annual training, such as information security 
and ethics training, does not count towards the 40-hour requirement.


Sec.  362.302  Eligibility.

    (a) A Recent Graduate is an individual who obtained a qualifying 
associates, bachelors, master's, professional, doctorate, vocational or 
technical degree or certificate from a qualifying educational 
institution, within the previous 2 years or other applicable period 
provided below.
    (b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, an 
individual may apply for a position in the Recent Graduates Program 
only if the individual's application is received not later than 2 years 
after the date the individual completed all requirements of an academic 
course of study leading to a qualifying associates, bachelor's, 
master's, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or 
certificate from a qualifying educational institution.
    (2) A veteran, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 2108, who, due to a military 
service obligation, was precluded from applying to the Recent Graduates 
Program during any portion of the 2-year eligibility period described 
in paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall have a full 2-year period of 
eligibility upon his or her release or discharge from active duty. In 
no event, however, may the individual's eligibility period extend 
beyond 6 years from the date on which the individual completed the 
requirements of an academic course of study.


Sec.  362.303  Filling positions.

    (a) Announcement. (1) When an agency accepts applications from 
individuals outside its own workforce, it must provide OPM information 
concerning opportunities to participate in the agency's Recent 
Graduates

[[Page 28220]]

Program. For the purposes of this paragraph, ``agency'' means an 
Executive agency as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105 and the Government Printing 
Office. An Executive department may treat each of its bureaus or 
components (first major subdivision that is separately organized and 
clearly distinguished from other bureaus or components in work function 
and operation) as a separate agency or as part of one agency, but must 
do so consistent with its Delegated Examining Agreement. The 
information must include:
    (i) Position title, series and grade;
    (ii) Geographic location of the position;
    (iii) How to apply. A public source (e.g., a link to the agency's 
Web site with information on how to apply for interested individuals to 
seek further information about how to apply); and
    (iv) Any other information OPM considers appropriate.
    (2) OPM will publish information on Recent Graduate opportunities 
in such form as the Director may determine.
    (b) Appointments. (1) An agency may make appointments to the Recent 
Graduates Program, pursuant to a Pathways MOU executed with the OPM, 
under Schedule D of the excepted service in accordance with part 302 of 
this chapter.
    (2) An agency must appoint a Recent Graduate using the excepted 
service appointing authority provided by Sec.  213.3402(b) of this 
chapter.
    (3)(i) An agency may make an initial appointment of a Recent 
Graduate to any position filled under this authority for which the 
Recent Graduate qualifies, up to the GS-09 level (or equivalent under 
another pay and classification system, such as the Federal Wage 
System), except as provided in paragraphs (b)(3)(ii) through (iv) of 
this section.
    (ii) Initial appointments to positions for science, technology, 
engineering, or mathematics (STEM) occupations may be made at the GS-11 
level, if the candidate possesses a Ph.D. or equivalent degree directly 
related to the STEM position the agency is seeking to fill.
    (iii) Initial appointments to scientific and professional research 
positions at the GS-11 level for which the classification and 
qualification criteria for research positions apply, if the candidate 
possesses a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree directly 
related to the position the agency is seeking to fill.
    (iv) Initial appointments to scientific and professional research 
positions at the GS-12 level for which the classification and 
qualification criteria for research positions apply, if the candidate 
possesses a Ph.D. or equivalent degree directly related to the position 
the agency is seeking to fill.
    (v) Positions must have progressively more responsible duties that 
provide career advancement opportunities (i.e., positions must provide 
for career ladder advancement).
    (c) Extensions. An agency may extend the Program period for up to 
an additional 120 days to cover rare or unusual circumstances or 
situations. The agency's Pathways MOU must identify criteria for 
approving extensions.
    (d) Qualifications. An agency must evaluate candidates using OPM 
Qualification Standards for the occupation and grade level of the 
position being filled.
    (e) Promotions. An agency may promote any Recent Graduate who meets 
the qualification requirements for the position. This provision does 
not confer entitlement to promotion.
    (f) Trial period. The duration of the Recent Graduates appointment 
in the excepted service is a trial period.


