Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Career with the Social Security Administration in Washington State

What do you think of when you hear Social Security Administration? Chances are you don’t think of an exciting job, but I do. My name is Shandee; I work for the Social Security Administration’s Auburn Teleservice Center and I want to give you a little insight to the career waiting for you.
I am a Teleservice Representative or TSR; I answer calls coming into SSA’s national 800#. This is not your typical call center job, it is mentally challenging and extremely rewarding! I help people from all walks of life, in all the various stages of living. In a typical day I help people solve problems with their benefits; missing checks, changing direct deposit, understanding Medicare Premium Billings. I explain the requirements for Social Security Cards, as well as screen individuals to see if they are eligible for benefits and set up appointments at their local office. I answer medical insurance questions, explain how work or other income affects benefits, and schedule repayment plans. I also advise people of their legal rights and help them to file appeals. As you can see, I have to be able to wear many different hats to do my job well. I have to have good listening and communication skills to be effective. I need to be able to think on my feet and put the pieces of the puzzle together- often people don’t know what to ask for or what they need, they just know what their problem is and it is up to me to help them solve it.

When I started this job, I had no idea just how large Social Security was or how many programs it was involved in. I didn’t realize just how far it would push me, how much I would learn, or the differences I would be making in peoples’ lives. I can tell you, without a doubt, that I have saved lives just by answering the phone and doing my job. I love where I work and the people I work with; they create a supportive environment. SSA promotes internally and has many programs that let you try out new positions to find out where you want your career to go. I recently received a JEP as a Program Analyst in Recruiting. A JEP is a 4 month promotion that allows you to expand your knowledge in another position. I get the pay rate and workload of a Program Analyst, and it has allowed me to reach out to you and show you what an opportunity awaits you here.

Perhaps you are wondering what type of degree is required to start here, the answer is none. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in any field you can start as a GS-5 ($33,414), my degree is in English Literature, old English Literature. With related experience you can hire as a GS-6 ($37,246) or even a GS-7 ($41,390). This is an entry level position with a Career Ladder to GS-8 ($45,383); promotions are usually given every year. After a probationary period is satisfied, you can apply for internal job openings. Being a Federal position we have job security, 10 Federal holidays, paid Vacation and Sick Leave, Retirement, Thrift Savings Plan, Health and Life Insurance.

So what happens after you start? Do we expect you to know all of Social Security overnight? No, we provide 13 weeks paid classroom training, on the job training and mentorship so that you can understand, explain and feel comfortable assisting individuals with all the various programs we administer. There is no end to learning here at Social Security; we continue to receive training even after reaching Journey Level.

We are looking for the next generation of Social Security Leaders, are you ready to answer the call?

If you have questions or want more information e-mail me at wa.fo.atsc.recruiting at ssa dot gov.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Foreign Service Oral Assessment Prep Session

On Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 3:30 p.m., Mr. Ed Ed Kulakowski, the State Department Diplomat-In-Residence for the West Coast, will be on campus to give tips on taking the Foreign Service Oral Assessment. If you have recently passed the FSOT or are on your way to the FSOA, please join us. It will run for about two hours, so you can join us a little late.

WHO: Candidates who have passed the Foreign Service Officer's Test
WHAT: Diplomat-in-Residence FSOA prep
WHEN: July 13, 3:30 to 5:40 p.m.
WHERE: University of Washington-Seattle, Savery Hall 131, (visit http://www.washington.edu/maps/?l=SAV for a map)

The Oral Assessment is an assessment for selection as an entry level Foreign Service Officer. Oral Assessment exercises: are based on a job analysis of the work of the Foreign Service, reflect the skills, abilities and personal qualities deemed essential to the performance of that work, and are not an adversarial process: you do not compete against other candidates but instead are judged on your capacity to demonstrate the skills and abilities necessary to be an effective Foreign Service Officer.

Edward Kulakowski


Ed Kulakowski, a Senior Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State, currently is the Counselor for Press and Culture at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. He previously served as Cultural Attaché in Moscow, Russia (two tours); Public Affairs Officer in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; America House Director in Yerevan, Armenia; and with the U.S. Information Agency's (USIA) Voice of America and Exhibits Service in Washington D.C. Mr. Kulakowski was initially recruited from Honolulu, Hawaii by USIA in 1978 to serve as an Exhibit Guide on a U.S. exhibition in the Soviet Union. He received BA (1971) and MA (1973) degrees in Russian and Russian/Soviet Areas Studies from the University of Hawaii and was an exchange student at Leningrad State University in 1973-74.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Careers with the US Department of State

Two UW alumni speakers will discuss careers with the US Department of State and answer your questions. This event is sponsored by the Department of Economics and the Jackson School of International Studies, in partnership with the Evans School of Public Affairs. This is a FREE event.

