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2019 PHAP (CDC's Public Health Associate Program)

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maciemishelle

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Hey everyone!

First post on here. Is anyone else on here planning to apply for the 2019 PHAP cycle? I have been looking forward to applying to this program since I first discovered it about a month or two ago, but there is still no information posted on the site for when the application opens. The dates for last year showed the application opening on January 2nd, so I was hoping I'd find the application today on the USAJobs website, but no luck. I have emailed the provided address on the PHAP website to ask for more information, but just thought I'd ask if any of you had heard anything or knew anything!

Thanks y'all!
 
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Aiesha Hibbert

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Hi,
I have been so excited to apply to this program as while since I found about it. I noticed as while that the USAJobs website has the same dates from last year. But when I reach out to the CDC they said the application period is February 4-8, 2019 now.

Best wishes,
Aiesha Hibbert
 
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deleted963541

Hi!!! I'm looking forward to applying too! I was also curious, as I didn't find any information despite stalking the site for the past couple weeks. Thank you Aiesha for reaching out to them.
 
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Aiesha Hibbert

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Hi!!! I'm looking forward to applying too! I was also curious, as I didn't find any information despite stalking the site for the past couple weeks. Thank you Aiesha for reaching out to them.

Hi, I would still reach out to them personally, to answer any additional questions you may have.
The Call Center: 404-498-0030
Email: [email protected]
 
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spoitier

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The PHAP website has been updated to confirm what @Aiesha Hibbert told us: February 4-8, 2019 (host site application period is Feb 4-18). Thanks Aiesha for reaching out to them and relaying that info to us :)
 
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EHS_MPHapplicant

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Quick question: Since Host site is non-negotiable, I'm assuming those applying are not currently MPH students, or at least won't be at the start of the program?
 
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Mphcan768

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Glad to see a thread has already started on this! I applied to the 2018 cycle, however didn't make it through to the second round (lack of experience in public health, program funding, etc.). Looking forward to trying again!
 
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Aiesha Hibbert

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Glad to see a thread has already started on this! I applied to the 2018 cycle, however didn't make it through to the second round (lack of experience in public health, program funding, etc.). Looking forward to trying again!
Best of luck. Do you remember what they required in the first round ?
 
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Mphcan768

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Best of luck. Do you remember what they required in the first round ?

So unless something changed from last year, the application was open for seven days on USAJOBS. If you don't already have an account I suggest creating one before the application opens. It was pretty straight forward. If you're still in your undergrad you will need to submit a document that shows you are currently enrolled in an academic program and will have a completed degree by the start date. No recommendations were needed last year but you did have to submit a short personal statement with your application.

If I remember correctly, there was another small supplemental application after completing the one on USAJOBS. There is a series of questions that you will have to answer at some point and those answers get totaled into an overall score. Forgive me my memory is a bit foggy, I applied for this during a very busy senior semester!
 
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Mphcan768

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Btw, is it possible to change the name of this forum to fit with the format of the past years? It will be easier for new and returning applicants to find the forum when the time comes!

Kindly request to change it to "2019 PHAP (CDC's Public Health Associate Program)" :)
 

Aiesha Hibbert

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So unless something changed from last year, the application was open for seven days on USAJOBS. If you don't already have an account I suggest creating one before the application opens. It was pretty straight forward. If you're still in your undergrad you will need to submit a document that shows you are currently enrolled in an academic program and will have a completed degree by the start date. No recommendations were needed last year but you did have to submit a short personal statement with your application.

If I remember correctly, there was another small supplemental application after completing the one on USAJOBS. There is a series of questions that you will have to answer at some point and those answers get totaled into an overall score. Forgive me my memory is a bit foggy, I applied for this during a very busy senior semester!

Thank you for the overview. I do appreciate it.
 

foreverlearner02

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What criteria deems you a competitive applicant for this program? I've just come across it for the first time and am very interested but frankly unsure if I am qualified for this. Also, anyone know of programs similar to this??
 