Sec.  362.304  Movement between agencies.

    (a) A Recent Graduate may apply for and accept a new Recent 
Graduates appointment with another agency covered by this part, as long 
as the agency meets all the requirements for participating in the 
Recent Graduates Program.
    (b) To move to the new agency, the Recent Graduate must separate 
from the current employing agency.
    (c) The new employing agency must appoint the Recent Graduate 
without a break in service.
    (d) Time served under the previous agency's Recent Graduates 
Program is credited toward the Program requirements for noncompetitive 
conversion eligibility to the competitive service. Because there is no 
break in service, the Recent Graduate does not begin a new period in 
the Program upon moving to the new agency.
    (e) The new employing agency's plan must identify requirements for 
Program completion and eligibility for noncompetitive conversion.


Sec.  362.305  Conversion to the competitive service.

    (a) An agency may noncompetitively convert a Recent Graduate who is 
a U.S. citizen to a competitive service term or permanent position when 
the Recent Graduate has:
    (1) Successfully completed at least 1-year of continuous service in 
addition to all the requirements of the Recent Graduates Program;
    (2) Demonstrated successful job performance consistent with the 
applicable performance appraisal program established under the agency's 
approved performance appraisal system that results in a rating of 
record (or summary rating) of at least Fully Successful or equivalent 
and a recommendation for conversion by the first-level supervisor; and
    (3) Met the OPM Qualification Standard for the competitive service 
position to which the Recent Graduate will be converted.
    (b) An agency must make the noncompetitive conversion effective on 
the date the service requirement is met, or at the end of an agency-
approved extension, if applicable.


Sec.  362.306  Reduction in force and termination.

    (a) Reduction in force. Recent Graduates are in excepted service 
Tenure Group II for purposes of Sec.  351.502 of this chapter. 
Expiration of the Recent Graduates appointment is not otherwise subject 
to part 351 of this chapter.
    (b) Terminations. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of 
this section, as a condition of employment, a Recent Graduate 
appointment expires at the end of the agency prescribed Program period, 
plus any agency-approved extension, unless the Participant is selected 
for noncompetitive conversion under Sec.  362.306.
    (2) A Recent Graduate who held a career-conditional or career 
appointment in an agency immediately before entering the Program, and 
fails to complete the Program for reasons that are not related to 
misconduct, poor performance, or suitability, may, at the agency's 
discretion, be placed in a permanent competitive service position, as 
appropriate, in the employing agency.

Subpart D--Presidential Management Fellows Program


Sec.  362.401  Definitions.

    For purposes of this subpart:
    Agency PMF Coordinator is an individual, at the appropriate agency 
component level, who coordinates the placement, development, and other 
Program-related activities of PMFs appointed in his or her agency. The 
agency Pathways Programs Officer may also serve as the PMF Coordinator.
    Executive Resources Board (ERB) has the same meaning as specified 
in Sec.  317.501(a) of this section; in those agencies that are not 
required to have an ERB pursuant to that section, it means the senior 
agency official or officials

[[Page 28221]]

who have been given responsibility for executive resources management 
and oversight by the agency head.
    Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) or Fellow is an individual 
appointed, at the GS-9, GS-11, or GS-12 level (or equivalent under a 
non-GS pay and classification system such as the Federal Wage System), 
in the excepted service under Sec.  213.3402(c) of this chapter.


Sec.  362.402  Program administration.

    (a) The Director may determine the number of Fellows who may be 
appointed during any given year. This determination will be based on 
input from the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, as well as input 
from agencies not represented on the Council.
    (b) Thereafter, subject to the provisions and requirements of this 
chapter, an agency may appoint individuals selected by the Director as 
Fellows finalists according to its short-, medium-, and long-term 
senior leadership and related (senior policy, professional, technical, 
and equivalent) recruitment, development, and succession requirements.
    (c) The Director will establish the qualification requirements for 
evaluating applicants for the PMF Program.
    (d) An agency that hires Fellows in field locations outside the 
Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area may:
    (1) In advance of making the appointment, discuss whether the 
finalist wants to do a developmental rotation to agency headquarters 
and, if so, make a commitment to allow and fund such a rotation, to the 
maximum extent practicable, in accordance with Sec.  362.405(b) of this 
part; and
    (2) Promote interaction among regional Fellows with the agency 
Federal Executive Board (FEB) and permit Fellows to attend FEB-
sanctioned activities in that region.


