Many volunteers are confused about what GoPass is, so it often helps to make this clear when you are fielding GoPass question. GoPass is not affiliated with iMentor. It is administered by NYC Service (a division of the Mayor’s Office) and the DOE to provide background checks for volunteers working with vulnerable populations, including minors.
Before working with students in NYC public schools—whether it’s through iMentor or another organization—volunteers are legally required to clear a GoPass background check. Volunteers with the DOE’s own mentoring program must go through the same process.
1. Does the background check include a credit check?
No. The background check does not include a credit check, nor does it draw any information from consumer reports.
GoPass submits volunteer fingerprints to the NYDCJS (New York State Division Criminal Justice Services) and the FBI for a state and nationwide criminal background check.
2. What exactly is a Name Search and why is it sometimes needed?
Name searches are triggered when GoPass is unable to retrieve the necessary results to clear a volunteer for service. When the FBI has rejected fingerprints twice, they are submitted for a name search.
3. Are there things applicants can do to reduce the likelihood of a reprint?
Reprints are hard to predict and totally out of our control. GoPass doesn’t necessarily determine whether volunteers are required to be reprinted, either--sometimes prints will read on the machines but will later be rejected by the FBI.
However, we’ve heard from GoPass staff (anecdotally) of factors that could impact print quality; occasionally dry skin, age, and hand/wrist injuries that prevent technicians from putting enough pressure on someone’s fingers during printing can contribute to low quality prints.
Also, they do need prints of all 10 fingers—so if, for example, a mentor has a Band-Aid on their finger because of a cut and cannot remove it, they should come back after it’s healed.
4. Why EXACTLY does the GoPass system interact differently with people with prior DOE fingerprinting?
Since GoPass is administered through a partnership between NYC Service and DOE, the DOE has their records in PETS (Personnel Eligibility Tracking System), but a separate legal standard requires them to screen volunteers under a different law. People who’ve been cleared by the DOE typically do not need to submit the online form, particularly if they were fingerprinted in the past 6 months. These volunteers will still need to verify that the information in the Applicant Gateway is accurate and will get digital fingerprinting at an Identogo location.
5. Why exactly can’t fingerprints be transferred between databases - i.e. if someone is a DOE employee or has gone through a background check for their employer?
Volunteers and DOE employees or contractors are screened under different laws, which requires GoPass to keep their background checks separate from DOE background checks. Similarly, other organizations would be barred from sharing fingerprints or records with GoPass.
Also, not all background checks are run the same way or draw from the same sources. Saying “I passed a background check” doesn’t necessarily tell us what kind of investigation was performed.
6. In what cases does GoPass communicate directly with our applicants?
Investigations: The GoPass Investigator communicates directly with volunteers when they’re pending investigation. They do this to request specific documents or information needed to resolve their investigation and to set deadlines. The investigator might email the volunteer to let them know they’ve resolved the investigation, but this should not happen before they show up as Eligible in PETS. That is, our team will pretty much always know within a day or so of the volunteer being cleared and will likely know before the volunteer.
The GoPass email account: An NYC Service staff member also monitors the GoPass account that auto-generates the Applicant Gateway emails. If volunteers reply to that email with GoPass questions, someone will respond; however, they will usually cc iMentor staff on their reply and we can field questions from there. The NYC Screening Manager will typically forward this correspondence to their screener.
Reprints: It is standard practice for GoPass to reach out directly to volunteers who need a reprint, with a boilerplate email. However, they do make an exception for iMentor volunteers. Instead, GoPass will reach out directly to the NYC Screening Manager and they will notify the screener / change the volunteer’s status to Reprint Needed on their Salesforce application. When that email has gone out to one of our volunteers in the past, GoPass has said it was a mistake.
7. A mentor says they haven’t seen an invitation email from GoPass yet. What do I do?
As long as they’re on the roster, volunteers should try activating their account anyway by visiting Applicant Gateway here. Google “DOE Applicant Gateway,” and it should be the first search result.
If, after activating their account, they don’t see an activation email or it doesn’t recognize their email/SSN combination, we should confirm they’re using the email we used to create their PETS profile. It should be the same email account used on their Salesforce application. Also, sometimes corporate firewalls block automated emails from the DOE/GoPass (just as they block the automated Salesforce emails).
We’ll work with GoPass to troubleshoot any additional issues. Screenshots / detailed descriptions of what exactly is happening always help (i.e., we need a little more than “I’m having trouble logging in.”)
8. What systems are in place to make sure that volunteers whose GoPass coverage is expired are reprinted again?
GoPass volunteers are continuously monitored and there’s no database transfer involved, so their GoPass coverage does not expire.
9. What happens when someone transgresses and needs to be unmatched? How exactly are we notified?
The program team takes care of un-matching. All investigations trigger problem code emails from GoPass and it’s the responsibility of the NYC Screening Manager to monitor these emails. If we receive a notice about someone who is currently matched, the NYC Screening Manager will confirm with GoPass that the volunteer is ineligible for GoPass service, pending the results of the investigation.
Once this is confirmed, the NYC Screening Manager will notify the NYC Senior Program Operations Manager, who then provides the volunteer’s program manager and program director with instructions on how to unmatch the pair, pending investigation clearance. All relevant steps (and language) are outlined in the GoPass Alert Steps document.
10. One of the mentors in my ownership is pending investigation but didn’t disclose anything on their application. Why is this? Does this mean they have a felony/misdemeanor on their record that they’re hiding?
There are a few things that could trigger a status of “pending investigation” outside of a felony or misdemeanor. Once someone is placed under investigation or is otherwise deemed ineligible for service, we receive an auto-generated email from GoPass that says they’re ineligible due to a “problem code” and “must not be allowed to work with vulnerable populations, pending further investigation.”
Some scenarios from the past include:
- Concurrently applying for a position that requires clearing a DOE background check.
- Previously DOE fingerprinted and eligible. This often happens with former DOE or nonprofit staff. They are often marked Ineligible shortly after they are added to the iMentor project until they come in to be fingerprinted with GoPass. They will usually clear within the typical timeline.
- A false positive on an application.
11. The SSN on a volunteer’s PETS profile is wrong. What do I do?
If someone is added to PETS with incorrect information—in particular, an incorrect SSN—they should wait to move forward in the Applicant Gateway. If they’re already at their GoPass appointment when we catch this, they will be turned away by an Identogo technician because the information does not match. Until they a new PETS profile is created with the corrected information, we should encourage mentor applicants to pause on scheduling their fingerprinting appointment.
All information on a PETS profile can be corrected EXCEPT for an SSN. If it’s an incorrect SSN, either the NYC Screening Manager or Volunteer Screening Operations Coordinator will mark their old profile “Inactive,” change their email address to “inactive_[email]” or “wrongssn_[email],” and create a new profile for the volunteer with the correct SSN. The volunteer will need to redo the online GoPass process accordingly—i.e., activate their Applicant Gateway account again and complete the required GoPass forms on their new account.
Volunteers should verify their information was added to PETS correctly when they review and confirm their profile. GoPass representatives may request additional verification information for volunteers whose SSN was entered incorrectly into PETS.
For more unique GoPass questions and scenarios, you can read the Go Pass Scenarios and Next Steps document here.