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Kaiser_1

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What criteria deems you a competitive applicant for this program? I've just come across it for the first time and am very interested but frankly unsure if I am qualified for this. Also, anyone know of programs similar to this??
@foreverlearner02 : What makes you think you're not qualified?

In regards to similar programs, there's also the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship as well as several fellowships coming out this month on the CDC website. You can view the criteria for those and apply to those you deem fit for.
 
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foreverlearner02

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@foreverlearner02 : What makes you think you're not qualified?

In regards to similar programs, there's also the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship as well as several fellowships coming out this month on the CDC website. You can view the criteria for those and apply to those you deem fit for.

Its not that I don't think Im qualified..I just dont know if I am or not. I saw someone posted above that they were rejected so clearly theres some sort of standard. Trying to judge how realistic my acceptance into the program is so I can try and plan for the future. Thanks for the suggestions!!
 

PBHL1

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Hey is anyone submitting documents? I'm not sure about what they mean.
 

nvca97

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Hi guys! I just applied to the PHAP yesterday and just wondering, from anyone who has gotten a position before, what were your qualifications? Open to anyone else who has just applied too. I will be graduating with my Bachelors in Public Health with a minor in Addiction Treatment Services in May!
 

kolbyyjack

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Hey is anyone submitting documents? I'm not sure about what they mean.
Which documents are you referring to? I know a resume and transcripts are required; Cover letter optional. If you are a still a student you have to submit enrollment verification as well.
 

ocean1575

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Hey guys! is everyone uploading official transcripts? or are unofficial transcripts good as well? I ordered my official transcript and it is being mailed to my home. I'm afraid it won't get to me before the deadline.
 
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deleted963541

Hey guys! is everyone uploading official transcripts? or are unofficial transcripts good as well? I ordered my official transcript and it is being mailed to my home. I'm afraid it won't get to me before the deadline.

Yep, you're all good! This is what it says on the applications "documents" section:
"NOTE: You may submit an unofficial transcript or a list of college courses completed indicating course titles, credit hours, and grades received. An official transcript from an accredited educational institution is required if you are selected for the position."
 

ocean1575

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Yep, you're all good! This is what it says on the applications "documents" section:
"NOTE: You may submit an unofficial transcript or a list of college courses completed indicating course titles, credit hours, and grades received. An official transcript from an accredited educational institution is required if you are selected for the position."
Thank you!!!! :)
 

PBHL1

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Which documents are you referring to? I know a resume and transcripts are required; Cover letter optional. If you are a still a student you have to submit enrollment verification as well.
I was referring to the assessment because It was apart of the list of required documents but I couldn't find it. But you actually complete the assessment when they redirect you to the CDC's page.
 

Neffi22

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Hi all! I am in the process of submitting for the PHAP, and I have a question about the enrollment verification. I got my enrollment verification with no issues from my university but I'd like to know if you all had any issues faxing the document? When I tried to fax it a few minutes ago I only got a busy signal. Has anyone else encountered this issue?
 
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nvca97

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Hi all! I am in the process of submitting for the PHAP, and I have a question about the enrollment verification. I got my enrollment verification with no issues from my university but I'd like to know if you all had any issues faxing the document? When I tried to fax it a few minutes ago I only got a busy signal. Has anyone else encountered this issue?
I had my school fax it off for me. Not sure if that will make a difference but you can see if they will do it for you since you have to get it signed.
 

amymmm

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For the school verification form, what is the vacancy ID #?
 

maciemishelle

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Btw, is it possible to change the name of this forum to fit with the format of the past years? It will be easier for new and returning applicants to find the forum when the time comes!

Kindly request to change it to "2019 PHAP (CDC's Public Health Associate Program)" :)
I have updated the title of the forum. Hopefully this helps!
 

maciemishelle

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Is anyone having trouble uploading documents? I keep trying to upload and it won't work. :(

I click 'Add Documents,' select the file I want to add, and then press 'Open,' and nothing happens. Argh.
 

Auctoritas

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Hello everyone! Glad I remembered that this thread was going to be popping up soon, and it looks like I did so just in time for the application cycle! I will try to remember to check it frequently over the next few weeks and months.