Sec.  362.403  Announcement, eligibility, and selection.

    (a) OPM will announce the opportunity to apply for the PMF Program 
and conduct a competition for the selection of finalists as set forth 
in this section.
    (b) A Presidential Management Fellow is an individual who, within 
the previous 2 years, completed an advanced degree from a qualifying 
educational institution.
    (c) An individual may apply for the PMF Program if:
    (1) The individual has obtained an advanced degree within the 2-
year period preceding the Program announcement described in paragraph 
(a) of this section, or
    (2) The individual is still a student attending a qualifying 
educational institution, as defined in paragraph (2)(iii) of the 
definition of Qualifying educational institution in Sec.  362.102, and 
he or she expects to complete a qualifying advanced degree by August 31 
of the academic year in which the competition is held.
    (d) An individual may apply for the PMF Program more than once as 
long as he or she meets the eligibility criteria. However, if an 
individual becomes a finalist and subsequently applies for the Program 
during the next open announcement, the individual will forfeit his or 
her status as a finalist.
    (e) OPM will select Fellow finalists based on an OPM evaluation of 
each candidate's experience and accomplishments according to his or her 
application and the results of a rigorous structured assessment 
process.
    (f) OPM will publish and provide participating agencies the Fellow 
finalists list for appointment consideration.


Sec.  362.404  Appointment and extension.

    (a) Appointments. (1) An agency may make 2-year appointments to the 
PMF Program, pursuant to a Pathways MOU executed with the OPM, under 
Schedule D of the excepted service in accordance with part 302 of this 
chapter.
    (2) An agency must appoint a PMF using the excepted service 
appointing authority provided by Sec.  213.3402(c) of this chapter.
    (3) OPM will establish an eligibility period during which agencies 
may appoint Fellow finalists.
    (b) Extension. An agency may extend a Fellow's appointment for up 
to 120 days to cover rare or unusual circumstances or situations. The 
agency's Pathways MOU must identify the criteria for approving 
extensions.
    (c) Grade. An agency may appoint a Fellow at the GS-09, GS-11, or 
GS-12 level or equivalent depending on his or her qualifications.
    (d) Trial period. The duration of the PMF appointment in the 
excepted service is a trial period.


Sec.  362.405  Development, evaluation, promotion, and certification.

    (a) Individual Development Plans. An agency must approve, within 45 
days, an Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each of its Fellows that 
sets forth the specific developmental activities that are mutually 
agreed upon by each Fellow and his or her supervisor. The IDP must be 
developed in consultation with the Agency PMF Coordinator and/or the 
mentor assigned to the Fellow under paragraph (b)(3) of this section.
    (b) Required developmental activities. (1) OPM will provide an 
orientation program for each class or cohort of Fellows and will 
provide information on available training opportunities known to it.
    (2) The agency must provide each Fellow a minimum of 80 hours of 
formal interactive training per year that addresses the competencies 
outlined in the IDP. Mandatory annual training, such as information 
security and ethics training, does not count towards the 80-hour 
requirement.
    (3) Within the first 90 days of a Fellow's appointment, the agency 
must assign the Fellow a mentor, who is a managerial employee outside 
the Fellow's chain of command.
    (4) The agency must provide each Fellow with at least one 
rotational or developmental assignment with full-time management and/or 
technical responsibilities consistent with the Fellow's IDP. With 
respect to this requirement:
    (i) Each Fellow must receive at least one developmental assignment 
of 4 to 6 months in duration, with management and/or technical 
responsibilities consistent with the Fellow's IDP. As an alternative, a 
Fellow may choose to participate in an agency-wide initiative or other 
Presidential or Administration initiative that will provide the Fellow 
with the experience he or she would have gained through the 4-to-6-
month developmental assignment; and
    (ii) The developmental assignment may be within the Fellow's 
organization, in another component of the agency, or in another Federal 
agency.
    (5) The Fellow may receive other short-term rotational assignments 
of 1 to 6 months in duration, at the agency's discretion.
    (6) Upon the request of OPM, the appointing agency must make 
Fellows available to assist in the assessment process for subsequent 
PMF classes. Any interactive training provided to a Fellow in 
connection with assisting OPM in the assessment process may be counted 
toward the minimum 80-hour training requirement in paragraph (b)(2) of 
this section.
    (c) Promotion. An agency may promote any Fellow who meets the 
qualification requirements for the position. This provision does not 
confer entitlement to promotion.
    (d) Certification of completion. (1) Upon completion of the 
Program, the agency's ERB must evaluate each Fellow and determine 
whether it can certify in writing that the Fellow met all of the 
requirements of the Program, including the performance and 
developmental

