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Workforce Development Specialists

Significant Points

This series covers positions that involve specialized administrative and technical work concerned with the implementation, promotion, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation of federally funded programs for the development and utilization of the workforce. Some positions in this occupation are involved in programs that deal with the identification of and communication with disadvantaged persons requiring employment assistance, the provision of necessary assistance and support through counseling, education, training, and their placement into suitable, stable employment. These positions require specialized knowledge and application of workforce development methods, practices, techniques, and principles. These positions do not require full professional knowledge in one or more of the social or behavioral sciences or regular application of the theories, principles, and practices of these disciplines.


Federal Government participation in and support of workforce programs administered by a variety of public and private non-profit agency sponsors is established by Federal law. Each State or other sponsoring agency (for example, county or city government) plans and carries out its own program; establishes required guides, instructions, and regulations; prepares budgets and other financial controls and programs; and allocates the resources (financial, personnel, and material) needed to accomplish the goals.

While each sponsoring agency is responsible for day-to-day program operations, the Federal Government seeks to promote effective program planning, and establishes operational and legal requirements which must be satisfied before the agency can receive Federal assistance. If the sponsoring agency does not or cannot meet established requirements, the Federal agency that administers the Federal portion of the program assists in reconciling these disparities and in achieving conformity with the requirements of Federal law. This may be accomplished by a variety of means including but not restricted to:

-- Providing additional technical guidance and assistance;

-- Providing short-term training and instruction to sponsoring agency staff members;

-- Providing consultative and resource personnel;

-- Providing model documents, e.g., policy statements, operating procedures, brochures, instructions;

-- Withholding payments due the sponsoring agency;

-- Withdrawing or withholding all Federal financial assistance;

-- Reviewing (and requiring rework as necessary) the findings of the sponsoring agency's audits, reviews, and reports;

-- Disapproving financial grants.

Federal workforce program officials attempt to bring sponsoring agencies into compliance with requirements through consultation, persuasion, and leadership by example.


The Federal workforce program effort is directed toward: (a) the reduction and eventual elimination of high and long-term unemployment and underemployment, (b) the provision of recruitment and placement services to employers, and (c) the provision of employability services to groups with special problems, e.g., the disadvantaged, youth, handicapped workers, the uneducated, minority groups, and technologically displaced workers. National workforce policy, typically expressed in legislation and Executive orders, has tended to emerge as a series of programs designed to correct or overcome specific and chronic workforce development and utilization problems.

These "categorical" programs typically have been aimed at providing specific services to a defined target group; each program with its own design, procedural and operational configuration, and goals and requirements. National policy expressed in this manner has required the Federal agencies involved in administration of workforce programs to combine and integrate their efforts to maximize the quality of services provided, minimize confusion, and avoid duplications and gaps in program coverage.

Recently, a major portion of the responsibility for planning and implementing the nation's workforce programs has been decentralized to state and local governments. This decentralization has resulted in the merging and integration of the various special "categorical" workforce programs into a Federal Government-prime sponsor partnership arrangement. The prime sponsor's responsibility in this partnership is to design and effectively implement workforce programs tailored to provide the workforce services most needed within the jurisdiction. The responsibility of the Federal Government is to provide the leadership, guidance, advice, and assistance necessary for the prime sponsor to design, develop, and evaluate effectively the quality of services provided.

Workforce development specialists, functioning as Federal representatives, serve as the continuing and primary point of contact with prime sponsors. Specialists must be fully knowledgeable of the economic, demographic, governmental, and political context within which the prime sponsor operates its program. The following duties characterize the responsibilities of Federal representatives to prime sponsors:

-- Communicate all Federal requirements to prime sponsors;

-- Coordinate the review and approval of grant applications;

-- Coordinate the assessment of the prime sponsor's performance against the plan;

-- Assess the need for, provide and/or coordinate the provision of technical assistance in:

  • Strategic and operational planning;
  • Program activity design, normally with assistance from staff specialists;
  • Organization and staffing;
  • Multi-jurisdictional agreement development;
  • Management information systems and the prime sponsor's internal program assessment system, normally with assistance from staff specialists;
  • Financial and grant management, normally with assistance from staff specialists;
  • Plan development and grant application preparation;
  • Program operations problems.
  • -- Undertake periodic reviews of prime sponsor compliance with assurances and certifications.

