2010 Open Season of the Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP) for Eligible Foreign Service Spouses/Partners

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FLO at state.gov has posted the announcement  on the continuation of the 2010 Open Season of the Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP).  The deadline for submitting all application materials and completing the Business Writing Test is August 13, 2010.  I think the original announcement back in February identified 55 EPAP positions.

Note that all positions are listed on the Intranet.  Apparently updated weekly, so you have to make that trip to OBC once a week if you are stateside (the CLO if you’re overseas), get your spouse to print out the list weekly or contact the personnel officers for the regional bureaus listed at the bottom of the announcement, if you are interested.

Funny thing is — if we believe everything we read these days, we are witnessing the unfolding of 21st century statecraft right on our doorsteps, except when it comes to accessing pertinent information for family members.  As Kelly Midura commented elsewhere in this blog:

“if we’re so gung-ho on getting everything out there and online, how come there is STILL no decent online access to information that SD family members need for bidding, schools, health care, you name it? By online, I mean actually ONLINE not on the SD intranet. It’s 2010, people, and this is just pathetic.”

I hear you girlfriend but whoever is listening is not/not hearing this, maalasef!

I understand that AAFSW has been trying for years to get information like this available in the real Internet without much success. So that’s that. Military spouses on the other hand have access to the militaryonesource website for their information and support needs for years. Military OneSource visitors are only required to create their own membership, including an individual User ID and password. The registration process is a brief, one-time process that does not require anyone to disclose personal information other than branch of service and Unit/Location.

They make it sound so easy and painless, no? But apparently this is not easy or painless to do for State. Unless you all write to your congressional representatives one letter a week, until well — until they get tired of reading all your letters … then that might budge State ….

Some 10,000 letters/emails a week for as long as it takes … hmmmn…. something to think about, yes?

Don’t “whine” and get mad, get organized!  The end.   
Back on EPAP — for those eligible spouses and partners interested in applying for the EPAP, the announcement is excerpted below:  

The Department is pleased to announce the continuation of the 2010 Open Season of the Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP).  The deadline for submitting all application materials and completing the Business Writing Test is August 13, 2010.

Program Overview

During this open season of the Expanded Professional Associates (EPAP) Program, Appointment Eligible Family Members (AEFMs) are able to apply for EPAP positions opening Summer through Winter 2010. (Note: This is not the annual hard-to-fill program. Civil Service employees are not eligible to apply for these positions.  These are EPAP positions which have been created for AEFMs).

A Professional Associate may only be employed at the same mission as his/her sponsoring employee.  An AEFM whose sponsoring employee does not yet have an onward assignment for Summer 2010 may apply for the program without identifying a specific position; however, an AEFM may only be offered an EPAP position after his/her sponsoring employee has been paneled to a position at the same mission.  AEFMs already present at post may also apply provided that the sponsoring employee’s tour of duty will extend at least one year beyond the EFM’s hiring date.

No new positions are being advertised during this cycle.  Positions which are being advertised are those which were allocated previously to Bureaus but not filled or those that have become vacant due to transfers. Not all the positions being advertised will be filled. This is done in order to give maximum flexibility to both applicants and bureaus in seeking good matches for the positions.  Final decisions will be made by the hiring bureau based on the number and qualifications of applicants, and bureau staffing priorities.

The Expanded Professional Associates Program includes the following categories of positions: Political, Economic, Public Diplomacy, Management, General Services, Human Resources, Financial Management, Office Management, Information Management, Physician, Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse.  All EPAP positions are at the FS-04 to FS-07 grade level.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the Expanded Professional Associates Program, applicants must be:

An Appointment Eligible Family Member (AEFM), as defined in 3 FAM 7120 and 3 FAM 8212, of a career government employee from any agency under Chief of Mission authority currently or soon to be assigned to a full-time position at an overseas post.

An Appointment Eligible Family Member is:

• A U.S. citizen; and
• The spouse or domestic partner as defined in 3 FAM 1610 of the sponsoring employee, or a child of the sponsoring employee, who is unmarried and at least 18 years old; and
• Listed on the travel orders or approved Form OF-126 of a sponsoring employee, i.e., a direct-hire Foreign Service, Civil Service, or uniformed services member who is permanently assigned to or stationed abroad at a U.S. mission, or at an office of the American Institute in Taiwan, and who is under Chief of Mission authority; and
• resides at the sponsoring employee’s post of assignment abroad or, as appropriate, office of the American Institute in Taiwan; and
• Does not receive a U.S. Government retirement annuity or pension from a career in the U.S. Foreign Service or Civil Service.