[[Page 28222]]

expectations set forth in the individual's performance plan and IDP. 
The ERB may consult the Fellow's mentor in reaching its determination.
    (2) The ERB must notify the Fellow of its decision regarding 
certification of successful completion.
    (3) ERB certifications must be forwarded to OPM.
    (4)(i) If the ERB decides not to certify a Fellow, the Fellow may 
request reconsideration of that determination by the Director. Such 
reconsideration must be requested in writing, with appropriate 
documentation and justification, within 15 calendar days of the date of 
the agency's decision. The Director's decision on reconsideration is 
not subject to appeal.
    (ii) The Fellow may continue in the Program pending the outcome of 
his or her request for reconsideration. The agency must continue to 
provide appropriate developmental activities during this period.


Sec.  362.406  Movement between agencies.

    (a) At any time during his or her appointment in the Program, a 
Fellow may move to another agency covered by this part, as long as the 
agency meets all the requirements for participating in the PMF Program. 
To move from one agency to another during the Program, the Fellow must 
separate from the current agency. The new employing agency must appoint 
the Participant without a break in service.
    (b) The Fellow does not begin a new Program period upon appointment 
by the new employing agency. Because there is no break in service, time 
served under the previous Program appointment will apply towards the 
completion of the Program with the new employing agency.
    (c) An agency must notify OPM when appointing a Fellow currently 
appointed in another agency.
    (d) If the move occurs within the first 6 months of the Fellow's 
appointment, the original appointing agency may request reimbursement 
of one-quarter of the placement fee from the new appointing agency.


Sec.  362.407  Withdrawal and readmission.

    (a) Withdrawal. (1) A Fellow may withdraw from the Program at any 
time. Such withdrawal will be treated as a resignation from the Federal 
service; however, any obligations established upon admission and 
appointment (for example, as a result of accepting a recruitment 
incentive under part 575 of this chapter) still apply.
    (2) A Fellow who held a permanent appointment in the competitive 
service in an agency immediately before entering the Program, and who 
withdraws from the Program for reasons that are not related to 
misconduct, poor performance, or suitability, may, at the employing 
agency's discretion, be placed in a permanent competitive service 
position, as appropriate, in that agency. The employing agency's 
determination in this regard is not subject to appeal.
    (3) An agency must notify OPM when a Fellow withdraws from the 
Program.
    (b) Readmission. (1) If a Fellow withdraws from the Program for 
reasons that are related to misconduct, poor performance, or 
suitability, as determined by the agency, he or she will not be 
readmitted to the Program at any time.
    (2) If a Fellow withdraws from the Program for reasons that are not 
related to misconduct, poor performance, or suitability, he or she may 
petition the employing original agency for readmission and 
reappointment to the Program. Such a petition must be in writing and 
include appropriate justification. The agency may approve or deny the 
request for readmission. An agency must submit written notification of 
approved readmission requests to OPM. The individual's status in the 
Program upon readmission and reappointment must be addressed as part of 
the agency's submission. The Director may overrule the agency's 
decision to readmit and reappoint, and the Director's decision is not 
subject to appeal.


Sec.  362.408  Termination and reduction in force.

