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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What are the courses the Career Transition Center has to offer and how do I enroll?

A: The following are the courses CTC offers:

Retirement Planning Seminar (RV101)

This seminar offers useful information for planning your transition. RV101 is recommended for personnel who plan to retire in fewer ten years. Experts in various fields discuss financial and estate planning, tax issues, Social Security, federal health benefits (FEHB) and Medicare, annuities, long- term care, transition issues, health and fitness, and career management. All four retirement plan annuities (FSPS, FERS, FSRDS and CSRS) are addressed in RV 101. The RV103 Financial Management and Estate Planning and the RV104 Annuities, Benefits and Social Security are embedded in the Retirement Planning Seminar. Concurrent registration is not required.

Audience: Department of State direct-hire (FS, CS) employees. Spouses of enrolled DoS employees may attend on a space-available basis. Other agency employees who meet the above-stated requirements may attend on a reimbursable basis; spouses on a space-available reimbursable basis.

Financial Management and Estate Planning (RV103)

RV103 is a one-day seminar and it includes comprehensive sessions on financial management and estate planning. This seminar is offered six times per year and is embedded in the four-day RV101 Retirement Planning Seminar.

Audience: Department of State direct-hire (FS, CS) employees and spouses of enrolled DoS employees may attend on a space-available basis. Other agency employees who meet the above-stated requirements may attend on a reimbursable basis; spouses on a space-available reimbursable basis.

Annuities, Benefits and Social Security (RV104)

RV104 is a one-day seminar designed to assist employees in understanding their federal Civil Service or Foreign Service annuities, TSP, Social Security, as well as Medicare and the Federal Employee Health Benefits. This seminar is offered six times per year and is embedded in the four-day RV101 Retirement Planning Seminar.

Audience: Department of State direct-hire (FS, CS) employees. Spouses of enrolled DoS students may attend on a space-available basis. Other agency employees who meet the above-stated requirements may attend on a reimbursable basis; spouses on a space-available reimbursable basis.

Mid-Career Retirement Planning (RV105)

This seminar, offered four times per year, is designed for employees in early and mid-career who are more than 10 years from retirement eligibility. RV105 addresses two annuity plans, FERS and FSPS. RV105 does not address the CSRS and FSRDS annuity plans. Employees who have CSRS and FSRDS retirement plans are advised to register for RV101.

Audience: Department of State direct-hire (FS, CS) employees. Spouses of enrolled DoS employees may attend on a space-available basis. Other agency employees who meet the above-stated requirements may attend on a reimbursable basis; spouses on a space-available reimbursable basis.

To Enroll in Any of the Above Courses:

  • Department of State employees apply online or FS may contact HR/CDA.
  • DoS spouses of enrolled DoS employees, contact the Career Transition Center at 703-302-7407 to be placed on the wait list.
  • Non-DoS and their EFMs submit a funded SF-182 Request for Training to the FSI Office of the Registrar; fax 703-302-7152.

Note: Questions may be referred to the FSI Office of the Registrar at 703-302-7144/7137 or e-mailed to the Office of the Registrar.

Job Search Program (RV102)

The Job Search Program addresses all aspects of transition from federal government employment to future employment, entrepreneurship, volunteer work and traditional retirement. JSP includes a four week full time program for all participants, consisting of an intensive learning experience of individual/group training and counseling designed to assist employees to transition successfully into the next phase of their professional and personal lives. The course emphasizes skill assessment, resume and self-marketing materials, networking, interviewing techniques and transition strategies. RV 102 is offered three times per year; in March, August and October.

Prerequisite: Personnel who register for RV 102, Job Search Program must submit their retirement application in advance. Foreign Service personnel must submit their retirement application at least 30 days prior to the course start date. Civil Service personnel must submit their retirement application at least 60 days prior to the course start date.

Course Objectives:

  • Identify plans for the future and develop a roadmap to achieve individual goals.
  • Acquire and demonstrate skills and knowledge for successful job search.

Audience: Department of State (FS, CS) employees who are retiring or being involuntarily separated (other than for cause). Other agency employees who meet the above-stated requirements may attend on a reimbursable basis.

To Enroll in the Job Search Program:

  • Department of State Foreign Service apply through HR/CDA. Department of State Civil Service employees apply through your Bureau Training Office.
  • Non-DoS submit a funded SF-182 Request for Training to the FSI Office of the Registrar; fax 703-302-7152.

Schedule: The Shultz Center, Arlington, Virginia, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The structured classroom portion of the program occurs in the first month. Civil Service participants are enrolled for one month. Foreign Service participants are enrolled for two months and have the second month for independent transition and job search activities. Employees are permitted to enroll in their final 30 (CS) or 60 (FS) days of active service, or during the twelve months that follows their retirement date, as long as they are registered prior to the date of retirement. 