    This partnership is designed to enable the prime sponsors, through any or all of the program activities described below, to provide comprehensive workforce services programs to their communities. At the same time, this partnership encourages the effective coordination of the services offered with those provided by other workforce agencies and activities, and provides a powerful assist towards meeting the overall workforce and related social needs of the community.

    Basically, workforce programs have two objectives: (1) providing workers with the services needed to get and hold suitable employment, and (2) providing qualified workers for job vacancies. In short, workforce programs bring together the job seeker and the job. This basic and very critical function typically is accomplished through the workforce activities described and discussed below:

    A. Outreach Programs

    These programs bring information, training, counseling, and placement services to unemployed workers, particularly the hard-core unemployed -- those most in need of work. Program personnel go where their services are needed rather than waiting for unemployed workers to come to them.

    Examples of outreach services programs are:

    (1) Apprenticeship centers which interview, test, and refer applicants for placement into vacancies in the apprenticeable trades;
    (2) State and local employment service offices which recruit workers, counsel them and refer them to job vacancies, training, or other services;
    (3) Youth centers which provide young people a separate and readily identifiable place to go for guidance and assistance in all matters related to employment or training;
    (4) Development programs which locate and give disadvantaged persons help in getting and keeping a job; these programs work through the state employment service to provide unemployed workers with personalized counseling, referral to training and job placement services;
    (5) Experimental and demonstration programs which test and evaluate new ideas for preparing groups of hardcore unemployed workers with special problems, e.g., youth, “good” risk offenders, for meaningful employment.

    B. Work Preparation and Training Programs

    These programs provide unemployed workers with the skills and experience necessary to secure employment and advance to more responsible positions. Programs are personalized to provide training and work experience suitable to the needs of many different groups and individuals.

    Examples of work preparation and training services are:

    (1) Development and training programs which help unemployed workers to gain new skills and underemployed workers to upgrade their present skills through institutional and on-the-job training programs;
    (2) Apprenticeship programs which enable qualified candidates to become skilled workers through a combination of on-the-job and classroom training;
    (3) Work incentive programs which enable welfare recipients to move towards self-sufficiency through training and employment assistance;
    (4) Work experience programs which provide work experience to poor adults and youths to prepare them for regular employment or formal training programs such as apprenticeship programs;
    (5) Youth programs which provide after-school and summertime employment for youths attending school and full- and part-time employment and training for those who have left school;
    (6) Residential and nonresidential centers which provide intensive programs of education, vocational training, work experience, counseling, and other activities for low income disadvantaged youths.

    C. Placement Programs

    These programs provide unemployed and underemployed workers with job information, referral, and placement services. Each program has available employment listings and attempts to place workers in suitable employment as quickly as possible. Examples of placement services are:

    (1) Youth centers which refer young workers directly to jobs or workforce development services designed to prepare them for jobs;
    (2) State and local employment service offices which provide the worker with local employment information, referral, and placement services;
    (3) Summer youth employment programs which place young people into new or special summer jobs;
    (4) Joint Government/private enterprise employment programs which create new or specially designed job opportunities and then train and place hard-core unemployed workers into them;
    (5) Veteran's Employment Programs which place recently returned veterans into meaningful employment or refer them to training or other workforce services which will prepare these veterans for a job.

    D. Special Workforce Programs

    The activities associated with these special workforce programs frequently are found in outreach, work preparation, and training and placement programs. In other instances, these programs supplement or augment the effectiveness of the other three program areas. In still other instances, special workforce programs provide special help for particularly disadvantaged groups and individuals, e.g., in the inner city, certain rural areas; or provide a particular sort of technical service, information, or analysis, e.g., area classification services or job bank.