3:30 PM

Jeff Anders

Jeff Anders earned his BA in Economics from the University of Washington in 1997. After, Mr. Anders joined Milgard Manufacturing of Tacoma, WA as the Central and South American Sales Manager. In 1999 Mr. Anders received his securities license and began working as a financial planner specializing in estate planning for GE Capital. The U.S. Department of State offered Mr. Anders a position as a Diplomatic Courier in January of 2008. For the past two and a half years Mr. Anders' responsibilities have involved moving diplomatic material throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. During this time Mr. Anders developed an algorithm for measuring the efficiency of diplomatic courier trips which has yielded significant savings to the U.S. Government. For this effort, Mr. Anders has been nominated for Diplomatic Security Specialist of the Year.

Philip Wall

Philip Wall earned his MA in East Asian Studies in 1975. He also received an MBA in Finance from UW in 1978. Over the course of his 26-year career with the U.S. Department of State, he served in Washington, D.C. and overseas in China, Taiwan, Pakistan, France, New Zealand, and the Bahamas. He was, at various times, Deputy Chief of Mission in Wellington, Director of East Asian Economic Policy in the State Department, and Foreign Affairs Advisor to the Mayor of San Francisco. Mr. Wall retired in 2005, having attained the senior rank of Minister Counselor. Mr. Wall has extensive experience as a foreign affairs analyst, on issues as varied as human rights in Taiwan, trade relations with China, World Bank development goals, and the origins of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. As a negotiator, he helped remove trade barriers to US agricultural products, create new regional trade agreements, set development priorities in the Asian-Pacific Economic (APEC) forum, and shape the policy research agenda at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As a senior diplomat, he directed staff and resources, and shaped foreign policy goals, in several State Department units and at an important overseas mission. Mr. Wall completed his early education at the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a BA in History. During his career, he earned professional-level ratings in spoken and written Mandarin Chinese and French.

For more information about this event, please contact Zoe Williams at zlw at uw dot edu or by phone at 206  543  5945.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ambassador Profile: Amye Hoerner - Social Security Administration

I am a University of Washington political science major from Bremerton, WA. I have been interning for the SSA since December 2009. I started out in the volunteer intern program and received 15 credits from POLS 496. I am now a paid intern and accumulating leave for every pay period. I love the benefits of working for Social Security.

Outside of work I enjoy traveling, snowboarding, and running. I want to get my Masters in Public Administration and perhaps a J.D.

I started at Social Security with an average GPA, little work experience, and no clue about my future. They promised me a valuable experience to put on my resume. However, this internship has turned out to be more than just an application booster. My supervisor is now my mentor. He has provided me with the best resources and advice. I’ve started networking within Social Security and now have no doubt in my mind that I would love to end up here someday.

Amye Hoerner is a new ambassador joining us this summer and into the next school year. If you have any questions about working for the Social Security Administration, feel free to email amyerae at uw dot edu.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Public Service Career and Internship Fair on July 14!

If you are going to be in DC this summer, don't miss out on the opportunity to network with representatives from more than 75 federal agencies at the Eighth Annual Public Service Career and Internship Fair, hosted by the Partnership for Public Service. This year’s event will take place on July 14 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Admission is FREE and open to the public!
Agencies will be recruiting for a variety of internships and entry-level jobs including:

* Special Agents
* Engineers
* Program Analysts
* Financial Specialists
* Environmental Scientists
* IT Specialists
* Economists
* Contract Specialists
* And more!

The Public Service Career and Internship Fair is a one of a kind event. No other fair connects so many federal agencies with students and recent graduates eager to pursue government work. At the fair, your students and interns will have the chance to meet and interact with government employees, and learn more about their agencies, missions and available positions.

What You Need to Know:
2010 Public Service Career and Internship Fair
July 14, 2010
3:00-7:00 p.m.
National Building Museum
Washington, D.C.