    (a) Termination. (1) An agency may terminate a Fellow for reasons 
related to misconduct, poor performance, or suitability.
    (2) As a condition of employment, a Fellow's appointment expires at 
the end of the 2-year Program period, plus any agency-approved 
extension, unless the Participant is selected for noncompetitive 
conversion. If an agency does not convert a Fellow at the end of the 
Program, as provided in Sec.  362.409 of this part, or extend the 
individual's initial appointment under Sec.  362.404, the appointment 
expires when certification for Program completion is denied or when the 
Director denies the agency's request for an extension.
    (3) The agency must provide written notification to OPM when a 
Fellow is terminated for any reason.
    (b) Reduction in force. Fellows are in the excepted service Tenure 
Group II for purposes of Sec.  351.502 of this chapter.


Sec.  362.409  Conversion to the competitive service.

    (a) A Fellow must complete the Program within the time limits 
prescribed in Sec.  362.404 of this part, including any agency-approved 
extension. At the conclusion of that period, the Fellow may be 
converted, as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.
    (b) An agency may convert, without a break in service, an ERB-
certified Fellow to a competitive service term or permanent 
appointment.

PART 531--PAY UNDER THE GENERAL SCHEDULE

0
20. The authority citation for part 531 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5115, 5307, and 5338; sec. 4 of Public Law 
103-89, 107 Stat. 981; and E.O. 12748, 56 FR 4521, 3 CFR, 1991 
Comp., p. 316; Subpart B also issued under 5 U.S.C. 5303(g), 5305, 
5333, 5334(a) and (b), and 7701(b)(2); Subpart D also issued under 5 
U.S.C. 5335 and 7701(b)(2); Subpart E also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
5336; Subpart F also issued under 5 U.S.C. 5304 and 5305; E.O. 
12883, 58 FR 63281, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 682; and E.O. 13106, 63 FR 
68151, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 224.

Subpart B--Determining Rate of Basic Pay

0
21. In Sec.  531.212, revise paragraph (a)(3)(v) to read as follows:


Sec.  531.212  Superior qualifications and special needs pay-setting 
authority.

    (a) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (v) Employment under an Internship Program appointment under Sec.  
213.3402(a) of this chapter.
* * * * *

PART 536--GRADE AND PAY RETENTION

0
22. The authority citation for part 536 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5361-5366; sec. 4 of the Performance 
Management and Recognition System Termination Act of 1993 (Pub. L. 
103-89), 107 Stat. 981; Sec.  536.301(b) also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
5334(b); Sec.  536.308 also issued under section 301(d)(2) of the 
Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-411), 118 
Stat. 2305; Sec.  536.405 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552, Freedom of 
Information Act, Public Law 92-502.

Subpart A--General Provisions

0
23. In Sec.  536.103, revise the definition of management action to 
read as follows:


Sec.  536.103  Definitions.

* * * * *

[[Page 28223]]

    Management action means an action (not for personal cause) by an 
agency official not initiated or requested by an employee which may 
adversely affect the employee's grade or rate of basic pay. However, an 
employee's placement in or transfer to a position under a formal 
employee development program established by an agency for recruitment 
and employee advancement purposes (e.g., Recent Graduates Program) is 
considered a management action even though the employee initiates or 
requests such placement or transfer.
* * * * *

Subpart C--Pay Retention

0
24. In Sec.  536.301, revise paragraph (a)(5) to read as follows:


Sec.  536.301  Mandatory pay retention.

    (a) * * *
    (5) A management action that places an employee in a formal 
employee development program generally utilized Governmentwide (e.g., 
Recent Graduates Program); or
* * * * *

PART 537--REPAYMENT OF STUDENT LOANS

0
25. The authority citation for part 537 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5379(g).