    Examples of special workforce programs are:

    (1) Neighborhood centers which identify employment needs and inform residents of the various health, educational, recreational, and legal services available through current programs;
    (2) Employment programs which provide centralized workforce and related supportive services to residents within the area serviced by the program;
    (3) Centers which provide computer-assisted daily job order listings to local employment service offices and other interested workforce organizations;
    (4) Area workforce planning systems which provide a basic framework for a cooperative, coordinated effort involving Federal, state, and local agencies that have responsibility for or interest in workforce planning and action programs;
    (5) Farm labor and rural workforce development services which bring new training and educational opportunities and related workforce development services to rural areas having chronic employment problems.

    Workforce Development Specialist GS-0142-05

    Nature of Assignment

    This is the basic entrance and training level. Assignments typically consist of a variety of relatively standardized tasks which have been selected to provide: (1) on-the-job experience and training in the methods, techniques, and procedures pertinent to workforce surveys, studies, and operations; (2) exposure to the agency programs, policies, and procedures; (3) opportunities for responsible management to evaluate the trainee's aptitudes, interests, and potential for advancement; and (4) a basis for more responsible assignments.

    Typical assignments include: (1) collecting and reviewing data which will be included in and become part of a larger study; (2) preparing graphs, charts, and other types of tabular or graphic presentations from material assembled by employees at a higher grade level; and (3) reviewing submissions prepared by other organizations to assure they are correct, complete, and accompanied by appropriate supporting documents.

    Level of Responsibility

    Workforce development specialists GS-5 work under close supervision. Work methods, procedures, and techniques are covered by the supervisor or in readily accessible written guides and instructions. Assignments are accompanied by detailed instructions. Questions are discussed and resolved as they occur. The supervisor checks work in progress and thoroughly reviews completed assignments.

    Personal contacts usually are limited to the supervisor and coworkers and are not significant at the GS-5 level. In some work situations, however, limited contacts with the general public occur. They generally involve providing factual program information or collecting information for study purposes.

    Workforce Development Specialist GS-0142-07

    Nature of Assignment

    This is typically a developmental level. Workforce development specialists GS-7 perform workforce studies and analyses of relatively limited scope and complexity which are assigned, generally in a planned sequence, to develop their potential for higher level work. Assignments generally involve work which is subordinate to and supportive of much broader assignments for which workforce development specialists of higher grade have overall responsibilities.

    GS-7 specialists must be familiar with and use a number of available established methods and techniques properly in specific situations. They must also be able to adjust and correlate data, recognize discrepancies and deviations in results, schedule routine work sequences, and prepare summary and descriptive material. By comparison, workforce development specialists GS-5 receive assignments that are well defined and typically involve fewer procedural steps or operations.

    Typical assignments include:

    (1) Collecting and analyzing workforce resource data, recognizing and reporting gross indications of program shifts and trends;
    (2) Correlating, adjusting, and where necessary correcting statistical data;
    (3) Identifying and reporting potential problems for consideration by employees in higher grade levels;
    (4) Reviewing and evaluating assigned portions of grant-on-aid project proposals submitted by organizations requesting financial assistance;
    (5) Reviewing and analyzing assigned segments of program documents and issuances, such as a portion of a service plan.

    Level of Responsibility

    The supervisor furnishes detailed instructions when new or different work is assigned, provides advice and assistance while the assignment is in progress and fully reviews work upon completion. As GS-7 workforce development specialists become more proficient at and knowledgeable in the work assigned, supervisory controls are relaxed and fewer specific instructions are given. When elements of the work assigned are covered by explicit instructions or policy guidance, close supervisory review in process is unnecessary. The supervisor periodically checks work for compliance with instructions and evaluates the employee's progress. By comparison, the work of the workforce development specialist GS-5 is closely supervised and carefully reviewed.

    Personal contacts usually involve the collection and presentation of factual information. Workforce development specialists GS-7 make commitments or recommendations only after previous supervisory instructions.

    Workforce Development Specialist GS-0142-09

    Nature of Assignment

    Workforce development specialists GS-9 perform workforce studies and analyses or carry out segments of field assignments which require the selection, adaptation, and application of accepted methods, procedures, and techniques. Assignments typically require the planning and successful completion of individual projects or portions of larger projects or programs. By comparison, workforce development specialists GS-7 perform assignments primarily for developmental purposes and are delegated little or no responsibility for planning, scheduling, or modifying the course of their assignments.

