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Vacancy Details


Announcement Number:
Hiring Agency:
USDA, Food and Nutrition Service
Position Title:
Program Specialist
Open Period:
02/03/2012 - 02/21/2012
GS - 0301 12
$75222.00 - $97787.00
Promotion Potential:
Duty Location(s):
  • 2 in Boston, MA
  • 2 in Boston, MA, US
For More Info:
Applicant Call Center


Who May Apply:

Current permanent FNS employees from the Northeast Regional Office, USDA CTAP eligibles, and FNS employees currently serving on a Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA).

Duration Appointment:
Marketing Statement:

*Vacancy announcement amended to extend closing date.* The mission of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is to increase food security and reduce hunger in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low-income people with access to food, a healthy diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence.


FNS provides excellent opportunities for specialized training through its own facilities and outside resources. Career guidance and on- and off-the-job training programs are tailored to an individual employee's needs. If you want to apply your knowledge and skills to food program activities that seek to strengthen America, there is a challenging and rewarding career waiting for you with FNS! Key Information:

  • FNS offers alternative and flexible work schedules.

  • Click "Print Preview" to review the entire announcement before applying.
  • Supervisory Position:
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    As a Program Specialist you will:

    Works closely with the Program Director and Chief to implement and accomplish goals and objectives of the FNS Strategic Plan and unit work plan.  Provides coordination, guidance and assistance to program staff in formulating long term regional goals, policies and procedures.

    Coordinates work of lower graded employees within unit in the areas of responsibility assigned.  Coaches and provides staff with guidance and assistance on work being performed and completed. Reports to the Section Chief and/or Program Director on the work plan and unit and individual assignments.  Serves as coordinator and/or team leader for special projects and initiatives concerning policy and operational objectives.  Makes recommendations to ensure the success of such projects.  Provides interpretations, both verbal and written, of regulations, instructions and policies relating to assigned areas of program operations.  Provides in-depth, expert level comments and recommendations on proposed policies and regulations and other national proposals.  Analyzes and provides technical assistance/consultations on all aspects of assigned program operations.

    Meets with State agency representatives to discuss area of policy and operational non-compliance.  Provides direction through negotiation and technical assistance for State agency initiatives to improve program operations and otherwise address priority program areas.  Evaluates state administration and/or local program operations for effectiveness, efficiency, and adherence to program requirements.  This includes but is not limited to the analysis of data reported to FNS such as state reported quality control findings, review of documentation and program operations on-site, and interviews with pertinent program officials. Plans, directs and participates in formal management evaluation reviews of State and local program operations; develops written reports of findings and recommendations; negotiates corrective action; and conducts post-review evaluation of corrective action.  Develops plans and review instruments for special program reviews focused on selected program areas, or identified areas of program operations.

    Evaluates comprehensive documents submitted by state agencies for appropriateness, adherence of specific program rules, and general federal financial requirements.  (Examples include but are not limited to State Agency Plans, Requests for Proposals, Advance Planning Documents, contracts, State agency developed manuals and/or training materials.)  Pursues and negotiates follow-up action with State agencies on audits and investigations to ensure timely and effective resolution.  Reviews program reports and analyzes data from other management information sources to identify problems and program trends for States and the Region as a whole.  Prepares special reports and briefings to alert management to positive trends as well as deficiencies and inconsistencies.  Makes recommendations to assist management in taking corrective action or further achieving program goals.

    Coordinate regional training efforts including schedules, agendas, and development of materials.  Train state and local staff on program requirements through formal and informal presentations.  Makes presentations at State and Regional meetings on various program topics.  Represents the Regional Office in high level meetings with State agency officials and maintains close liaison with State agency representatives throughout the region.

    Performs other duties as assigned.

    Qualifications and Evaluations

    Your application includes your:
    1.    Resume,
    2.    Responses to the online questions, and
    3.    Required supporting documents.

    We use a multi-step process to evaluate and refer applicants:

    1. Minimum Requirements: Your application must show that you meet all requirements, including the education and/or experience required for this position.  You will be found "not qualified" if you do not possess the minimum competencies required for the position.  If your application is incomplete, we will rate you as ineligible.

    2. Rating: Your application will be evaluated in the following areas:

  • Ability to analyze and evaluate program operations.
  • Ability to develop a variety of written documents.
  • Ability to communicate orally to present information, respond to questions, and provide guidance and assistance.
  • Ability to provide ongoing guidance and technical assistance to junior staff and/or team members in order to facilitate individual growth and development.

    Your application will be rated based on the extent and quality of your experience, education and training relevant to the duties of this position. We may lower your rating if your responses to the online questions are not supported by the education and/or experience described in your application.

