Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration Peer Support Apprentice in Des Moines, Iowa

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  • Duties



The Peer Support Apprentice participates as a full member of multidisciplinary Mental Health treatment teams providing clinical care while focusing on recovery, rehabilitation and community integration. This positions serves as a recovery agent by providing, advocating and facilitating effective recovery based services utilizing a wide variety of recovery-oriented tools.

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This position is located at the Community Resource & Referral Center (CRRC) in downtown Des Moines working with Veterans who are homeless and receiving services. This peer support specialist will be primarily working with Veterans in the CRRC Day Room.

The entry level Peer Support Apprentice position does not provide any known promotion potential, but does allow uncertified, but otherwise qualified veterans to receive training for becoming certified and thus fully qualified for future non-time limited Peer Specialist opportunities. Peer support apprentices serve in a developmental capacity and do not receive the full range of assignments performed by Peer Specialist positions.

This position involves a multi-grade career ladder. The major duties listed below represent the full performance level of GS-9. At the GS-5 grade level, you will perform assignments of a more limited scope and with less independence. You will progressively acquire the background necessary to perform at the full performance level of GS-9. Promotion is at the discretion of the supervisor and is contingent upon satisfactory performance, availability of higher level work, and availability of funds.

Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Orients Veterans new to the program about services, staff, programming and the role of the Peer Support in the recovery process.
  • Assists Veteran to articulate personal goals for recovery through use of one-to-one and group interactions/sessions.
  • Assists Veterans in determining steps he/she needs to take in order to achieve their identified goals and aids in their self-directed recovery process
  • Teaches Veterans how to identify and combat negative self-talk and how to overcome fears by providing outlets for the sharing of experiences in recovery.
  • Teaches and models the value of every Veteran's individual recovery experience.
  • Assists Veterans to develop empowerment skills and to combat stigma through self-advocacy.
  • Works with Veterans to develop a personal recovery plan.
  • Works with Veterans to develop aftercare/continuing care plans that are also patient centered and includes personal, community and peers supports.
  • Observes behaviors that could indicate difficulty in adapting to treatment or might be a risk to self/others and reports concerns to appropriate clinical staff for the care and safety of the Veteran. Work Schedule: M-F, 7:30am- 4:00pm Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Position Description/PD#: Peer Support Apprentice/0064-A
Travel Required

Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


  • #### Job family (Series)

0102 Social Science Aid and Technician

  • Requirements


Conditions of Employment
  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period
  • Subject to background/security investigation
  • Restricted to eligible veterans in mental health recovery
  • Must have a current valid drivers license.

To qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement 10/1/2018. Statutory Requirements * Section 405 of Public Law 110-387, as codified in 38 USC 7402(b)(13), established that to be eligible to receive appointment as a Peer Specialist position, a person must: (1) be a veteran* who has recovered or is recovering from a mental health condition; (2) (GS-6 and higher) be certified as a Peer Specialist by (a) a non-profit entity engaged in peer specialist training as having met such criteria as the Secretary shall establish for peer specialist position; OR (b) a State as having satisfied relevant State requirements for a peer specialist position. NOTE: Applicant's hired as Peer Support Apprentices at the GS-5 level will be required to be certified within a prescribed time period. Failure to do so may result in termination. * Length of Experience as a Consumer of Mental Health Recovery Services. Veterans eligible under 38 USC 7402(b)(13) must have spent a minimum of 1 year in personal recovery from a mental health condition. BASIC REQUIREMENTS: * Must be a Veteran of the United Stated Armed Forces. * Must have recovered from, or in the process of recovering from, a mental health condition. * Must have spent a minimum of 1 year in recovery from a mental health condition. (Note: Please just submit a copy of your DD214- Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.)

PEER SUPPORT APPRENTICES GS-5: Peer Support Apprentices must actively pursue becoming certified as required to serve as a Peer Specialist. At the time of appointment, the supervisor will provide the Peer Support Apprentice with the written requirements for becoming certified, the date by which he or she must become certified, and the consequences for not becoming certified by the deadline. Failure to do so may result in termination.

You will be rated on the following Competencies for this position:

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Note: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. Applicants wishing to receive credit for such experience must indicate clearly the nature of their duties and responsibilities in each position and the number of hours a week spent in such employment.

There is no educational substitution at this grade level.

Physical Requirements:The applicant must be able to perform primarily light and sedentary duties with occasionally moderate physical demands, exercise patience, and control emotions, with reasonable accommodation if necessary, without endangering the health and safety of the applicant or others.

