Pathways Programs Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

I. Purpose and Scope

  1. In accordance with section 362.104 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), this document is an agreement between the above-named parties. The purpose of this MOU is to clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of each party as they relate to the implementation of the Pathways Programs. This agreement must be re-executed every 2 years.

II. Background

  1. Section 362.103 of 5 CFR authorizes agencies to make appointments to positions placed in the excepted service, pursuant to the Pathways Programs. Part 362 requires the agency head or his or her designee to enter into a Pathways Memorandum of Understanding MOU with OPM prior to making appointments under any Pathways Programs authority.

III. Positions Covered

  1. Any position, at any General Schedule grade (or equivalent level under another pay and classification system, including the Federal Wage System), for which the individual is qualified.

IV. Responsibilities of the Parties:

  1. OPM Responsibilities:
    1. Provide implementation guidelines and technical assistance;
    2. Review agency agreements in a timely manner;
    3. Provide guidance on how the agency shall submit data on the number of Pathways Programs projected hires and participants hired;
    4. Publicize information to potential applicants on eligibility requirements and how to apply to the Pathways Programs;
    5. Provide the agency with a vehicle to publicize hiring under the Pathways authority; and
    6. Centrally manage the Presidential Management Fellows Program in accordance with 5 CFR part 362, subpart D.
  2. In addition, OPM retains exclusive authority to:
    1. Establish and maintain an oversight program;
    2. Establish caps on the number of individuals who may be hired under the Pathways Programs or noncompetitively converted from the Pathways Programs to positions in the competitive service; and
    3. Revoke an agency’s authority to use the Pathways Programs.
  3. Agency Responsibilities:
    1. Agency Programs: The Pathways Programs for the agency consists of the following: consists of 11 Operating Divisions (OpDivs) and 16 Staff Divisions (StaffDivs) as outlined in Appendix A. Accordingly, the HHS Pathways Program titles may be OpDiv/StaffDiv specific, for example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Internship Program, FDA Recent Graduates Program and FDA Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. All Pathway Program titles adhere to the Federal naming conventions as identified in 5 CFR §362.101(b):
      1. (HHS OpDiv/StaffDiv) Internship,
      2. (HHS OpDiv/StaffDiv) Recent Graduates,
      3. (HHS OpDiv/StaffDiv) Presidential Management Fellows (PMF), and
      4. CDC Public Health Association Program for Recent Graduates
    2. OpDivs/StaffDivs may include additional information regarding the specific field, occupational group or family, for a position in the position title. For example, (HHS OpDiv/StaffDiv) Internship (Information Technology), or (HHS OpDiv/StaffDiv) Recent Graduate (Mathematical Sciences).
    3. HHS Recent Graduates Programs: Recent Graduate programs at HHS are one (1) year appointments. However, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Association Program for Recent Graduates (see attachment for more information) is an exception. The CDC has a two (2) year program that utilizes the Recent Graduate Authority and is titled the CDC Public Health Association Program (PHAP) for Recent Graduates. The CDC PHAP for Recent Graduates is a training program for the Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS) which provides opportunities for promising future public health professionals to gain broad experience in the day-to-day operation of public health programs. CDC PHAP for Recent Graduates is geared toward recent baccalaureate college graduates (BA/BS) who are beginning a career in public health. The series used is the Public Health Program Specialist Series, GS-0685, and the candidates are initially hired at the GS-5 grade level with the opportunity for upward mobility. Two years of training is needed for incumbents to gain the position specific competencies and experiences necessary to potentially qualify for GS-9 grade level, Public Health Analyst/Advisor positions. The competencies are gained in two (2) one- year rotations at a given host site. Upon training completion and other program requirements, non-competitive conversions are not limited to the host site.
    4. Delegations of Authority: The HHS Pathways Program delegations of authority will be used Department-wide. The HHS, Office of Secretary, Assistant Secretary of Administration, Office of Human Resources (OHR) will ensure strict adherence to the Pathways Programs regulations under 5 CFR Part 362, and applicable Department-wide Excepted Service and Pathways Programs policies and guidance. OpDiv/StaffDiv Human Resources Center Directors (HRDs) are responsible for ensuring full compliance with Pathways Programs regulations under 5 CFR Part 362, including applicable HHS-wide policy and guidance when utilizing the Pathways Programs and are delegated authority to evaluate each Pathways participant’s performance and/or completion of the program requirements for conversion into the competitive service. HRDs are responsible for certifying a PMF’s completion of the program; documenting and notifying the PMF of their decision; and forwarding certifications to OHR annually, upon request, in accordance with 5 CFR §362.405. This authority cannot be re-delegated.

