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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Research Associate - Programmer
Department:  Judicial Branch
Agency:  U. S. Sentencing Commission
Job Announcement Number:  #14-03

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$63,091.00 to $116,901.00 / Per Year
Friday, January 31, 2014 to Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Full Time - Excepted Service Permanent
1 vacancy in the following location:
Washington DC, DC View Map
This position is open until filled. The first cut-off date for review of applications is February 28, 2014.
Not Applicable


About the Agency


The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent federal agency in the Judicial Branch of government consisting of seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and two non-voting ex-officio members. The agency staff consists of approximately 100 employees. The Commission develops and revises guidelines for federal district court judges to consider in sentencing offenders convicted of federal crimes. The Commission monitors and evaluates the use of the guidelines, conducts research and education programs on guideline application and sentencing matters generally, produces sentencing-related reports, and recommends improvements in federal sentencing practices and policies. Additional information about the Commission can be accessed via the Commission's website at


  • Not Required


  • No


  • U.S. Citizenship Required
  • Individuals must undergo a fingerprint background check.
  • Employees are required to serve a one year probationary period.


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The incumbent will work with research staff to: 

(1) Assist with modification of existing SAS programs;

(2) Review SAS programs for possible programming errors;

(3) Meet with research associates to discuss data quality issues and use feedback to create new edits to improve data quality;

(4) Assist with providing quick turnaround statistics on defendants sentenced pursuant to the federal sentencing guidelines, responding to special requests from Commissioners, Congress, the courts, and others, as directed;

(5) Study issues pertinent to the development and application of the federal sentencing guidelines;

(6) Modify existing SAS prison and sentencing impact micro-simulation model to satisfy requests from Commission staff, Congress, and other government agencies;

(7) Compile, organize, and document research-related data files and assist in the preparation of data file documentation, statistical tables, and graphic displays and presentations;

(8) Analyze qualitative and quantitative data and contribute to published reports assessing the sentencing impact of judicial and/or congressional sentencing modifications to the guideline structure and process;

(9) Review existing data for errors and perform edits and data cleaning of research data files;

(10) Research, review, and analyze social science research literature;

(11) Assist in evaluating research problems and applying or adapting available research methods to solve research problems;

(12) Assist staff with statistical programming and software support as needed;

(13) Assist in the design and development of spreadsheets, and;

(14) Perform support or administrative tasks as needed. The job may require occasional travel to give presentations or to attend meetings or conferences.


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Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college as well as satisfactory completion of course work in statistics and/or methodology, and a minimum of three years of SAS computer programming experience while working in a professional work environment as either an intern or a paid employee.


Applicants must also have experience in the following areas: (1) SAS programming experience must include experience with do-loops, arrays, and macros; (2) Academic training in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, or a related empirical social science; (3) Experience with data quality control and/or data cleaning; (4) Experience creating tables, charts, and formulas in Excel or PowerPoint, and (5) Experience matching or merging datafiles.


In order to be considered for this position, applicants must address the mandatory qualification requirements in a separate written narrative statement. Applicants who do not address the preferred qualifications will be assumed to not possess those knowledge, skills, and abilities.


Preference will be given to applicants with the following areas of experience: (1) Experience with using SAS macros to fill ouput data from SAS into EXCEL spreadsheets, (2) Familiarity with the federal sentencing guidelines, (3) Experience analyzing federal criminal justice data, (4) Experience reading Oracle data into SAS, (5) Experience using SAS procedures to create data reports, graphs, and maps (e.g., experience with the following SAS procedures PROC REPORT, TABULATE, GMAP, SGPLOT, and/or SAS ODS).

Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college as well as satisfactory completion of course work in statistics and/or methodology


The U.S. Sentencing Commission evaluates applicants through a structured interview. Applicants may also be screened for some jobs through a narrative/application review, and/or a preliminary telephone interview. Applicants who do not address the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) in his or her application materials as stated in the vacancy announcement are automatically disqualified from consideration and must re-apply before the closing date to be considered for employment.


