By: Maria Hibbard
Since it’s intern season here in Washington, D.C., many bright-eyed and bushy tailed students with hopes of potentially working for the federal government are streaming into the city. I may or may not be one of them! My name is Maria Hibbard, and I’m the resident PSLawNet Intern and Publications Coordinator for the summer. I’m a rising second year law student at Case Western Reserve University. Since I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and am now in Cleveland for law school, D.C.’s vast system of public transportation and plethora of free summer activities (see the Having Fun on the Cheap page!) definitely has a big-city allure for me as well. I’ll be blogging throughout the summer here while avoiding the D.C. heat in the air conditioned office, of course.
Until recently, the path to employment at a federal agency or department has been a mystical jumble of various opportunities only found through a great degree of research: volunteer internships, compensated internships, fellowships, short-term and long-term programs. Hopefully, this jumble will soon become clearer–when President Obama’s Executive Order 13562 takes effect on July 10, 2012, current students and recent graduates will have three clear paths to federal employment via The Pathways Program. To break it down, everyone loves a list:
- Some aspiring federal employees may have heard of the Student Career Experience program (SCEP) and the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP); both of these programs are being replaced by the all-encompassing Internship Program. While the program is still administered primarily by the hiring agency, students can possibly earn conversion into a permanent position after the completion of 640 hours of work experience.
- The Recent Grads program is a new opportunity for recent graduates within two years of obtaining any degree. Like the internship program, it is administered individually by the federal agencies, but the one year program provides structured mentorship opportunities, 40 hours of formal training, and the creation of an individual development plan. After 1 year, the graduates of the program can be eligible for conversion to permanent employment at the selected agency.
Starting in July, agencies will have to provide information about both of these programs, their specific opportunities, and application procedures on www.usajobs.gov/studentsandgrads/.
- Finally, the Presidential Management Program, while obviously not new, has been reworked to provide for a more seamless application process and administration (especially after last year’s acceptance snafu). This prestigious program, for professionals of all disciplines, places fellows at the center of federal policy making, provides at least 80 hours of formal training, and encourages the development of a performance plan.
We’ll remind you in July to start looking for opportunities on the reworked federal website; hopefully, the Pathways Program will lead more aspiring students and recent grads down the yellow-brick-“pathway” to federal employment.