Break Into the Federal Workforce With NAF

Child Development Center

While federal hiring is often slow and sometimes even frozen because of budget constraints, there is one source of federal hiring that remains quite consistent -- NAF employment.

Non-appropriated funds (NAF) employment is considered federal employment. However, it is different from federal civil service employment because the monies used to pay the salaries of NAF employees come from a different source.

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Civil service positions are paid for by money appropriated by Congress. NAF money, on the other hand, is self-generated by daycare facilities, bowling centers, golf courses, and other activities that use NAF employees.

There are two types of NAF positions: "flexible" and "regular." Flexible employees have work schedules that depend on the needs of the activity.

Flexible employees may work a minimum of zero hours to a maximum of 40 hours per week. They do not receive benefits.

Regular employees work between 20 and 40 hours a week, depending on position requirements, and are entitled to receive benefits.

The daycare facilities stay very active in recruiting and hiring flexible employees. Once hired as a flex, you will be well qualified to apply if any regular positions come open. Many spouses I have assisted worked in the Child Development Centers (CDC) while pursuing higher degrees or searching for other federal opportunities.

Employees with flexible appointments are eligible for the following benefits and compensation: Overtime pay, shift differential, awards, workers' compensation, and unemployment compensation.

A flexible NAF position could easily be a stepping stone to a regular, full-time position with benefits.

Employees with regular appointments are eligible for the following benefits and compensation: Health and life insurance, awards, retirement plan, 401(k), annual leave, sick leave, military leave, administrative leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, court leave, overtime pay, holiday pay, Sunday premium pay, shift differential, workers' compensation, and unemployment compensation.

Besides the CDC, there are other activities and programs within the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department, which are the main source of NAF positions:

  • Bowling Center Information
  • Ticket and Tour Office
  • Base Recreation Area
  • Golf Course
  • Auto Skills Center
  • Skills Craft Center
  • Fitness Center
  • Wood Skills Center
  • Youth Center
  • Equipment Rental
  • Base Restaurants

Working at one of these programs can really open a lot of doors if you enjoy the business side of MWR.

Most of the higher management and oversight positions require experience in one or more of these activities. In my experience, many of the individuals who have become GS-12s and -13s leading MWR operations started out at the CDC as flex employees or at the fitness center handing out towels.

One last benefit of applying for a NAF position with MWR is that the hiring process is usually much faster than non-NAF, or appropriated fund (AF) positions. Check with your local MWR administrative office to find out what positions are available now.

-- With more than 12 years' experience in the DoD as a federal employee, Tina Sims, MA, ACRW, CPRW, GCDF, is highly sought after for her resume writing skills, transition assistance support and job search coaching for military members and their spouses. She is the owner of Spirited Career Services and specializes in writing federal and private industry resumes for military members, spouses, federal employees and DoD contractors. Contact her at 540-300-2JOB or

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