I'm a former PHAP from the 2015 entry class. I completed the program in October 2017 and was lucky enough to convert over to a Public Health Advisor position in policy and communications at HQ when I finished.

If you're thinking of applying to PHAP, now's the time to get ready for a wild ride! This next few months will be the most stressful many of you have ever had. There's a lot of waiting, an almost superhuman lack of information, confusing rules, arcane forms to fill out, and a giant bucketful of sheer terror. And then more waiting. The program is super competitive - every year there's about 4,000 applicants (give or take), and they are going to take probably 120-140 of you. Don't be discouraged, though - number one rule of this process is keep your chin up, your head up, and just roll with it. Confidence and an ability to think on your feet will take you far in this process).

(A warning -working for the Feds is not for everyone - I always describe it as a giant Rube Goldberg machine, because it's big, convoluted, probably doesn't do what you think it does, and the outcome takes a long time to happen and looks pretty silly in the process. But the other thing to remember is that the federal government is huge, and you are very, very tiny, and if you're a little piece of a gear that is sticking out, it will shear you off without even slowing down or noticing.)

The program has changed a little bit since I was there, but I still maintain contact with people in the program/former supervisors. The process for how the 2 years goes has changed, but the application process, the selection process, and the onboarding process hasn't.

I will be on frequently the rest of the week if questions come up, and will try to answer what I can (both in terms of knowledge, and in terms of legality- I hope to be working with you at CDC one day, so I had better not lose my job helping y'all get one.) There will probably be other former PHAPs that come around too to help.

Good luck everyone!
 
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Auctoritas

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Another warning (might as well get it out of the way off the bat so you don't waste your time if it's not something you want to do:

PHAP isn't for everyone. It's hard, you'll be uprooting yourself away from your support systems, and the transition is very difficult for some people, and you may end up in some godforsaken place you hate for 2 years. Public health is a small world, but it's also a world with a ton of turnover. People are people wherever they are, and you will be under some fantastic people and some people that will make you go to bed at night in tears.

For some of you this will be your first job out of your bachelor's degree, and though you will be extremely prepared and competent - they don't let you in if you aren't - you will get to your host site and they will look at you as either the savior they've been hoping for, or the intern. Don't let them see you as the intern. And DON'T let them call you an intern, either.

Some others will be coming out of their MPH or MS or MA or (I kid you not) PhD or MD or DO. This program can be extremely beneficial if, like me, you have the degree but not the experience in the field. Fair warning, though, if you are (also like me) someone with lots of professional experience in general or are older, there are going to be times where you are pulling your hair out because you're watching another required webinar telling you don't wear sweatpants to the office and take a shower at least a few times a week and make sure you don't chew bubble gum in meetings or use comic sans font on your letterhead and be sure to return your emails. The program will have a lot more people with BA/BS than with graduate degrees, so a lot of the training may not seem relevant. Number 2 rule, though: Shut up and color. That's not meant to be insulting. That's something that my dad used to tell me, and some in the military may say when you think you're better than the task at hand and you shouldn't have to do it. Sometimes, you just have to shut up and color.

The number 3 rule (after rule #1, which was chin up, head up, and roll with it, and rule 2 above) is: THIS PROGRAM IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. Go into this with a goal. The program, when I went through it, was 200 people, and it was ungainly. Even at 120-140, it's big, and they try hard to be what I call "omniplastic" - trying to be all things to all people at all times, but the problem with that is is that they make generalists. If you do not have a plan for what you are trying to get out of it when you start, you will (surprise!) get nothing out of it. Find things to learn, get experience and certifications and take classes and expand what you want to learn/what you know and volunteer for everything.

Federal resumes are different than regular resumes (not this time, though, I think they may be limiting you to 2 pages, but check the application to be sure) but I will use it as an illustration: when I got to PHAP, I was 33. I graduated in 2007 with a BA and had a few jobs, then went to grad school to get an MPH. My resume was 2 pages, and I left off some stuff, but it was a normal resume.

