Excellent points. You made through the mire of flag waving and flag wrapping and got down to brass tacks. In this part of the civil service world and in this little village, if you can get a government job on a nearby military installation, you have struck "GOLD". Benefits, steady work (yeah right now, that's not lookin' too good) and the pay is better than the private sector in the little burgs and villages where you live, unless you are at Quantico or Pendleton where everything is through the roof.
I know a young man who has been trying to get hired on since he became an intern at our installation while going to collage. He graduated....and now 2 years later he has heard every excuse in the book from "we are in a hiring freeze"..."and you don't qualify (even though you have the education and have interned here and have a Schedule A disability...you didn't make the cert because you are not a veteran."
See very important info below:
Ah....the little piece of the puzzle young people "don't know" about. Civil Service was set up for veterans....you can sugar coat it all you want...but there is a huge push to hire vets with "minimal" qualifications. This is the stone cold truth. After awhile, they get tired of applying. And living in DC is not the hill they want to die on. So they go to the private sector and become insurance agents, work for an accounting firm, or flipping burgers because they have a student loan to pay back, and Uncle Sam has canned the "pay your loan if you work for me program." Please keep in mind, these little "get in the door" programs only work if the "agency" sets aside "funding" to implement them. If they don't have the funding to set up a Pathways Program, it will NOT happen.
They are tired of the "pie crust promises"...like
* "oh get into the Pathways Program....(oh sorry, your installation is not participating...no funding),
* "We welcome new blood, young innovative fresh ideas"...(oh sorry, we are in a hiring freeze)....
* "Yes, if you are a person with disabilities, please apply and take note of the EO of July 2010, we want you:"...(oh, sorry again....the EO doesn't provide any funding to agencies to hire persons with disabilities and well....we don't have to, the EO is just a suggestion).
I see many young people totally turned off of government service as the tsunami of retirees are bolting through the door (before their high 3 becomes a high 5) and their billets remain empty because the agency can't hire. Cubicles in our engineering bldg. remain empty.....our STEM career fields go begging with our tenant command.
It is important to stay "positive", but outside the Land of Oz, things aren't all so rosey. DoD is being shredded and it being shredded from the wrong end of the GS pay scale.