For career-minded spouses, the ideal career path offers upward mobility that can withstand relocation, the ability to transfer upon notification of PCS orders, and a position that values your experiences as a military spouse while capitalizing on your work experience. Federal employment often offers this ideal career path.
While the federal hiring process can be highly competitive, the Military Spouse Priority Placement Program (PPP-S) offers one of the most effective ways for military spouses to enter the federal government system.
While one can spend countless hours reading Executive Order 13473 (which establishes spousal preference), the program can generally be described as the pathway for best qualified spouses relocating on permanent PCS orders to a new duty assignment to compete for government service positions with priority. This means that if you are highly qualified for a position, the Military Spouse PPP-S program can give you a competitive edge over other applicants.
Does Military Spouse Priority Placement happen automatically?
No. You must register for the program, and to do so, you need to speak with your local civilian personnel office. They will complete your paperwork and enroll you in the program. Please note that your paperwork can be processed prior to departure or upon arrival at your new duty station.
It used to be that as a spouse eligible for the priority placement program, you were eligible for two years from the date your orders were processed. However, in December 2016, the National Defense Authorization Act eliminated the two-year expiration date. So, now, eligibility does not end. The bad news—whether spouses whose eligibility had ended are given renewed eligibility remains unclear.
What are the chances I will be selected for a position?
Just as you apply for any position, both with the government or in the civilian sector, you must not only meet the minimum qualifications for the position, but you must also be highly qualified. You can increase your chances of being selected for a position by understanding how to write a federal resume. Sign up for one of OPM’s Federal Resume trainings.
In December of 2016, the National Defense Authorization Act eliminated the two-year expiration date.
If the PPP-S program is of interest to you, start preparing today. The process can take time, but those who are fully prepared have the best chances of successfully obtaining a position. Not PCS-ing in the near future? Share your knowledge of the PPP-S program with spouses who will PCS soon. The more spouses who understand the program, the more effective the process will become.
Who can help me with the PPP-S process?
The honest answer is the only person who can truly advocate for your best interest is you. The Civilian Personnel Office’s function is to determine if you qualify for a position, so they cannot give out resume advice or be your career coach. Take the time to review all resources available to you and seek assistance from your MSCCN Employment Specialist as well as your local employment office.
The PPP-S program can open the door to federal employment to spouses who are highly qualified. Start on your path to a successful career in federal employment today.
Reprinted from the MSEJ and updated.
Story by Emily Dreiling