Additional information

Receiving Service Credit or Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee.

Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process.

Placement Policy: The posting of this announcement does not obligate management to fill a vacancy or vacancies by promotion. The position may be filled by reassignment, change to lower grade, transfer, appointment, or reinstatement. Management may use any one or any combination of these methods to fill the position.

It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.

For more information on the "Who may apply" eligibility requirements, please refer to the OHRM Status Candidates and Other Candidate Definitions document.

If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.

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How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.


Narrative responses are not required at this time. If you are referred for consideration, you may be asked to submit additional job related information, which may include, but not limited to; responses to the knowledge, skills and abilities; completion of a work sample, and/or contact for an interview.Your resume and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating or consideration for employment.

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Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance

Not Applicable

Drug test required


  • Required Documents


Required Documents

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes: " src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Required Docs Bullets" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Required Docs Bullets" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Required Docs Bullets" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Required Docs Bullets" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Required Docs Bullets" />

The following documents are accepted, and may be required if applicable to your eligibility and/or qualifications for this position. Please use this checklist to make sure you have included other documents required for your application, such as a copy of your transcript (if using education to qualify), SF-50's (current/former Federal employees), documentation to support Veterans Preference claims, or ICTAP/CTAP documentation (for displaced Federal employees). You will not be contacted for additional information. " src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Accepted Docs Bullets" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Accepted Docs Bullets" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Accepted Docs Bullets" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Accepted Docs Bullets" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Accepted Docs Bullets" />

Veterans' Preference: When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference for 5pt (TP), 10pt (CP/CPS/XP), or for Sole Survivor Preference (SSP) in the questionnaire. You must provide a legible copy of your DD214(s) which shows dates and character of service (honorable, general, etc.). If you are currently serving on active duty and expect to be released or discharged within 120 days you must submit documentation related to your active duty service which reflects the dates of service, character of service (honorable, general, etc.), and dates of impending separation. Additionally, disabled veterans and others eligible for 10-point preference (such as widows or mothers of eligible Veterans) must also submit an SF-15 "Application for 10 Point Veteran Preference" with required proof as stated on the form. Documentation is required to award preference.For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Benefits



A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.

Review our benefits

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • How to Apply


How to Apply

All applicants are encouraged to apply online.To apply for this position, you must complete the questionnaire and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below. The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (ET) on " src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Close Date" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Close Date" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Close Date" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Close Date" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Close Date" /> to receive consideration. To preview the questionnaire click" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Application Preview" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Application Preview" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Application Preview" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Application Preview" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Application Preview" />" src="/images/placeholder.png?txt=Application Preview" />.

  1. To begin, click Apply Online to create a USA JOBS account or log in to your existing account. Follow the prompts to select your USA JOBS resume and/or other supporting documents and complete the occupational questionnaire.
  2. Click Submit My Answers to submit your application package. NOTE: It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation is submitted prior to the closing date. To verify your application is complete, log into your USA JOBS account,, select the Application Status link and then select the more information link for this position. The Application page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process. To return to an incomplete application, log into your USA JOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USA JOBS account or your application will be incomplete.

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Agency contact information
VHACIH Recruitment




VA Central Iowa Health Care System 3600 30th St Des Moines, IA 50310 US

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Next steps

Once your online application is submitted you will receive a confirmation notification by email. After we receive application packages (including all required documents) and the vacancy announcement closes, we will review applications to ensure qualification and eligibility requirements are met. After the review is complete, a referral certificate(s) is issued and applicants will be notified of their status by email. Referred applicants will be notified as such and may be contacted directly by the hiring office for an interview. All referred applicants receive a final notification once a selection decision has been made.

You may check the status of your application at any time by logging into your USA Jobs account and clicking on Applications. Information regarding your application status can be found in the USAJobs Help Center.

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  • Fair & Transparent
Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants

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Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about disability employment and reasonable accommodations or how to contact an agency.

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Legal and regulatory guidance
  • Financial suitability
  • Social security number request
  • Privacy Act
  • Signature and false statements
  • Selective Service
  • New employee probationary period

This job originated on For the full announcement and to apply, visit Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at will be considered.

Open & closing dates: 09/07/2018 to 10/01/2018

Service: Competitive

Pay scale & grade: GS 5

Salary: $33,394 to $43,414 per year

Appointment type: Permanent

Work schedule: Full-Time