When I finished PHAP, my resume was 12 pages long. Sure, I figured out how to write my previous experiences in such a way to get credit, but my PHAP resume alone was 8 pages. Of single space, .5 margins.

Say. yes. to. everything.

Even if it doesn't get you to CDC, it WILL get you a job. And what's more, you will be light years ahead of people who didn't take advantage of the experience you're about to get.
 
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maciemishelle

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Another warning (might as well get it out of the way off the bat so you don't waste your time if...
And what's more, you will be light years ahead of people who didn't take advantage of the experience you're about to get.

You are AMAZING! Thanks so much for the two awesome posts. They are SO helpful!
 

Auctoritas

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Hi all! I am in the process of submitting for the PHAP, and I have a question about the enrollment verification. I got my enrollment verification with no issues from my university but I'd like to know if you all had any issues faxing the document? When I tried to fax it a few minutes ago I only got a busy signal. Has anyone else encountered this issue?

Remember, this is the second full day of 4000 people trying to apply. Keep trying it, it is probably legitimately busy. (Also: Fax machines lol)


For the school verification form, what is the vacancy ID #?

Welcome to applying for this position, and working with the feds! USAJOBS used to tag everything with a vacancy ID, and that changed a couple of years ago. Looks like the form never got updated. This is typical. I would put in the job announcement number found on USAJOBS.
 

Auctoritas

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Quick question: Since Host site is non-negotiable, I'm assuming those applying are not currently MPH students, or at least won't be at the start of the program?

This is an older question, but: Probably not, unless you're doing distance education. I mean, in theory, you could luck out and end up nearby to where you are going to school. Sort of depends on where you are, though, so I wouldn't count on that.

I would say, however, that probably...I dunno, 20%?...of my class that had bachelor degrees either pursued or started to pursue master's degrees while in the program. One of my dearest friends who was the year ahead of me at my host site (who I hope is lurking, HELLO WORK DAUGHTER!) completed an MS. It's going to depend on your work load, study style, etc.


Its not that I don't think Im qualified..I just dont know if I am or not. I saw someone posted above that they were rejected so clearly theres some sort of standard. Trying to judge how realistic my acceptance into the program is so I can try and plan for the future. Thanks for the suggestions!!

As I mentioned in one of my posts, the program is highly competitive....between 3-4k applications for 120-140 spots (I will see if I can dig up what their target is this year). It's VERY hard to get into, particularly when you start including veteran's preference etc.

Absolutely apply, and try hard, but certainly don't count on getting in - at least not yet. There are several steps in the process. This first one probably 75% will get through. The next one, there will probably end up being 400-500 that survive to go on to the interviews. If you get to that point you can start to make contingency plans. Just realize that by the time everyone starts hearing about acceptance, it's going to be June or July. So, don't pass up interviews/job hunt in the meantime, and don't be afraid to take something else if it comes up.
 
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Auctoritas

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Quick question: Since Host site is non-negotiable, I'm assuming those applying are not currently MPH students, or at least won't be at the start of the program?

OH OH OH OH OH SIDE BENEFIT I forgot to mention. Because PHAP is under the Presidential Pathways program for recent graduates, it is considered a fellowship program. This means that, if you want, and you have federal student loans, you can apply for a graduate fellowship deferment while you are in the program. That's incredibly helpful since you're coming in as a GS-5.
 
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Auctoritas

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Hi guys! I just applied to the PHAP yesterday and just wondering, from anyone who has gotten a position before, what were your qualifications? Open to anyone else who has just applied too. I will be graduating with my Bachelors in Public Health with a minor in Addiction Treatment Services in May!

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! The "qualifications" question is a little weird. The program is under the Presidential Pathways for recent graduates program, so everyone applying will be coming out of their degree program within the past 2 years, be it a bachelor or graduate. Most people apply as they are graduating, but some will wait a year (or will have applied the first time and were not selected, so are reapplying). Our class split was around 65/35 bachelor to graduate. The only other real "must have" is a cumulative 3.0 GPA, according to USAJOBS.