    GS-9 workforce development specialists frequently reschedule or modify work sequences to reflect necessary program changes or to accommodate conditions that could not be predicted before the start of the assignment. The assignments of GS-9 workforce development specialists generally involve projects or programs of short duration or those where most, if not all, long range planning has been completed by specialists at a higher echelon.

    The following assignments are illustrative:

    (1) Searches and compiles from designated sources statistical and narrative material which specialists at a higher grade use to prepare studies of immediate or long range employment problems.
    (2) Working as a team or project group member, makes field visits to state and local governments to conduct assigned segments of workforce studies, monitors projects, and evaluates the effectiveness of specific operational areas of interest.
    (3) Working as a team or project group member, surveys state employment service operations to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of specific operational areas to promote employer interest and participation in job opportunity programs.
    (4) Analyzes and projects the impact of proposed national, state, or local legislation on existing workforce programs, and determines consistency with Federal workforce policy, regulations, guidelines, etc.
    (5) Writes preliminary drafts of speeches, position papers, summaries, program proposals, etc.

    Level of Responsibility

    The supervisor explains the scope and objectives of the assignment and provides general information on time limitations, priorities, sources, and other similar information. Workforce development specialists GS-9 plan and complete assignments with minimum supervisory guidance. However, they bring to the attention of their supervisor, who is usually available, any difficult or unusual problems encountered.

    In comparison to the GS-7 level where new or unfamiliar work is reviewed closely, the supervisor spotchecks new or unfamiliar work in progress for technical adequacy, acceptability, and adherence to time and cost standards. Methods used are checked infrequently, but completed work is spotchecked or reviewed to determine completeness, adequacy, and conformance to established policies.

    Workforce development specialists GS-9 have frequent, personal contacts with Government officials at various levels, private organizations and individuals and the general public to resolve mutual problems, suggest program improvements, disseminate information, explain program requirements, etc.

    Commitments and recommendations made by GS-9 workforce development specialists usually relate to the more routine aspects of their assignments, e.g., provide basic technical assistance on standard, noncontroversial studies or projects that are covered by precedent, established policy, or accepted practice. Workforce development specialists GS-9 refer inquiries or requests for assistance beyond their level of authority to the appropriate source of information or assistance, usually the supervisor. By comparison, workforce development specialists GS-7 make commitments or recommendations in areas that are precisely defined usually on the basis of prior supervisory approval.

    Workforce Development Specialist GS-0142-11

    Nature of Assignment

    Workforce development specialists GS-11 perform assignments which typically involve extensive planning and organization of the work, individual analyses of accumulated data and information, and considerable coordination and integration of the work with other functional activities. Assignments usually involve many variables and have more than one theoretical or practical solution or conclusion. GS-11 workforce development specialists select the most effective methods, techniques, and approaches after carefully considering the various alternatives available for use in accomplishing their assignments.

    While these assignments require considerable resourcefulness and judgment, they do not involve radical departures from established practices or precedents. By comparison, GS-9 workforce development specialists perform assignments that have fewer variables, produce relatively obvious results and conclusions, and do not require the degree of planning and organization. Some GS-11 workforce development specialists provide technical guidance and instruction to workforce or other subject-matter specialists at a lower grade level, generally for the duration of the assignment.

    Typical assignments at this level:

    (1) Preparing analytical statements on current occupational job market areas which are used by groups and persons engaged in Federal and non-Federal workforce activities. Gathering information from a wide variety of sources; evaluating, analyzing, and summarizing data; and preparing final reports on subjects such as employment and unemployment rates, current and anticipated workforce requirements and resources, occupational shortages and surpluses, industrial trends, and workforce training program developments for specific labor market areas.

    (2) Reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating proposals for experimental and demonstration projects, training proposals submitted by universities and outside consulting firms, and ongoing training programs conducted by various public and private workforce organizations. Outlining their strengths and weaknesses in reports or digest form and preparing comments and suggestions for their improvements.

    (3) Monitoring program contracts, e.g., local work incentive or concentrated employment projects or programs, identifying and analyzing operational difficulties encountered; determining how assistance and guidance will contribute toward the reduction or elimination of such difficulties; persuading program officials to take remedial action or make needed improvements; and following up to assure that required changes have been made.

