AMC makes a strategic move in the war for talent at BEYA career fair

By Christine MitchellFebruary 7, 2024

Rocket Vetting for Rapid Hiring Pilot
Photo illustration Rocket Vetting for Rapid Hiring Pilot (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- In the always-evolving landscape of modern warfare, the battles are hardly ever confined to the front lines alone. One of the Army’s most critical arenas is the fight for talent – not just for Soldiers, but also for the Soldier’s non-uniformed counterpart – Army Civilians. The battle is a struggle, but Army leaders are piloting a strategy that transcends traditional conflicts on the proverbial battlefield, and it could make the difference that wins the competitive hiring war.

That’s why eyes are on the 2024 BEYA (Becoming Everything You Are) career fair, Feb. 16-17 in Baltimore, Maryland, which will be the cannon-fire start of the Rocket Vetting for Rapid Hiring pilot program, aimed at vetting talented applicants in real time to make on-the-spot offers of employment.

With more than 260,000 employees, the Army Civilian Corps is one of the largest, busiest and most successful organizations within the Department of Defense. Army Materiel Command employs more Army Civilians than any other Army organization, filling critical support roles in more than 500 occupational specialties. And here’s the thing…these jobs are cool. They often require pre-employment screenings and background checks, routed through agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that can take weeks or months to complete.

“Days, weeks, and months lost in the hiring process pose a sizeable cost to the Army in both talent loss as well as opportunity costs,” said Elizabeth O’Kane, the Army’s senior security officer and one of the leaders helping to pilot the rapid hiring effort. “An efficient and effective security apparatus is paramount to support both readiness and modernization initiatives.”

This year at BEYA, AMC is hiring in excess of 350 civilian positions in 95 locations across the country, conducting interviews both in-person at the conference and virtually. The background screening processes that are necessary for national security have slowed down the income of talent at these events before, but the Rocket Vetting for Rapid Hiring pilot will fast-track these processes for eligible applicants, meaning the Army could make job offers at numbers on par with its industry employer counterparts.

“What I saw time and time again was the Army losing,” said Katherine Coviello, AMC’s special advisor for enterprise intelligence and security. “Candidates would only get a tentative job offer from us without a start date, so the good talent was going to where they had cold, hard, solid offers. We were losing the war for talent.”

One of the Secretary of the Army’s current objectives is to strategically adapt the way we recruit and retain talent into the Army. Implementing programs like Rocket Vetting for Rapid Hiring gives the service a new chance at fighting back to the front lines of the war for talent, streamlining the security process while continuing to mitigate risks. Fielding the program was a collaborative effort between AMC staff along with select major subordinate commands, the FBI, Army staff, Army security officers, and the Civilian Human Resources Agency. AMC is leading the pilot, but other Army agencies are watching for the results.

“Information is converging into spaces where it can be shared quickly,” Coviello said. “Let’s use it to our advantage, like for this program, where it gives us the ability to make a quick decision.”

BEYA utilizes a digital twin experience, allowing job seekers who are not able to attend the event in-person to attend through a virtual platform. AMC will have both an in-person and virtual booth set up where attendees can meet with leaders and managers from AMC and their major subordinate commands. The rapid hiring program is eligible for both the in-person and virtual experience.

Army Materiel Command virtual booth illustration at 2024 BEYA.
Army Materiel Command virtual booth illustration at 2024 BEYA. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Becoming an Army Civilian employee right now presents a unique opportunity to serve your country during a critical time, contributing to national security efforts and supporting the mission of the armed forces, Coviello said. With ongoing advancements in technology, cyber capabilities and artificial intelligence, joining the Army as a civilian provides a chance to be at the forefront of innovation and make a meaningful impact on the future of defense.

Not all available jobs require the entire security vetting process, but candidates can be prepared by having the necessary information on-hand. Aspiring job seekers can prepare this information by completing Standard Form-86, a questionnaire for national security positions. If a candidate is given a tentative job offer, having the information ready would be helpful to fast-track the process.

For 38 years, BEYA has been a leading venue for introducing the nation’s minority STEM-educated students to the workplace. During that time, several government agencies, including AMC, have partnered with BEYA to connect with the most recent graduates in science and technology fields. Pre-registration for the in-person or virtual career fair can be completed at Come join the Army’s civilian workforce and Be All You Can Be!