OPM Program Pairs Feds With Agencies Seeking COVID-19 Support

In the wake of surging demands for medical professionals and critical expertise to support the coronavirus response, the government is using temporary rotational opportunities to match current federal employees with agencies and offices that have immediate needs.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is leading the COVID-19 Surge Response Program, which officially goes live March 31. OPM is using its existing online platform called Open Opportunities to pair agencies in need with federal employees who want to lend their talents. Currently, the platform is only available to federal employees and agencies.

“The COVID-19 Surge Response Program will allow agencies to quickly realign their workforce so they can better accomplish their mission for the American people,” Acting OPM Director Michael Rigas said in a news release. “Dedicated civil servants will be able to go to one place and apply for a mission-critical position to support the public during this National Emergency.”

In a follow-up email, an OPM spokesperson told GovLoop that agencies will need a range of skills. “We expect to see everything from medical professionals to contracting specialists to many other types of skills across the workforce.”

The online platform has been around since 2013, but this will be the first time the federal government has used it for a national emergency situation as massive as the COVID-19 response. “We foresee agencies posting details on a rolling basis, and we will make the community live on 3/31,” according to OPM.

For state and local government employees interested in lending their expertise, there are plenty of opportunities. For example, in Washington, D.C., officials are recruiting, training and deploying medical and non-medical volunteers to provide medical screening, assist with patient tracking at planned events and more. Visit your state’s health department website for local information.

As of March 30, there were about 60 virtual and in-person opportunities posted on Open Opportunities, including temporary assignments for cybersecurity professionals, writers and budget analysts. OPM expects that number will grow and soon include opportunities specific to COVID-19 support. Agencies got the green light on March 27 to post details, or temporary assignments, microdetails and rotational assignments related to their immediate needs around the coronavirus.

Open Opportunities was rebranded under OPM’s flagship jobs website, USAJobs.gov, in January 2018 after outgrowing its intended purpose at the General Services Administration, which was to serve as a platform for promoting digital-focused engagements. Back in 2018, the website boasted 5,000 accounts, but it isn’t clear how many feds are registered to use the website today.

“The agility this platform enables is precisely what makes it a useful tool as part of the federal response to COVID-19,” according to OPM.

For more information about Open Opportunities, check out the website here, as well as past GovLoop posts: “Looking for Free Professional Development?” and  “Your USAJobs.gov Experience Is About to Change.


Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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