Q: Who is eligible to enroll in the Retirement Planning Seminars? (RV101, RV103, RV104, RV105)?

A: The FSI/TC Retirement Planning courses are open to foreign affairs agency employees and eligible family members (EFM) returning from overseas and domestic postings.

For tuition-based courses, non-State employees/EFMs must submit an SF-182 (with fiscal data) through their Training Officer to the Office of the Registrar at FSI (phone 703-302-7137, fax 703-302-7152 or FSIRegistrar@state.gov).

Q: How do I cancel my enrollment (withdraw from the course)? What does it mean to get a "No-Show or an Incomplete?

A:

Department of State Students:

  • State Department students may cancel or reschedule training through the Student Online Records Web site, by e-mail to FSICourseCancel@state.gov or through their training office. Foreign Service employees, whose training is processed through their CDO, should contact him/her to cancel or reschedule.
  • Students must cancel requests in writing at least five business days prior to the course start date.
    • Bureaus will be charged an amount equal to the tuition fee if the student is a "no-show" for the training.
    • Bureaus will be charged an amount equal to 50% of the tuition fee if the student's attedance is Incomplete (i.e., less than 80% attendance).
    • Bureaus may provide a substitute student to avoid "no-show" penalties. That student must submit an approved training request prior to the course start. He/she may also bring the application to the Office of Registrar, Room F1245, the morning of the training.
  • Waivers for State employees, including those for illness or a family emergency, are at the discretion of the Registrar. Requests for all waivers should be sent in writing to the Registrar (e-mail is acceptable to FSIRegistrar@state.gov).
  • Department of State bureaus are responsible for determining accountability for no-shows and incompletes and for taking appropriate action within the bureau.

Non-Department of State Students:

  • Non-Department students may cancel or reschedule training through e-mail to FSICourseCancel@state.gov or fax to 703-302-7152.
  • If payment is made with a government purchase card, agencies must notify the FSI Office of the Registrar in writing, prior to the 10th working day before the course begins to avoid a no-show penalty (e.g., if training start date is 03/28/11, last date to cancel is 03/11/11). Government purchase cards are charged 10 working days in advance of the start date; therefore, a cancellation received after this point is non-refundable.
  • If training is funded through a purchase order, agencies must cancel at least five working days prior to the course start date, to avoid their agency being charged a "no-show" penalty. The notification should be sent in writing to the Office of the Registrar.
  • Agencies may provide a substitute student to avoid "no-show" penalties. An authorized training request must be received by the FSI Office of the Registrar prior to the substitute attending the class.
  • Waivers, including those for illness or a family emergency, are at the discretion of the Registrar. Requests for all waivers should be sent in writing to the Registrar (e-mail is acceptable to FSIRegistrar@state.gov).
  • For full-time language training, a fee equal to one week's tuition will be charged for each week the student remains in a "no-show" status. No-shows for language tests will be billed at the full test rate.

The Office of the Registrar will send e-mail confirmation to the student and training officer when request is processed. If e-mail is not received contact the office to confirm.

FSI bills bureaus and non-State agencies on a quarterly basis for no-shows and incompletes.

 Q: Am I eligible for Hotel and Per Diem expenses while taking CTC courses?

A: FSI does not pay hotel or per diem expenses associated with its courses. According to HR/CDA SOP A-7, Assignments to Training, post is not responsible for sending an employee to the RV101 - Retirement Planning Seminar. Only employees who are in their last overseas assignment before retirement or separation are eligible to request student per diem funds. No other employees are eligible for per diem for RV101. Eligible employees must request per diem for the seminar through their Career Development Officer (CDO).

NOTE: This is a new policy. Prior to July 2013, when this new guidance was established, employees were eligible to request per diem for RV101. When HR/EX and HR/CDA reviewed the list of eligible courses, and the limited funding available, they made the decision to remove RV101 from the list of courses eligible for Student Per Diem funds because it is not a mandatory course and is not required for professional development.

See HR/CDA SOP A-7 - Assignments to Training (intranet link).

According to 13 FAH-1H-422.2-4 (see below) per diem is not authorized for the Job Search program.

13 FAH-1 H-422.2-4 Employees Assigned Abroad

(CT:FSIH-08; 06-26-2012)
(Uniform State/USAID)
(Civil Service and Foreign Service Employees)


Separation orders for employees assigned abroad will include authorization to travel to the Service separation address via Washington, DC to attend the JSP. Neither per diem nor transfer allowances will be authorized; participation will be at the expense of the employees. If the Retirement Planning Seminar is attended immediately preceding the JSP, per diem will not be authorized in connection with either course. Family members will be authorized travel directly to the service separation address only.

Q: Who is eligible to enroll in the Job Search Program?

