The Army is taking steps to keep career development programs for its civilian employees operating even in the wake cutbacks caused by sequestration.

The Army, along with other Defense Department components and some other federal agencies, has imposed a general hiring freeze, but there are exceptions. For example, the Army allows the filling of vacancies deemed critical to the agency’s mission and the hiring of people with job placement rights on returning from an injury or from an overseas assignment supporting military operations.

That exception also covers employees in long-term training who have placement rights after completing that training, new guidance says.

It notes that the Army is accepting applicants of mid-level managers for its Senior Enterprise Talent Management Program, and that similar programs in operation include the Senior Service Colleges and Defense Senior Leader Development programs.

“In order to encourage our high performing employees to apply for academic, developmental or leadership programs and to support leaders who will endorse their employees’ applications, the Army wants to ensure that commanders and managers are aware they already have the authority to backfill the vacancy created by an employee selected for one of these opportunities,” the memo says.

However, it adds that certain issues must be considered, including whether the employee being trained is to return to the same position afterward. In such cases the better course might be to temporarily promote or reassign another current employee rather than hire a new employee, it says.