    (4) Using current labor supply and demand data provided by state employment service agencies to prepare periodic critical nationwide labor shortage and surplus reports; developing procedural guidelines for locating, receiving, and processing job-ready applicants; developing methods and procedures for using the mass media to publicize job opportunities and employment information.

    (5) Negotiating workforce projects with sponsoring agencies identifying nonconforming provisions or specifications; assisting sponsors in achieving conformity with established requirements; recommending approval or disapproval of contracts or agreements submitted for certification.

    (6) As the primary Federal representative within an assigned area, serving as the principal point of contact to a prime sponsor administering a workforce program of moderate complexity, scope, and impact as characterized below. In this role, the workforce development specialist provides continuing direction and assistance to program operators; communicates and interprets Federal requirements for and coordinates the review and approval of grant applications; compares program performance with established plan and determines the need for appropriate technical assistance; and provides (or obtains and coordinates) leadership and technical assistance in such areas as strategic and operational planning, program design, organization and staffing, management information and internal assessment systems, financial management, grant administration, development of plans, and grant applications and components.

    The program setting in which the Federal representative performs is characterized by:

    the areas served--

    Has a relatively small, homogeneous population;
    Encompasses one political entity, e.g., city, county, or a consortium of limited size; or a few political entities;
    Requires relatively limited involvement with other prime sponsors;
    Has received a grant of relatively small dollar amount;

    The population served is characterized by--

    Average unemployment problems presently and no imminent changes are anticipated;
    Relatively low incidence of poverty;
    Few minority group problems and low potential for their future development;

    The level of expertise possessed by the prime sponsor is typified by:

    A basic knowledge of workforce planning accompanied by a requirement for assistance in the administrative aspects of program establishment;
    Little expertise in workforce planning and a requirement to establish the basic program in accordance with available guidelines and in line with existing programs.
    The program has local interest. If controversial issues occur, they are likely to have local impact.

    Level of Responsibility

    Workforce development specialists GS-11 are responsible for planning, organizing, scheduling, and completing their assignments within the framework provided by agency policies, defined objectives, and established procedures. The supervisor provides very general instructions about the assignment usually confined to the objectives and scope of the assignment, work priorities, and instructions on revised or new policies or procedures. GS-11 workforce development specialists enjoy considerable freedom in planning their day-to-day work and selecting appropriate methods, techniques, and approaches for accomplishing various tasks. Workforce development specialists GS-11 consult with their supervisors when applying new or substantially revised policies or when unconventional, controversial, or peculiar situations are encountered. By comparison, workforce development specialists GS-9 receive advice and instructions whenever difficult or unusual problems arise. Work in progress is seldom reviewed. Completed work is usually accepted as technically sound and is reviewed only for compliance with established policies and accomplishment of proposed objectives.

    The personal contacts of GS-11 workforce development specialists often involve matters that require explanation or interpretation in order to reconcile differences, negotiate agreements, and investigate and resolve complaints.

    Workforce development specialists GS-11 make commitments and recommendations, (e.g., approval of contracts or agreements submitted for agency certification) concerning factual, noncontroversial matters that are adequately treated by available guides or require extension or adaptation of this material to secure adequate results.

    Workforce Development Specialist GS-0142-12

    Nature of Assignment

    Workforce development specialists GS-12 are independently responsible for planning, coordinating, organizing, and successfully concluding difficult and complex assignments. GS-12 workforce development specialists frequently deal with matters that are controversial, unconventional, or novel. By comparison, GS-11 workforce development specialists perform more conventional, less complicated, and better defined assignments.

    Assignments frequently require substantial adaptations or extensions of available guides and established procedures or, in some instances, the development of new approaches, methods, or techniques for specific selected applications. By comparison, GS-11 workforce development specialist assignments demand only adaptations or extensions of available guides and established procedures. Some GS-12 workforce development specialists serve as team or project leaders and provide technical guidance to and coordinate the efforts of workforce development personnel and other subject-matter specialists assigned to the project or team.