Other family members or dependents on direct-hire Foreign Service, Civil Service, or uniformed service member’s travel orders or approved Form OF-126 who do not meet all of these criteria are not USEFMs or AEFMs for purposes of 3 FAM 8200.

Same-Sex Domestic Partners must comply with the provisions of 3 FAM 1612 including the filing of the Affidavit of Eligibility for Benefits and Obligations (DS 7669) – Applicants do not need to have a current security clearance at the time of application,  but would need to have one before a final hiring decision can be made.

Family members of contractors are not eligible to apply. Members of the Civil Service who are not AEFMs also are not eligible to apply.

All applicants must pass a Business Writing Test in order to qualify for any position in the program. In addition, applicants must meet the established specific qualification standards for each position as determined by a Qualification Evaluation Panel (QEP) convened by HR/CDA.

Applicants must commit to serving a minimum of one year in the position for which they are applying.  Those who are already at the post where the EPAP position is being advertised must have at least one year remaining on their sponsoring employee’s tour of duty from the EFM’s hiring date, to apply for any position in the program.  Applicants may apply for EPAP positions which are open now and through winter 2010.

Applicants may be able to serve up to the maximum of their sponsoring employee’s tour of duty, provided there is sufficient funding and their supervisor documents their performance as satisfactory or better.  As with any limited non-career appointment, there is an absolute maximum term of five years.

Expectations of Selected Applicants

Positions offered within the Expanded PA Program are professional-level, full-time positions.  Only applicants who are interested in full-time, all-year employment should apply. Selected applicants may request accrued annual leave during the summer months and holiday periods.  However, no additional leave such as LWOP will be authorized in lieu of annual leave when all annual leave is exhausted.  All leave requests must be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor at post. Professional Associates will be evaluated annually using form JF-0057, Performance Appraisal for American Family Member Employees.

Salary, Benefits, and Allowances
Professional Associates will accrue leave at the same rate as direct-hire employees.  Professional Associates will be able to pay into the Thrift Savings Plan, FEGLI, and FEHB, as well as FERS.  They may also be eligible to receive Executive Order 12721 Eligibility after 52 weeks of government service.

Professional Associates are personally eligible to receive danger pay but no other allowances, differentials, or other benefits (including but not limited to post differential, temporary lodging, living quarters, transfer, home service transfer, education, and separate maintenance allowances, advances of pay, home leave, and rest and recuperation).  They will not be granted any entitlements, such as shipment of household goods or housing, in addition to those already granted to their sponsoring employee.  Professional Associates at unaccompanied posts must be spouses included on their sponsoring employee’s travel orders and may not accept Separate Maintenance Allowance (SMA) once they have commenced travel to post.

Please note that if you are currently in a civil service position, your appointment will be converted to an EFM appointment.


AEFMs hired under this program will be expected to take any related training courses at their own expense. There will be no charge for any FSI course, but salary and per diem will not be paid during the training period. Additionally, transportation from post generally will not be paid for training; such training should be planned in conjunction with R&R or home leave travel when possible.  Applicants should contact bureaus directly for information on recommended training for advertised positions.

Some positions advertised may indicate a required or preferred language skill.  Language training will continue to be provided to EFMs on a space-available basis only.  Individuals selected for this program will generally have priority over other EFMs for language and functional training enrollment, but there is no guarantee that space will be available. Applicants should contact the Family Liaison Office (FLO) at FLOASKTraining@state.gov for more information regarding training enrollments.

Available Positions

A list of EPAP positions is available on the HR website:
http://intranet.hr.state.sbu/RecruitmentStaffingEmployment/Recruitment/Pages/ExpandedProfessionalAssociateProgram.aspx (go to the link for “Open Season Available Positions, Updated Copy”).

This position list will be updated weekly and incorporate any changes that are made.  These positions will not be advertised or bid upon via HR Online/FSBID since these are not FS positions.

Contact Information

If you have questions regarding specific positions, please contact the respective regional bureau HR representative:

AF/EX:  Njeri Moore (MooreNG@state.gov)
EAP/EX: Cyndy Coriell (CoriellCL@state.gov)
EUR/IO/EX: Dane Ferguson (FergusonDC@state.gov)
NEA/SCA/EX: Maura Forno (FornoM@state.gov)
WHA/EX: Bill Michael (MichaelB@state.gov)

For questions concerning the application process, eligibility, etc., please send an email to ApplyProfAssoc@state.gov

Oh, by the way — a special note for Foreign Born Spouses:

Foreign Education Provision:  As of July 20, 2010, foreign education transcripts will no longer be accepted.  Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order to be credited towards qualifications. Applicants can verify accreditation at the following website:http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html#NationallyRecognized

Be sure to read the full official announcement in the FLO page (in the real Internet here).  Good luck!