      HHS OHR will conduct periodic accountability reviews to analyze compliance with this agreement, applicable HHS Instructions, OPM guidance, and all applicable federal laws and regulations.

    5. Program Extensions: Program extensions for Recent Graduates and PMFs may be granted by the OpDiv/StaffDiv Human Resources Director (HRD), is decided on a case-by-case basis. Extensions will only be approved for reasons that was beyond the control of the organization and/or the participant (e.g., death in participant’s immediate family, extended illness of participant, organization directed furlough, significant life-altering event, etc.)
      1. Extensions may not exceed 120 days.
      2. Extension request will be submitted by Recent Graduate or PMF supervisors with approval and explanation to their servicing OpDiv/StaffDiv HR Center, and subsequently reviewed and recommended by the HRD.
    6. Formal Training and Development: HHS OpDivs/StaffDivs will adhere to 5 CFR part 362 in the design and implementation of a formal training and development plan with 45 days of the participants appointment as a Pathways Intern, Recent Graduate, or PMF. The design and implementation of the training will vary based on the occupational series, position requirements, and the specific Pathways Program. Training and development can be tracked in a system (e.g., HHS Learning Management System) or manually by the servicing OpDiv/StaffDiv HR Center. Regarding the program mentoring requirement, the search for and eventual pairing with mentors at HHS can be executed through the utilization of mentoring systems such as HHS Mentoring Matching System (MMS). OpDivs/StaffDivs deliver and document formal training and/or development of employees selected under the provisions of the three Pathways Programs:
      1. Internship Program – HHS OpDivs/StaffDivs will provide Interns with new employee orientation. OpDiv/StaffDiv HR Centers will assign Interns a mentor within 90 days of their appointment and an Individual Development Plan (IDP) within 45 days of his/her appointment unless Interns are appointed for less than 90 days. Up to 40 hours of formal, interactive training per year will be accessible to Interns. The training will use a variety of flexible, cost- effective mediums, such as on- the-job, virtual, classroom, etc. Summer Interns hired to complete temporary projects are not required to be provided formal training.
      2. Recent Graduates Program – HHS OpDivs/StaffDivs will provide Recent Graduates with new employee orientation. OpDiv/StaffDiv HR Centers will assign Recent Graduates a mentor within 90 days of their appointment and an IDP within 45 days of his/her appointment. A minimum of 40 hours of formal, interactive training per year will be provided to Recent Graduates. The training will use a variety of flexible, cost-effective mediums, such as on-the- job, virtual, classroom, etc.
      3. Presidential Management Fellows Program – HHS OpDivs/StaffDivs will provide each PMF with new employee orientation, a mentor within 90 days of his/her appointment, and an IDP within 45 days of his/her appointment. PMFs will receive a minimum of 80 hours of formal, interactive training per year that addresses the competencies outlined in the employee’s IDP. The training will use a variety of flexible, cost- effective mediums, such as on-the-job, virtual, classroom, etc. Each OpDiv/StaffDiv will also provide their PMFs with at least one developmental assignment of four to six months in duration within their targeted occupation or functional discipline. Developmental assignment, or other rotational assignment, to an organization outside of the Department must have approval from the Director, OHR and the Pathways Program Officer.
    7. Agency Commitment to:
      1. Provide OPM requested information regarding the use of HHS Pathways Programs.
      2. Adhere to any caps on the Pathways Programs imposed by the Director of OPM.
      3. Provide OPM information about job opportunities for individuals interested in participating in the Pathways Programs, including the posting of PMF appointment opportunities to the PMF Program’s Talent Management System (PMF TMS).
      4. OpDivs/StaffDivs using Pathways Programs are responsible for adhering to the requirements in 5 CFR part 302 for:
        1. accepting applications
        2. assessing applicants
        3. rating and ranking qualified candidates
        4. granting veterans’ preference

        OpDivs/StaffDivs may use requirements, such as the ability to work a specified number of hours per week or be in good academic standing, as eligibility criteria when filling positions if all such criteria is applied uniformly and stated in the OpDiv/StaffDiv procedures, including the job opportunity announcement and participant agreement.