A: Department of State (FS, CS) employees who are retiring or being involuntarily separated (other than for cause). Other agency employees who meet the above-stated requirements may attend on a reimbursable basis. Those who already have retired may take part in the Job Search Program during their first year of retirement, but they must have formally applied before retiring.

Q: Is my spouse/partner eligible to attend the Retirement Planning Seminar(s)?

A: Department of State spouses/partners may attend the Retirement Planning Seminar(s) on a space available basis. DOS employees should send the full name of the spouse/partner along with an alternate email address to FSI Career Transition fsictc.gov or call 703-302-7407 and he/she will be placed on the waiting list. Approximately, two weeks before the course begins CTC will send an email to confirm whether or not there is space available for your spouse/partner. CTC always tries to accommodate spouses and partners.

Non-Department of State spouses/partners must have their sponsor submit a funded SF-182 Request for Training to the FSI Office of the Registrar, fax 703-302-7152.

Q: Is my Department of State spouse/partner eligible to attend the Retirement Planning Seminar(s) without me?

A: No. According to 13 FAH-1 H-421.2, spouse/partners are welcome to attend the same session with their spouse/partner employee sponsor only.

Q: Where are the CTC Programs held, and how do I get there?

A: CTC's Programs are held at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center (also known as NFATC, the Foreign Service Institute, FSI, the Shultz Center, and State Annex 42). NFATC is located near the intersection of Arlington Boulevard/Route 50 with George Mason Drive. (Arlington Boulevard is also known as Route 50.)

Directions from Washington, D.C. and the East: Traveling west on US 50, move into the right lane after you pass the Ft. Myer military installation. Look for a small green sign saying "NFATC." Take the George Mason Drive exit (the first exit after Glebe Road). Turn left on South George Mason Drive, cross the bridge, and make an immediate left turn (as though you were returning to US 50 to travel east), continue east on the access road (Arlington Boulevard) for about one block and turn right into the entrance of the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center.

Directions from Fairfax and the West: Traveling east on US 50 East, pass Seven Corners, proceed approximately 1.8 miles, then look for a small green sign saying "NFATC." Take the George Mason Drive exit, proceed straight through the traffic light (as though you were returning to US 50 to travel east), continue east on the access road (Arlington Boulevard) for about one block and turn right at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center.

Special note: Please note that NFATC has 2 entrance gates—one on Arlington Boulevard and one on George Mason Drive. Between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., you can only enter through the Arlington Boulevard gate. At the vehicle entrance: Show a picture I.D.

At the Visitors Center entrance: For State Department employees, show your I.D. For other agency employees who are enrolled in a course, let the Guard on duty at the desk that you are an enrolled student and the name of the course. Spouses/partners should be on the visitor's list if you have let us know you are coming. If your name is not on the guard's list, then call the CTC office for assistance (703-302-7407). Please note that any purses, briefcases, and other equipment that you are carrying will have to be inspected and x-rayed by security.

Q: Where do I park?

A: FSI has several parking letters. Daily parking is available for $5.00 per day. If you wish to buy a monthly parking permit (or longer) and you have a state.gov e-mail address, you can access the Parking Permit Request website from the DoS OpenNet at the following URL: http://fsicsapps3.fsi.state.gov/FsiParkingV3/disclaimer.aspx

If you do not have a state.gov e-mail address, or wish to apply from your home address, use this URL (Internet): http://fsiapps.state.gov/Fsiparking/disclaimer.aspx

Q: What if all the parking places are taken?

A: There is an overflow parking lot detailed below that can be found by following these directions on Google Maps.

Q: Is there public transportation to FSI?

A: There a Metro buses available from several Metro stations including Ballston, Pentagon and Rosslyn. Check Metro's website at www.wmata.com or Google Maps.

Q: May I ride the Shuttle to FSI?

A: You may ride the Shuttle if you have one of the following forms of I.D.:

  • State/USAID Building Pass ("Badge")
  • U.S. Diplomatic Passport
  • DOS Shuttle Guest Pass With Photo I.D.
  • DOS Visitor Pass
  • Formal Documentation Reflecting Registration in an Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Course when presented with a picture I.D.
  • Other Federal Government Agency Photo ID and Military Photo ID (Active Duty Only) 
  • State/USAID Building Pass ("Badge")
  • U.S. Diplomatic Passport
  • DOS Shuttle Guest Pass With Photo I.D.
  • DOS Visitor Pass
  • Formal Documentation Reflecting Registration in an Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Course when presented with a picture I.D.
  • Other Federal Government Agency Photo ID and Military Photo ID (Active Duty Only)

Q: Where can I find housing in the Washington D.C. area?

A: Please see the OBC's Short Term Housing page or more options in the below chart.


Washington, D.C.
 
