DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
IT EXCHANGE PROGRAM PLAN
The E-Government Act of 2002 established the Federal Information Technology Exchange Program (ITEP) as a means to promote the interchange of Federal and private sector IT workers to enhance skills and competencies. The ITEP is a means by which a Federal agency may detail an exceptional IT employee to a private sector organization for purposes of training and development. It also gives Federal agencies the authority to accept comparable IT employees detailed from the private sector.
The ITEP will help fill a gap in the professional experience of future IT leaders and will help Federal IT managers learn the intricacies of private industry.
An exchange will also help private-sector managers understand how Federal agencies manage IT. More than teaching new skills, the program will provide insight into the public sector's complex dynamics.
The ITEP is authorized by 5 U.S.C. § 3701 et seq. and part 370 of title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations. That regulation defines, among other things, eligibility requirements for ITEP participants, allowable lengths of detail, terms and conditions for participation in the program. All definitions, terms, and conditions of that regulation are incorporated as a part of this Departmental ITEP Plan and further, Department of Commerce-specific terms and conditions are spelled out in the following sections of this plan.
Authority to Approve Details
The authority to approve ITEP details within the Department of Commerce is delegated to the head of the Bureau within which each detail will be implemented. Concurrence in this ITEP Plan by the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the Office of General Counsel, and the Director of the Office of Human Resources Management, will serve as concurrence with the placement of authority to approve details in accordance with the Plan.
IT Workforce Needs
Department-wide, it is expected that Commerce will make 12 outgoing details and receive 12 incoming private-sector details each year. This estimate is based upon current information, and is not intended as either a minimum or maximum number of details.
Criteria for the Selection of Employees for a Detail
Terms and conditions for the participation of private sector organizations and their employees are defined by the 5 CFR Part 370 ITEP regulation. The private-sector organization must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration Database located at http://www.ccr.gov, except as permitted by the Federal Acquisition Regulation
(48 CFR 4.1102).
To be considered eligible for a detail under the ITEP, an individual must:
- Work in the field of IT management;
- Be considered “exceptional,” which in the language of the implementing ITEP regulation, is defined as meaning “an employee who is rated at the highest levels of the applicable performance appraisal system or, in the case of an employee under an appraisal system that does not have a summary rating level above ‘fully successful’ or equivalent, is rated at the highest summary level used by the performance appraisal system and demonstrates sustained quality performance significantly above that expected in the type of position involved, as determined under performance related criteria established by the agency;”
- Be expected by the individual’s current employer to assume increased IT management responsibilities in the future.
Commerce employees, in addition to meeting the requirements detailed above, must be serving in a position at the GS-11 level or above (or equivalent), under a career or career-conditional appointment or an appointment of an equivalent tenure in the excepted service. Positions of equivalent tenure in the excepted service are limited to permanent appointments. Career members of the Senior Executive Service are also eligible to be detailed under the ITEP.
To be eligible for a detail to the Department of Commerce, a private-sector employee, in addition to meeting the requirements detailed above, must meet citizenship requirements for federal employment in accordance with 5 CFR 7.3 and 338.101.
Announcement of Detail Opportunities
Private-Sector Opportunities: The American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council (ACT/IAC) will serve as a central announcement point for detail opportunities in the private sector. Opportunities advertised on the ACT/IAC Web site will be open to all qualified federal employees. Commerce employees interested in applying for these details must do so in accordance with the instructions provided in the detail announcement.
Department of Commerce Announcements: In those cases where the Department or an employee is contacted by a private-sector firm with a request for detail of a Commerce employee to their firm, all such opportunities will be announced on the Department’s Automated Commerce Employment System (ACES). Eligibility and qualification requirements, length of detail, and other detail-specific terms and conditions will be provided in the specific ACES announcement.
Opportunities for detail of private-sector employees into Commerce will also be announced on the ACES Web site and will be clearly identified as opportunities for incoming ITEP details. Eligibility and qualification requirements, length of detail, and other detail-specific terms and conditions will be provided in the specific ACES announcement.
Nomination and Assignment Methods
After a detail opportunity is announced on the ACES Web site, Departmental employees may be nominated for or assigned to an ITEP detail in one of two ways:
Self Nomination, in which the employee identifies an opportunity for detail that will meet the strategic program goals of the Department and demonstrates the benefits to both the Department and the private sector. The self-nomination process will be initiated by the employee’s preparation of a memo, detailing the purpose and benefits of the detail, the eligibility requirements of the detail position, and the individual’s qualifications for the detail. The employee must submit the memo to his/her supervisor for endorsement and the supervisor must endorse the memo in order for the employee’s detail request to be given further consideration.
Organizational Nomination, in which a supervisor, Office Director, or individual in another managerial position nominates either a Commerce employee to a detail in the private sector, or a private-sector worker for a detail in his/her organization. The Organizational Nomination process will be initiated by the organization’s preparation of a memo, detailing the purpose and benefits of the detail, the eligibility requirements of the detail position, and the individual’s qualifications for the detail.