        Pathway’s participants must meet program eligibility requirements. Individuals who do not currently meet the requirements for the Intern or Recent Graduates programs may still apply and be considered for positions. For example, OpDiv/StaffDivs may accept applications from individuals who will meet the program requirements for eligibility by the date or event stated in each opportunity announcement (e.g. the announcement closing date, the certificate issuance date, the date of appointment, etc. stated in the announcement). If the announcement does not specify a date or event for meeting eligibility requirements, individuals will be required to meet the eligibility requirements by the date the certificate is issued. Such criteria must be applied uniformly for each opportunity announcement and stated in the OpDiv/StaffDiv procedures.

        OpDivs/StaffDivs enter into a written agreement with each Pathways Programs participant it employs. Agreements will include program expectations and define the following: 1) a general description of the duties to be performed; 2) work schedules; 3) length of appointment and expiration date; 4) mentorship opportunities; 5) training requirements; 6) procedures and requirements for evaluation of Pathways Programs participants, including frequency of evaluations; 7) requirements for continuing in and successful completion of the program; 8) minimum eligibility requirements for noncompetitive conversion to temporary or permanent appointment in the competitive service under the specific Pathways Programs in which employed; and 9) any other requirements or expectations established by applicable HHS Excepted Service or Pathways Programs policy or guidance.

      5. Provide a meaningful on-boarding process for each Pathways Program participant.
    8. Coordinators: The HHS Pathways Programs Officer and HHS Agency PMF Coordinator are identified on the attachment and information will be updated as changes occur.

V. Terminaton, Suspension, or Revocation:

  1. The Director of OPM may revoke this Agreement when agency use of the Pathways Programs is inconsistent with Executive Order 13562, part 362 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, or this MOU.

VI.  Funding:

This MOU does not include the reimbursement of funds between the two parties.

VII. Effective Date and Signatures:

  1. This MOU shall be effective upon the signature of OPM and the Agency authorized officials for a period of two years.

OPM Official Signature:

Kimberly A. Holden
Deputy Associate Director

Talent Acquisition, Classification and
Veterans Programs
Employee Services
U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Date: 09/26/2022

Agency Head/Designee Signature:

Kimberley Steide, DPA
Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary – Human Capital
Office of Human Resources

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services

Date: 09/23/2022

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Pathways Programs Officer (PPO):

Name (first and last name): Geneita Russell
Grade (e.g., GS-12)/Title: GS-14, Human Resources Specialist
Work Mailing Address: 330 C St, SW OHR Suite Lower LVL Switzer Bldg
Washington, DC 20024
Direct Telephone Number (###-###-####): (202) 774-2438
Work Fax Number (###-###-####):  
Direct Work Email Address:

Agency PMF Coordinator

Name (first and last name): Geneita Russell
Grade (e.g., GS-12)/Title: GS-14, Human Resources Specialist
Work Mailing Address: 330 C Street, SW
Lower Leve Switzer Bldg
Washington, DC 20024
Direct Telephone Number (###-###-####): (202) 774-2438
Public-Facing Telephone Number (###- ###-####)*:  
Work Fax Number (###-###-####):  
Direct Work Email Address:
Pubic-Facing Work Email Address*:

* Public-facing contact information will appear on the PMF website for program participants. The agency may want to utilize a general program email address (e.g.,

Appendix A

List of all HHS Operating Divisions (OpDivs) and Staff Divisions (StaffDivs)

HHS Operating Divisions:

Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Indian Health Service (IHS)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

HHS Staff Divisions:

Office of the Secretary (OS)

Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA)

Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR)

Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH)

Assistant Secretary for Legislation (ASL)

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)

Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)

Departmental Appeals Board (DAB)

Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (IEA)

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

Office of the General Counsel (OGC)

Office of Global Affairs (OGA)

Office of Inspector General (OIG)

Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA)

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)

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