Thompson-Markwood Hall
http://www.tmhdc.org
235 2nd Street, NE Washington, DC 20002
(202)546-3255
Throughout Year
Women only/Single bedroom with community bath
Meals, utilities, internet & phone included
Reservations are accepted for a minimum of two weeks.
George Washington University
http://summerhousing.gwu.edu
(202)994-6883
Fax: (202)994-6730
sumhouse@gwu.edu
GW Housing Programs- Summer Housing Only
Avail: May27, 2012-August 11, 2012
There is a minimum 5-week stay required.
$210-400/week
Located in and around the GWU's campus on H, 20, 21, & 22 Sts.
American University
www.american.edu/ocl/housing/intern-housing.cfm
Avail: May 13, 2012-August 11, 2012
Single :$344.00/week
Double: $277.00/week
Triple: $246.00/week
Located in and around AU's campus mostly off of Nebraska Ave. NW
The Catholic University of America http://conferences.cua.edu/summer/index.cfm
201 Pryzbyla Center Washington, DC 20064
(202)319-5291
Avail: May 19, 2012-August 4, 2012
Include laundry, cable, local phone service, Ethernet, cooking facilities, food court, and 24 hour emergency staff assistance.
Two week minimum stay
$28-$50/night
International Student House http://ishdc.org/
1825 R Street, NW Washington, DC 20009
(202)232-4007
$650-$850/month; includes 2 meals/day and activities
Located just off Dupont Circle in DC
Washington Intern Housing Network
http://thewihn.com/
(202)579-9446
$2120-$6040/entire stay
Fully Furnished accommodations, Electric, Gas, Water, High speed wireless internet, Premium digital cable, Monthly cleaning services (common areas only), Amenities fees (luxury condos only), Taxes
Washington Intern Student Housing http://internsdc.com
interns@internsdc.com
(202)548-2720
Avail: April 28, 2012-August 11, 2012

Virginia
 
Virginian Suites
1500 Arlington Blvd. Arlington, VA 22209
www.virginiansuites.com/extended_stay
(703)522-9600
Transportation: Free Shuttle to FSI and Rosslyn Metro Station
Cost: $89-$120/night, monthly rates avail. Also Transportation is a bit limited. It's a necessity to have a car.
 

Transportation to FSI:

If you choose to live in DC, there is a shuttle to FSI from Main State that picks up on C Street as well as at the Rosslyn metro stop. This provides easy transportation to FSI. If you have a vehicle with you, there is a $5/day parking fee at FSI. The more feasible option is to buy the monthly parking pass which is $10/month.

Housing Choices:

Being outside of DC leads to extra planning concerning transportation and arrival time, as you have to plan at least 30 minutes by metro to get anywhere in the city. However, Arlington is a nice area with good restaurants and shopping. Close proximity to FSI is also a plus due to traffic and the stress of commuting.

Here are some other sources for housing:

 Q: I'm already retired, how do I get access to FSI to take my retirement courses?

A: Because you are a student in a course at FSI, you will check in with the guards at the Visitor Center when you arrive on the first day and they will give you a Student Badge. We will have requested a student badge for you for the whole time of your enrollment.

Retirement badges (and student badges) do allow you on the shuttle. However, you are correct retirement badges alone will not get you into FSI if you are not also on the Visitor's list or an enrollment roster for a course.

Q: Are spouses/partners eligible to use the Career Transition Center for counselor/resume review and for researching EFM jobs etc.?

A: Spouses/Partners are welcome to accompany their sponsors to any of the seminars our office delivers (RV 101, 102, 103, 104 and 105) but we are not equipped or funded to provide the assistance described. However, spouses/partners do have access to the Employment Tools courses offered by our colleagues in the Training Division of the Transition Center, http://fsi.m.state.sbu/sites/tc/training/Life/default.aspx (intranet link) and http://www.state.gov/m/fsi/tc/fslstraining/index.htm as well as the services of the Career Development Resource Center, http://intranet.hr.state.sbu/Workforce/Development/CDRC/Pages/default.aspx (intranet link).

Q: Do you offer services for WAEs (When Actually Employed)?

A: The CTC does not maintain a list of WAE job vacancies in the U.S. Department of State. Moreover, the CTC cannot provide a list of WAEs eligible for hire. To date, there is no central location for WAE enrollment or job leads. You must contact each bureau's Human Resources Office for information.

Q: I am unemployed and interested in working for the U.S. Government. Can I send you my resume?

A: No, for information regarding employment with the U.S. Department of State, contact the Recruitment Office through the agency website: http://www.state.gov/careers .

Q: Do potential employers have access to a list of Foreign Service retirees and their specialties/technical skills?

A: The CTC does not provide this information to private sector employers. Private sector employers frequently advertise their job vacancies to Job Search Program graduates and others through the CTC's Job Leads service.


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