Selection/Approval for a Detail
Selection of Commerce Employees for a Private-Sector Detail: For those private-sector detail opportunities announced on the ACES Web site the Commerce CIO, or his/her Deputy, will designate a panel to evaluate all nomination memoranda received and to forward to the private-sector firm a list of all candidates meeting Commerce’s eligibility requirements along with their corresponding nomination memoranda. In reviewing candidates’ nomination for a detail, at a minimum, the Commerce CIO, or his/her deputy, will consider:
- The extent to which the employee’s current competencies and skills are being utilized in the Department,
- The employee’s capability to improve, enhance or learn skills and acquire competencies needed in the Department, and
- The benefits to the Department that would result from the employee’s participation in an ITEP detail.
The private sector firm will make the final selection of the detailee to be assigned, based upon its legitimate business needs and goals. The head of the Bureau from which the Commerce employee is detailed will indicate approval of the detail assignment through his/her signature on the three-party agreement between the Department, the individual (private-sector or federal employee), and the private-sector organization.
Selection of a Private-Sector Employee for a Detail Within Commerce: Opportunities for ITEP details from the private sector to Commerce will also be announced on the ACES Web site. The CIO of the Bureau in which the detail opportunity exists will designate a panel to evaluate all nomination memoranda received and will forward to the Bureau head a list of all candidates meeting Commerce’s eligibility requirements, along with their nomination memoranda. The Bureau head will then serve as the selecting official for the detail assignment
Before a detail can begin, the Commerce operating unit and private sector organization must enter into a written agreement with the individual(s) detailed. The written agreement must be a three-party agreement between the Department, the individual (private-sector or federal employee), and the private-sector organization. The written agreement must include, but is not limited to the following elements as defined in the implementing regulation, 5 CFR Part 370:
- The duties to be performed, duration, and terms under which extensions to the detail may be granted;
- An individual development plan describing the core IT competencies and technical skills that the detailee will be expected to enhance or acquire;
- Whether the individual will be supervised by a federal or private-sector employee, and a description of the supervision;
- The requirement for Commerce employees to return to their employing operating unit upon completion of the detail for a period equal to the length of the detail including any extensions; and
- The obligations and responsibilities of all parties as described in 5 U.S.C. 3702 through 3704.
At the end of the detail, the Commerce employee will return to the Department in his/her previous position and duties or be reassigned to another position of like pay and grade.
Continuing Service Agreements
Commerce employees participating in the ITEP must return to federal service for a period of time equal to the length of the detail, including any extensions. If a detailee voluntarily separates from Commerce and the federal service before successfully completing the required period of service, except for good and sufficient reason as determined by the head of his/her agency, they will be required to reimburse Commerce for any expenses associated with the detail assignment.
Length of Details
Details may be for a period of between 3 months and 1 year, and may be extended in
3-month increments for a total of not more than 1 additional year, in accordance with
5 U.S.C. 3702 (d).
Details may not be approved or extended after December 17, 2007. An individual serving on a detail prior to this date may continue to do so as long as the detail began or was extended on or before December 17, 2007.
For the life of the ITEP, Commerce operating units may not send on assignment an employee who has served on an ITEP detail for more than 6 years during his or her federal career. OPM may waive this provision upon request of OCIO and OHRM.
Terms and Conditions
A Department of Commerce employee participating in an ITEP detail:
- Remains a federal employee without loss of employee rights and benefits attached to that status.
- Remains subject to all Federal laws applicable to Commerce employees.
- Remains covered for purposes of the Federal Tort Claims Act, and for purposes of injury compensation as described in 5 U.S.C. chapter 81; and
- Is subject to any action that may impact the employee’s position while he/she is detailed.
An individual detailed from a private-sector organization under this part:
- Is deemed to be an employee of the Department of Commerce for various legal purposes as detailed in section 370.106 (b)(1) of the 5 CFR Part 370 ITEP regulation.
- Does not have any right or expectation for federal employment solely on the basis of his/her detail.
- May not have access to any trade secrets or to any other non-public information which is of commercial value to the private-sector organization from which he/she is detailed.
- Is subject to such regulations as the President may prescribe; and
- Is covered by 5 U.S.C. chapter 81, Compensation for Work Injuries, as provided in 5 U.S.C. 3704 (c).
Other terms and conditions Additional terms and conditions for assignment to ITEP details, relating specifically to the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of the Department, private-sector organizations, Commerce employees and private-sector employees, are spelled out in the implementing regulation, 5 CFR Part 370, and are made a part of this ITEP Plan by reference.
Documentation and Recordkeeping
Each Commerce operating unit OCIO will, as required by the implementing regulation, prepare and submit to the Commerce CIO, semiannual reports in accordance with
5 U.S.C. 3706. Individual three-party ITEP agreements will specify the required documentation to be provided, but each report will include as a minimum:
- The total number of individuals detailed to, and the total number of individuals detailed from, the operating unit during the reporting period;
- A brief description of each detail reported, including:
- The name of the detailed individual, and the private sector organization and the operating unit to or from which such individual was detailed;
- The respective positions to and from which the individual was detailed, including the duties and responsibilities and the pay grade or level associated with each; and the duration and objectives of the individual’s detail.
- Documentation relating to the selection process for the detail, including, but not limited to, the nomination memoranda received for each detail and the rationale for the candidate selection made.
- Close out reporting and evaluation documentation (i.e., a written report and evaluation of the detail by both the detailee and the receiving organization).
Barry C. West
Chief Information Officer
- Questions regarding this section may be directed to the IT Workforce Administrator