They are looking more generally for attitude/teachability/drive/passion rather than concrete experiences or qualifications in public health. The whole point of this job is to take someone with no public health experience and make them into someone who can work in the field. There were people in my class who never had held a job at all, but had some good educational and volunteer experiences, and there were people who worked in other fields and could show how those experiences would be beneficial to the host site, the program, and the field of public health.

This first portion is really looking to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications. According to the USAJOBS posting (in the "How You Will Be Evaluated" section, they are grading your resume and your questionnaire responses on

"1. Knowledge of oral communication techniques
2. Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative techniques to capture data
3. Knowledge of written communication
4. Knowledge of interpersonal practices"

Basically, first pass of this is to make sure you're a functioning human being who knows how to talk to people, write well, know something about how to grok information, and how to be nice to people.

I think this is a good time to point out that this is NOT a situation of "will this be on the final?" It's about showing them that your college program didn't just teach you facts, it also taught you how to synthesize and think. I always say that people get into public health in order to save the world - the application process is all about showing you have the chops to do it.
 

Auctoritas

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Last thing before I am off for the evening (sorry for blowing up this thread!) - and it's the most super important part of this week.

For the first application step through USAJOBS - the way the federal hiring process works (for all jobs) is that your materials have to go the CDC/HHS Human Resources Office (HRO). They are not involved with the PHAP program, it's a separate office entirely, and they're not ones for flights of whimsy and heartfelt exhortations of why you are the next coming of Sir Edwin Chadwick. If you are not limited to 2 resume pages, put everything you ever did on your resume in a factual manner.

That's because it is HRO's job to examine your resume and questionnaire and literally find the places where you say that you did the things that you have done to meet the minimum requirements listed in the job announcement. Which means, make sure (1) that that information is on there, and (2) that it is so obvious that it is there, they can just check the box and move on. If it is not obvious, they're not going to do a deep dive and give you the benefit of the doubt.

When they say show your work, you've GOTTA show your work. And then, your supporting docs HAVE GOT TO back that up. Now is not the time to pad the resume with things you didn't actually do. HRO is VERY good at their job. (Also, you will hear people say that it's a computer program doing it - it's not, it's a real person. Make their job easy for them. Trust me.)
 
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ocean1575

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Last thing before I am off for the evening (sorry for blowing up this thread!) - and it's the most super important part of this week.

For the first application step through USAJOBS - the way the federal hiring process works (for all jobs) is that your materials have to go the CDC/HHS Human Resources Office (HRO). They are not involved with the PHAP program, it's a separate office entirely, and they're not ones for flights of whimsy and heartfelt exhortations of why you are the next coming of Sir Edwin Chadwick. If you are not limited to 2 resume pages, put everything you ever did on your resume in a factual manner.

That's because it is HRO's job to examine your resume and questionnaire and literally find the places where you say that you did the things that you have done to meet the minimum requirements listed in the job announcement. Which means, make sure (1) that that information is on there, and (2) that it is so obvious that it is there, they can just check the box and move on. If it is not obvious, they're not going to do a deep dive and give you the benefit of the doubt.

When they say show your work, you've GOTTA show your work. And then, your supporting docs HAVE GOT TO back that up. Now is not the time to pad the resume with things you didn't actually do. HRO is VERY good at their job. (Also, you will hear people say that it's a computer program doing it - it's not, it's a real person. Make their job easy for them. Trust me.)
Thank you so much for post they honestly helped so much! I have quick question though, do you recommend uploading your own resume or using the resume builder the application provides? Thanks again!
 

Auctoritas

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Thank you so much for post they honestly helped so much! I have quick question though, do you recommend uploading your own resume or using the resume builder the application provides? Thanks again!

Honestly, 6 up and 1/2 dozen down. They changed USAJOBS since the last time I used it but I seem to remember their tool being a little bit of a pain. If you already have a federal style resume done, probably easier to upload.

That being said, remember the post above: if your resume is not inclusive of all the things you have done, might be a good idea to use the opportunity now via the tool.
 
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Phap94

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Greetings!

I’m so excited to see 2019 forum up and running , during my application process my cohorts forum was so helpful.