The Office of Human Resources: (1) Reviews the applicant’s application to ensure the proper materials are submitted, (2) Ensures that the application addresses all of the qualification requirements (mandatory and preferred) as stated in the vacancy announcement; and, (3) Determines whether the applicant meets the qualification requirements for the particular position and notifies the applicant about the status of his or her application.


Applicants who meet the mandatory qualification requirements will be considered and their application materials will be forwarded to the screening panel for review. Applicants who do not meet the mandatory qualification requirements for the position are automatically disqualified from consideration. In addition, some applicants may be asked to complete a writing test or may be tested using various assessment tools not listed on the vacancy announcement to verify an applicant’s experience, knowledge, and training directly related to the job in order to identify the best qualified applicants for consideration and selection.


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The Commission participates in the following federal benefits: The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program; the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program, federal retirement, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and the federal leave program. In addition, the Commission participates in the Judiciary’s Flexible Spending Program for dependent care, health care, and commuter reimbursement, the Judiciary’s Long Term Care Program, or government-wide Long Term Care Insurance Program, unemployment, and workers’ compensation benefits.


The Commission offers a monthly transit subsidy to employees who use mass transit to commute to and from work, subject to the availability of funds. The Commission offers alternative work schedules (AWS), which is a fixed work schedule that enables full-time employees to complete the basic 80-hour biweekly work requirement in less than 10 workdays.



This position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of positions in the competitive Civil Service. All new Commission employees, those converted from a temporary appointment to a permanent appointment, and all rehired former Commission employees are required to serve a one year probationary period. The probationary period begins on the effective date of the employee's appointment, conversion, or rehire. Employment is contingent upon a favorable FBI criminal background check, and requires electronic fingerprinting. Applicants must be a citizen of the United States or eligible to work in the United States as mandated by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Employees are required to participate in electronic fund transfer, mandated by the Federal Compensation Act.


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To apply for this position, you must complete the occupational questionnaire and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below. Your complete application must be submitted by 11:50 PM (EST) on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 to receive consideration. The first cut-off date for review of applications is February 28, 2014.

To begin, click Apply Online to create a USAJOBS account or log into your existing account. Follow the prompts to select your USAJOBS resume and/or other supporting documents and complete the occupational questionnaire.

Click the Submit My Answers button to submit your application package.

It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation are submitted prior to the closing date.

To verify that your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account,, select the Application Status link and then select the More Information link for this position. The Details 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 USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.



All applicants are required to submit the following supporting document type(s):
   ·Cover Letter

Applicants may also submit the following supporting document type(s),which may not be required for all applicants:
   ·Other Veterans Document


Faxing Applications or Supporting Documents:

You are encouraged to apply online. Applying online will allow you to review and track the status of your application.

NOTE: If you applied online and your application is complete, do not fax the paper application (1203FX) as this will overwrite your prior online responses and may result in you being found ineligible.

If you completed the occupational questionnaire online and are unable to upload supporting document(s):

  1. To fax your documents, you must use the following cover page and provide the required information. The Vacancy ID is 1039085.
  2. Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.


If you cannot complete the application package online, you may fax all of your materials. The complete application package must be submitted by 11:50 PM (EST) on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 to receive consideration. Keep a copy of your fax confirmation in the event verification is needed.


To complete the occupational questionnaire and submit via fax:

  1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire.
  2. Print the 1203FX form,, follow the instructions and provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire items.
  3. Fax the completed 1203FX form, along with any supporting documents, to 1-478-757-3144. Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.


Nicole Webb
Phone: (202)502-4537
Agency Information:
United States Sentencing Commission
One Columbus Circle NE
South Lobby Suite 2-500
Washington, DC


Once the online questionnaire and required documents are received you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. After a review of your complete application is made, qualified applications will be forwarded to the selecting committee for consideration. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted.

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