Katelyn, you got it!
1. The looonnnngggggggg process. When my son was a STEP, his college collegues said they would never consider governement work.
2. A word about Pathways, STEP, SCEP. STEP and SCEP have ceased to exist due to a group of vets who sued in court that gov managers were by passing vets so they could get college grads. The vets won in court, so now Pathways is born. The vets are out there again pushing against Pathways, which was supposed to start in Oct of last year, and then in April of this year, and now I hear it's been pushed to July.
Also, STEP and SCEP have to be "funded". These programs don't show up at your agency with a barrel full of money. At my agency, the funding for STEP stopped rather abruptly in August of 2008 because the MC said it could no longer fund the program and all 30 of the STEP's throughout the installation were let go and haven't been back since and there are no plans to have "summer hires" again this year. Our daddio, DoN, is still hiring STEP's and summer hires, but we don't as we are still in a hiring freeze.
It's the same with most programs that begin with a "flowery" EO, ex. Schedule A hires.....and the push back of Pathways, you have read the "fine print". Yes, agencies have to have a "plan" in place for Schedule A's, for college students, for grads.....but what is NOT said, is that the agency and/or it's sub agency has to pay salaries for the hires. Uncle Sam is not standing at the door of MCHQ with a suitcase full of money to hire these folks. The EO says these programs will be in "place", yes, it's true, but the agencies don't have to hire. Reason, no money. My agency is in the tsunami of retirees.....and we can't replace them. The college students my son worked with have gone to the greener pastures of the private sector. My son still holds out hope the freeze will end soon, as the 2 yr window of eligibility into Pathways will expire in May of 2013. If Pathways doesn't start, and my agency doesn't have the funds, there will not be any hires. It will be "in place" with a "plan", but no hires.
3. The media has always ragged on government workers. But it is the small "burgs" that thrive when there is a military installation smacked in the middle of their town. I don't think the media realizes that government workers are "outside" the beltway. Now it's time to fight another BRAC, this is where the nightmare will begin. DC won't feel any pain, it never does. It's the little towns that rely on the military installations to keep them going, especially in this economy.
Read the fine print.