I’m currently a 2018 PHAP and my host site is in NYC so if anyone needs any helpful tips or have any questions please let me know, however @Auctoritas pretty much nailed everything!
 
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nora4379

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I just submitted my USAJobs application and completed the questionnaire. I contacted my school to fax the school enrollment form.

Does anyone know if there's a way from the applicants' end that we can check if the enrollment form has been sent in? Right now my application says "received." Will it change to say something else the CDC obtains the enrollment form?

This forum has helped a lot! Thanks, everyone who asked and answered questions :)
 

mo1017

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Greetings!

I’m so excited to see 2019 forum up and running , during my application process my cohorts forum was so helpful.

I’m currently a 2018 PHAP and my host site is in NYC so if anyone needs any helpful tips or have any questions please let me know, however @Auctoritas pretty much nailed everything!

Hi! Is your host site at NYC DOHMH? If so, I have a question regarding residency. I did their HRTP internship over the summer and I know that they require you to have NYC residency for the first two years you work there. Since this program is not directly with NYC DOHMH (meaning, you're not applying directly there), is this requirement still upheld? I live 30 minutes outside of the city and would love to avoid having to pay high rent in NYC (that is, if I get accepted and placed there).
 

Auctoritas

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I just submitted my USAJobs application and completed the questionnaire. I contacted my school to fax the school enrollment form.

Does anyone know if there's a way from the applicants' end that we can check if the enrollment form has been sent in? Right now my application says "received." Will it change to say something else the CDC obtains the enrollment form?

This forum has helped a lot! Thanks, everyone who asked and answered questions :)

No, I think it just says received and doesn't update. First step if you are concerned is to ask your school if they have faxed it. You also can ask if they kept the fax confirmation page.

I don't remember if the enrollment verification goes to HRO or the PHAP office. Check the form and see if it has the info for followup.
 
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deleted963541

omg guys they extended the application period to Monday, Feb 11!!!! Anyone know why? Don't think they ever pulled that move before.
 

Auctoritas

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omg guys they extended the application period to Monday, Feb 11!!!! Anyone know why? Don't think they ever pulled that move before.
As far as I know, no, they haven't done that before.

I was talking with my deputy director about this earlier. The thought is that the reason they would do this is that they do not have enough applications. Which sounds like a weird thing to say, but there are federal rules about how many applicants you have to have per spot you are hiring for. It does not mean (in this case, anyway) that they aren't considering anyone who has already applied, although that can happen with other jobs.

Other things it could mean: there was an issue with USAJOBS, or an issue with paperwork, or an issue with process, and they're giving additional opportunity to make up for it.
 
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Phap94

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Hi! Is your host site at NYC DOHMH? If so, I have a question regarding residency. I did their HRTP internship over the summer and I know that they require you to have NYC residency for the first two years you work there. Since this program is not directly with NYC DOHMH (meaning, you're not applying directly there), is this requirement still upheld? I live 30 minutes outside of the city and would love to avoid having to pay high rent in NYC (that is, if I get accepted and placed there).


Hey! That’s awesome what Bureau did you work in ? Yes that’s my host site , & no thats not a requirement because we are CDC employees and not city employees. I live 35 mins outside of the NYC lol & I’m glad I didn’t have to move.
 
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Kaiser_1

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I'm a little concerned about the salary.

For any current or former PHAP people, how much did you struggle to pay bills? Especially if you are in California or New York (two of the most expensive states).
Yes!! Someone please answer this. Thank you for pointing that out!

I currently go to school in NY and commute from Jersey. Even that in itself is a lot.
 

mo1017

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Hey! That’s awesome what Bureau did you work in ? Yes that’s my host site , & no thats not a requirement because we are CDC employees and not city employees. I live 35 mins outside of the NYC lol & I’m glad I didn’t have to move.
Hi, thanks for replying! I worked with Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control, loved every minute of it. Have you liked working there so far? And I'm so relieved to hear that we don't have to live in the city to work there, especially with the low salary!
 

maciemishelle

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Got this email today! Anyone else?
 
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