0
26. In Sec.  537.102, revise paragraphs (6) and (7) in the definition 
of time-limited appointment to read as follows:


Sec.  537.102  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Time-limited appointment * * *
    (6) A Presidential Management Fellows Program appointment under 
Sec.  213.3402(c) of this chapter;
    (7) A Recent Graduates Program appointment under Sec.  213.3402(b) 
of this chapter; and
* * * * *

PART 550--PAY ADMINISTRATION (GENERAL)

Subpart B--Advances in Pay

0
27. Revise the authority citation for subpart B of part 550 to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5524a, 5545a(h)(2)(B); E.O. 12748, 56 FR 
4521, 3 CFR, 1991 Comp., p. 316.

0
28. In Sec.  550.202, revise paragraph (c) of the definition of newly 
appointed to read as follows:


Sec.  550.202  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Newly appointed * * *
    (c) A permanent appointment in the competitive service following 
termination of employment in an Internship Program (as described in 5 
CFR part 362, subpart B), provided such employee--
* * * * *

Subpart G--Severance Pay

0
29. The authority citation for subpart G of part 550 continues to read 
as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5595; E.O. 11257, 3 CFR, 1964-1965 Comp., p. 
357.

0
30. In Sec.  550.703, revise paragraph (f)(5) in the definition of 
nonqualifying appointment to read as follows:


Sec.  550.703  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Nonqualifying appointment * * *.
    (f) * * *
    (5) A Presidential Management Fellows Program appointment under 
Sec.  213.3402(c) of this chapter.
* * * * *

Subpart M--Firefighter Pay

0
31. The authority citation for subpart M of part 550 continues to read 
as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5545b, 5548, and 5553.

0
32. In Sec.  550.1302, revise paragraph (2)(iii) of the definition of 
firefighter to read as follows:


Sec.  550.1302  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Firefighter * * *.
    (2) * * *
    (iii) Covered by the General Schedule and classified in the GS-
0099, General Student Trainee Series (as required by Sec.  362.203(e) 
of this chapter), if the position otherwise would be classified in the 
GS-0081 series.
* * * * *

PART 575--RECRUITMENT, RELOCATION, AND RETENTION INCENTIVES; 
SUPERVISORY DIFFERENTIALS; AND EXTENDED ASSIGNMENT INCENTIVES

0
33. The authority citation for part 575 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 1104(a)(2) and 5307; subparts A and B also 
issued under 5 U.S.C. 5753 and sec. 101, Pub. L. 108-411, 118 Stat. 
2305; subpart C also issued under 5 U.S.C. 5754 and sec. 101, Pub. 
L. 108-411, 118 Stat. 2305; subpart D also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
5755; subpart E also issued under 5 U.S.C. 5757 and sec. 207 of Pub. 
L. 107-273, 116 Stat. 1780.

Subpart A--Recruitment Incentives

0
34. In Sec.  575.102, revise paragraph (3)(vi) in the definition of 
newly appointed to read as follows:


Sec.  575.102  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Newly appointed * * *.
    (3) * * *
    (vi) Employment under an Internship Program appointment under Sec.  
213.3402(a) of this chapter.
* * * * *

PART 890--FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM

0
35. The authority citation for part 890 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8913; Sec. 890.301 also issued under sec. 
311 of Pub. L. 111-3, 123 Stat. 64; Sec. 890.111 also issued under 
section 1622(b) of Pub. L. 104-106, 110 Stat. 521; Sec. 890.112 also 
issued under section 1 of Pub. L. 110-279, 122 Stat. 2604; Sec. 
890.803 also issued under 50 U.S.C. 403p, 22 U.S.C. 4069c and 4069c-
1; subpart L also issued under sec. 599C of Pub. L. 101-513, 104 
Stat. 2064, as amended; Sec. 890.102 also issued under sections 
11202(f), 11232(e), 11246(b) and (c) of Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 
251; and section 721 of Pub. L. 105-261, 112 Stat. 2061.

0
36. In Sec.  890.102, revise paragraph (c)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  890.102  Coverage.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) An employee who is expected to work less than 6 months in each 
year, except for an employee who receives an appointment of at least 1 
year's duration as an Intern under Sec.  213.3402(a) of this chapter 
and who is expected to be in a pay status for at least one-third of the 
total period of time from the date of the first appointment to the 
completion of the Internship Program.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-11068 Filed 5-10-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6325-P