Health Systems by D. Junell Scheeres
Industrial Engineer’s monthly column about health systems (November 2012)
CPI in public service
I recently found myself reciting the adage “what goes around, comes around” as I signed a dozen forms and listened to hours of in-processing briefings. The day culminated in a formal ceremony where I faced the American flag, raised my hand and took an oath to “… support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; … and to well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I was about to enter.” With that pledge, I committed to serve our country in the Department of the Army, civil service corps. I took a similar oath more than 30 years ago when I joined the U.S. Air Force.
Industrial engineers can bring their continuous performance improvement skills to the public sector in many ways. You just need to know where to look.
In the military: According to www.careersinthemilitary.com, IEs serve in all branches, including the Coast Guard and the Reserves, to assure quality, conduct research and help deploy people and equipment for their best use. Industrial engineers receive specialized training to create management standards, conduct problem and process analysis and develop best practices in production and purchasing. My introduction to industrial engineering began in the mid-1980s with the Air Force management engineering basic course, followed by various production, scheduling and quality assurance courses at the Army’s Management Engineering College in Rock Island, Ill. The Rock Island Arsenal Museum is a testament to industrial manufacturing processes dating back to the 1880s. IEs have been with the military for more than 100 years.
To get into today’s military, contact a recruiter from your preferred branch of service. Recruiters will help evaluate your core competencies, experience and skill affinities by giving you The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Industrial engineers and management engineers serve in many officer and enlisted positions worldwide.
In civil service: Performance improvement resources are expanding into multiple government agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, Transportation Safety Administration, U.S. Postal Service and Department of Veterans Affairs, to name a few. Getting into federal civil service positions can be much more complex than joining the military. To begin with, there are multiple variations when it comes to classifying the job series where industrial engineers and continuous performance improvement practitioners align. Several civil service job series utilize industrial engineering skills, and it will be up to human resource staffers to recommend you for a particular job.
Some key series to research include 0301, miscellaneous administration and program; 0340, program management; 0343, program and management analyst; 0346, logistics management specialist; 0802, engineering technician; 0895, industrial engineering technician; 0896, industrial engineer; 1101, general business and industry; 1152, production control; 1601, general facilities and equipment; and 1670, equipment specialist.
To search each of the series listed above, go to www.usajobs.gov, create a personal profile and upload your resume, along with any specialized documents. You should review the position description of any open positions being advertised.
My upcoming transition from the private to the public sector will provide me with new opportunities to make a difference on a national platform. If you wish to serve in a similar way, you may want to consider public service.
D. Junell Scheeres is president of LS2 Performance Solutions LLC and is a lean Six Sigma master black belt with more than 25 years of industrial engineering experience improving healthcare in the military, public and private sectors. She is a Diplomate and previous board member of IIE’s Society for Health Systems. Reach her at email@example.com.