    3. Referral: If you are among the top qualified candidates, your application will be referred to a selecting official for consideration and possible interview.  If you are a displaced or surplus Federal employee (eligible for the Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP)/Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP)), you must receive a rating of at least 85 out of 100 to be rated as well qualified to receive special selection priority.

    We recommend that you preview the online questions for this announcement before you start the application process.
  • Qualifications:
    Although all documents must be received by the closing date of the announcement (see "How to Apply"), applicants have until 30 days after the closing date to meet all eligibility and qualifications requirements listed below.

    Candidates must have been a GS-11 for 52 weeks (when applicable).

    Time After Competitive Appointment:
    Candidates who are current Federal employees serving on a non-temporary competitive appointment must have served at least three months in that appointment.

    Minimum Qualification Requirement:

    Specialized Experience:
    You must have one year of experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service.  Experience for this position includes managing or administering a Federal Nutrition Assistance Program or related multiple-site public assistance program.

    The experience may have been gained in either the public or private sector.  One year of experience refers to full-time work; part-time work is considered on a prorated basis.

    Benefits and Other Info

    Our comprehensive benefits are some of the most generous. Explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees at:
    Other Information:
  • We may select from this announcement or any other source to fill one or more vacancies.  
  • Relocation expenses will not be paid.
  • This is a bargaining-designated position.
  • If you are retired from the Federal Government and are selected for this vacancy, your retirement annuity may be offset from your pay.
  • To file a complaint of discrimination, within 45 days of notification, write USDA, EEO Counselor, FNS, Office of Civil Rights, Room 942, Alexandria, VA 22302-1500, or call (703) 305-2195. USDA is an equal opportunity employer.
  • FNS has contracted with the Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD) to provide certain Human Resource services to its organization.  BPD's responsibilities include advertising FNS' vacancies, accepting and handling applications, and extending job offers.

    If selected for this position, you will be required to:
  • Complete a one-year probationary period (unless already completed).
  • If you are a male applicant born after December 31,1959, certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so.
  • Have your salary sent to a financial institution of your choice by Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds Transfer.
  • Travel locally and/or overnight approximately 25% of the time.
  • Obtain and use a Government-issued charge card for business-related travel.
  • Successfully complete a background investigation.
  • How to Apply

    How to Apply:
    The following instructions outline our application process.  You must complete this application process and submit any required documents by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.  We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). If applying online poses a hardship, please contact us by noon ET on the announcement's closing date.

    FNS provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.  

    Step 1 - Create or Upload a Resume with USAJOBS (
    We recommend you go to the end of the Qualifications & Evaluations section of the job announcement to preview the online questions that you will answer.  You may need to customize your resume to ensure that it supports your responses to these questions.  See Resume Tips.

    Step 2 - Apply Online
    Click "Apply Online."  You will be directed to USAJOBS where you must select a resume.  If you have documents uploaded to USAJOBS, you may select those you wish to submit as well.  After selecting a resume (and documents, if applicable), click "Apply for this position now!" and follow the prompts to register (if you haven't already done so), answer the online questions, and submit all required documents.  You will have the opportunity to submit documents via 3 different options: 1) download from USAJOBS, 2) upload from your computer, or 3) fax.

    You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. To do so, log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status."  Click on the position title, and then select "Apply Online" to continue.
    Required Documents:
    Please note that if you do not provide all required information, as specified in this announcement, you may lose consideration for this position (or lose the special consideration for which you may be eligible).

  • Submit a copy of an SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which shows your current grade and competitive civil service status.  If your current grade is not your highest permanent grade, submit a copy of an additional SF-50 showing your highest grade.  (The "position occupied" block on the SF-50 should show a "1" and your "tenure" block should show a "1" or "2".)
  • If you are currently on a Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA), submit a copy of an SF-50 showing that.

    Performance Appraisal
    Submit a copy of your most recent completed annual performance appraisal, dated within the last 18 months, that includes the final rating.  If you have not received a performance appraisal, please explain why in your application.  

    If you are a displaced or surplus Federal employee eligible for consideration under the Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), you must submit proof of eligibility.  For a detailed list of documents, click here.
  • What to Expect Next:
    You may check the status of your application for this position at any time by logging onto the USAJOBS "My Account" tab and clicking on "Application Status". We also recommend you opt to receive status change emails through USAJOBS by logging into "Notification Settings."

    Please notify us if your contact information changes after the closing date of the announcement. Also, note that if you provide an email address that is inaccurate, or if your mailbox is full or blocked (e.g., spam blocker), you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.