    Typical assignments at this level are:

    1. Conducting field reviews of state and local rural workforce operations and activities; participating in the development of the standards to be used in the on-site review and appraisal of state and local rural workforce programs, including assistance to state agencies in the development of their own evaluation and self-evaluation programs; preparing data summaries which others use in the review of state plans of service; monitoring and appraising special rural workforce programs and projects.

    2. Developing proposals for program redesign or modification, e.g., the out-of-school portion of a nationwide youth program, which includes an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of proposed new features and the effects of the proposal nationwide and in specific locations; negotiating agreements with national service organizations to provide volunteer program assistance, e.g., proposal development, detailed contract negotiation, and monitoring.

    3. Serving as a contact point for planning, providing, and coordinating supportive and leadership services to public and private nonprofit organizations engaged in employment activities for special worker groups, e.g., older workers, youth, "good risk" offenders, minorities; monitoring special projects initiated to develop new techniques, tools, and procedures which will improve services to special groups; representing the organization on task force planning and study assignments concerning the employment problems of special worker groups.

    4. Reviewing state agency plans of services and supplementary budget requests for established job bank or job matching systems and recommends approval, approval contingent on revisions, or disapproval; providing leadership and technical assistance on and carrying out program responsibility for assigned projects such as technical studies and surveys to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of existing systems; identifying problem areas and recommending changes in procedures or techniques; evaluating the impact of new or augmented data processing capability; providing program and administrative support to states that are developing and testing experimental job matching systems or testing systems improvements.

    5. Based on regularly scheduled examinations or field investigations, recommending approval or disapproval of initial or renewal applications for certification as a farm labor contractor; providing advisory and information services to Federal, state, and local agencies and community service organizations to ensure effective interpretation of and compliance with the procedures, regulations, and standards of the labor contractor program; negotiating agreements with state and Federal agencies to utilize effectively their services and facilities to assure compliance with departmental regulations covering the employment and interstate recruitment of domestic and foreign agricultural workers.

    6. Developing operational planning recommendations which include contract renewal schedule, funding, distribution of funds, and program mix specifications; developing training materials and technical assistance plans to assist project, field, and headquarters personnel in maintaining and improving the quality of workforce delivery services; planning and developing standards, procedures, and guidelines to encourage program enrichment and growth and to provide guidance to project sponsor personnel.

    7. As the primary Federal representative within an assigned area, serving as the principal point of contact to a prime sponsor administering a workforce program of considerable complexity and diversity, and impact as characterized below. In this role, the workforce development specialist provides continuing direction and assistance to program operators; communicates and interprets Federal requirements for and coordinates the review and approval of grant applications; compares program performance with established plan and determines the need for appropriate technical assistance and provides (or obtains and coordinates) leadership and technical assistance in such areas as strategic and staffing,management information and internal assessment systems, financial management, grant administration, development of plans, and grant applications and components.

    The program setting in which the Federal representative performs is characterized by:

    The area served--

    Has a relatively large population;
    Encompasses several political entities, e.g., medium sized communities or consortiums, having few coordination problems or;
    A number of political entities where the range of substantive programs is moderate, but there are significant coordination problems (e.g., one of the less populous states);
    Requires coordination with other prime sponsors;
    Is characterized by generally cooperative prime sponsors;
    Has received grants of average dollar amount.

    The population served is characterized by--

    Protracted and numerically significant unemployment and poverty problems; Few current minority group problems, but considerable potential for development in immediate future.

    The level of expertise possessed by the prime sponsor is typified by a reasonably skilled and knowledgeable workforce planning staff and a need for the adaptation of existing guidelines and programs to meet local requirements.
    The program has controversial issues that are likely to have a state-wide impact.

    Level of Responsibility

    Workforce development specialists GS-12 receive assignments in broad general terms. The supervisor provides a general outline of the scope and objectives of the work assigned, reviews available policy and precedent material, and collaborates with the employee in determining priorities, scheduling work sequences, and identifying potential problem areas. Because of the novel or specialized nature of some assignments, the supervisor may not be completely conversant with the technical or program implications of the work. In these situations, the supervisor generally delegates most, if not all, technical responsibility to the employee. By comparison, GS-11 workforce development specialists receive advice and instructions whenever they encounter such situations, i.e., priority determinations, problem identification, and policy interpretations.

