Workforce Recruitment Program helps diversify workforce and recruit talent

Courtesy Photo | Lupe Santos-Jansen, St. Paul District equal employment specialist.

Posted on June 15, 2021

The Workforce Recruitment Program, or WRP, is a national recruitment program that helps federal employers hire college students and recent graduates with disabilities for temporary or permanent positions. The WRP database contains more than 2,000 resumes from individuals with disabilities from a wide variety of majors and backgrounds, with candidates ranging from first year undergraduate students to law school students. All WRP candidates are eligible for the federal government’s Schedule A hiring authority, which allows agencies to hire individuals with disabilities without posting a job announcement. The Department of Defense funds 14-week-long paid WRP internships at no cost to the hiring agency.

“The Workforce Recruitment Program brings college students and recent graduates to an agency so we can benefit from their talent,” Lupe Santos-Jensen, St. Paul District equal employment specialist, said. “Managers can evaluate participants on the job for 14 weeks, with the option to offer full-time, permanent employment.”

The U.S. Army typically allocates two to three WRP positions per year to the St. Paul District. Once the district’s equal employment opportunity office receives the allocations, they contact offices to determine if they are interested in placing a WRP candidate.

During a 14-week WRP internship, supervisors assign candidates tasks that address their skills, interests and goals in addition to the office’s specific needs.

Ryan Malterud, regulatory south branch chief, said, “In regulatory, we work with interns to determine their skill sets and then we pair them with a project manager, senior ecologist or other staff to ensure they get as much as possible out of their internship. We have had interns process permits, conduct compliance inspections in the field, shadow senior ecologists in the field and help collect data. The work the interns do really depends on their background, education, skillset, and what their interest is in the regulatory program.”

The number of WRP candidates that the St. Paul District hires permanently varies each year depending on if the student is a good fit and if the office has an opening. Santos-Jensen said, “We look for hard-working candidates who are interested in contributing meaningfully to the Corps’ mission.”

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