    Work in progress is seldom reviewed. However, the GS-12 workforce development specialist brings to the supervisor for consultation and resolution problems of a particularly difficult, unusual, or controversial nature or those with implications beyond the immediate scope of the assignment. The supervisor reviews completed assignments to assure achievement of program objectives and conformance to established policy. Reviewers seldom question conclusions or recommendations except when policy considerations are involved.

    Guidelines and precedents are generally complicated, demand considerable interpretation for proper application, and frequently do not cover all aspects of the assignment, particularly those involving recent development in the workforce field. Guidelines are similar to those available to GS-11 workforce development specialists. They differ in that they require considerable interpretation and are not directly applicable to the problems encountered.

    GS-12 workforce development specialists have broad, varied, and highly significant personal contacts with officials of other Federal agencies, state and local governments, and nongovernmental activities. They establish and maintain these contacts to determine specific program needs and requirements, explain and defend grant/contract specifications, perform grant/contract compliance determinations, assess quality of service furnished, and provide advice and assistance on workforce problems. By comparison, the personal contacts found at the GS-11 level typically deal with matters that are less complicated, require less explanation, interpretation or negotiation and can be resolved, for the most part, through the use of conventional methods, approaches, or techniques.

    Workforce development specialists GS-12 make recommendations and commitments that are accepted as being technically sound and often have a direct effect on the direction or impact of the employing agency's programs and policies. Commitments and recommendations made by GS-12 workforce development specialists differ from those typical of the GS-11 level primarily in their impact and the degree of reliance placed on them by agency management and the representatives of other Federal and non-Federal activities and organizations.

    Workforce Development Specialist GS-0142-13

    Nature of Assignment

    Workforce development specialists GS-13 plan, develop, coordinate, evaluate, monitor, and complete workforce projects, studies, analyses, and other activities that deal with matters that are controversial, complicated or precedent setting, or involve delicate or intricate coordination or negotiation requirements. The negotiation assignments of GS-13 workforce development specialists typically require the development of a systematic and analytical approach or attack to the problems at hand. These assignments also require considerable organization, scheduling, and sequencing of the work and efficient coordination and integration of the work with the contributions of other workforce and subject matter specialists. By comparison, the assignments of GS-12 workforce development specialists, while difficult and complex, do not set precedent nor do they entail the more demanding requirements for the organization, coordination, and integration of the work which are considered typical at the GS-13 level.

    Assignments typically require the development and application of new workforce methods, approaches, and techniques or the extension, revision, and adaptation of existing methodology to new or unusual applications or situations.

    Typical assignments at this level are:

    1. Reviewing employer's request for temporary foreign agricultural labor to assure adequacy of domestic recruitment efforts and compliance with appropriate legal and regulatory requirements and recommending approval or disapproval; planning and developing nationwide programs and procedures for the intensive interstate recruitment of workers to satisfy rural industrial and farm labor requirements; analyzing crop and labor conditions, recommending major shifts in program direction and emphasis, and realigning recruitment efforts to offset labor shortages or crop losses, or to anticipate requirements for temporary foreign labor.

    2. Reviewing and analyzing program proposals, contracts, and related documents which involve policy considerations such as changes in program direction, compliance deficiencies, special education, training, counseling, or placement provisions; recommending approval, disapproval, or other appropriate action; identifying program deficiencies and assisting in the preparation of revisions necessary for conformance with program requirements; negotiating contracts with national and international trade associations, unions, private firms, and public agencies covering national, multiregional, or special programs; writing contract modifications which typically involve substantial cost reductions but not reductions or curtailments of program criteria; training contractor personnel in contract and subcontract procedures, equal employment and civil rights regulations, and financial and other reporting requirements.

    3. Establishing priorities and objectives for comprehensive federally funded job opportunity programs; developing tools, techniques, and methods required to implement the broad national goals and objectives established by higher authority; continuously reviewing and monitoring the established program and recommending changes necessary to assure program goals. Acting as central review and resource point for subordinate organizational elements and program sponsors, explaining and interpreting program objectives and policies; providing leadership and overall technical assistance and eliciting cooperation from participating groups in effecting program improvements.

    4. Conducting controversial or critical negotiations concerning site locations, operations, and evaluation of residential and nonresidential centers for low income disadvantaged youths. Within a large geographic area, typically, a large state or a region coordinating the activities and operations of assigned centers, improving the overall acceptance of the center's programs through effective promotional and public relations activities and advising, assisting, and training center personnel on a variety of operational matters, e.g., improving community acceptance and participation, job placement, training financial management, and reports preparation. Serving as a team leader and providing technical guidance and assistance to assigned personnel engaged in the evaluation of center activities and operations.

    5. As the primary Federal representative within an assigned area, serving as the principal point of contact to a prime sponsor administering a workforce program that is unusually large, complex, and difficult as characterized below. In this role the workforce development specialist provides continuing direction and assistance to program operators; communicates and interprets Federal requirement for and coordinates the review and approval of grant applications; compares program performance with established plan and determines the need for appropriate technical assistance; provides (or obtains and coordinates) leadership and technical assistance in such areas as strategic and operational planning, program design, organization and staffing, management information and internal assessment system, financial management, grant administration, development of plans, and grant application and components.

    The program setting in which the Federal representative performs is characterized by:

    The area served--

    Has an extremely large and diverse population;
    Encompasses a large number of political entities, e.g., several large urban communities, having extremely difficult coordination problems or;
    A single political entity (e.g., one of the largest urban areas or one of the more populous states) having national importance and impact;
    Requires substantial coordination with other prime sponsors;
    Is characterized by prime sponsors who may be uncooperative, skeptical, or hesitant; or have significantly differing goals, objectives, or perspectives;
    Has received grants that are among the largest dollar amounts allowable.

    The population served is characterized by--

    Prolonged high unemployment rates; High incidence of current minority group problems.

    The level of expertise possessed by the prime sponsor is typified by large, highly skilled workforce staff which generates complex, difficult problems, and requirements for the imaginative adaptation of guidelines and considerable persuasiveness to achieve desired objectives.

    The program has national interest and is likely to have national impact.

    Level of Responsibility

    Workforce development specialists GS-13 receive their assignments in the form of broad, very general outlines of the work to be accomplished, priorities, policy considerations, and anticipated results. Any further technical supervision generally consists of advice regarding policy determinations, coordination of the assignment with those of others, or other administrative aspects of the assignment and recommendation about the direction or extent of the assignment.

    The technical accuracy and adequacy of the work performed by GS-13 workforce development specialists is seldom reviewed. Review of completed work is concentrated on results achieved and compliance with overall policy requirements. Decisions, recommendations, and conclusions are generally accepted as authoritative. Additionally, GS-13 workforce development specialists identify the need for policy, regulatory, or legislative changes to resolve especially critical or controversial issues and perform leadership roles in the development of these and other technical documents.

    Guidelines usually consist of very general administrative or policy materials. In most instances, subject-matter guides and precedents are not directly applicable to specific assignments and require substantial revision or adaptation. Frequently, subject-matter guidelines are completely absent and must be developed by the workforce development specialist GS-13. By comparison, the guidelines available at the GS-12 level are complicated, require considerable interpretation, and typically do not cover all aspects of the assignment.

    The personal work contacts of GS-13 workforce development specialists resemble those described at the GS-12 level. The primary difference is that the workforce development specialist GS-13 acts as spokesman for the employing agency and establishes contacts to provide authoritative guidance, advice, and assistance to a wide variety of individuals and organizations within and outside the Federal service.

    The commitments and recommendations made by workforce development specialists GS-13 generally receive little or no technical review and may form the basis for important decisions and determinations that have immediate and lasting effects on agency programs.

    Typical Qualifications

    Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Bachelor's degree in business administration, organizational development, human resources or related field preferred
  • Two or more years of training or instructional design experience
  • xperience working with communications principles, practices, and procedures
  • Experience working with instructional design and adult learning and training methodologies
  • Sources of Additional Information

    Information on obtaining Workforce Development Specialists positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.


    • Office of Personnel Management, Position Classification Standards.

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