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Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program 2022

The PMF Class of 2022 Application will open at Noon (Eastern Time), Tuesday, September 28, 2021, and close at Noon (Eastern Time), Tuesday, October 12, 2021. The announcement will be posted on October 28th.

The PMF Program is a leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree candidates. It was created more than three decades ago by Executive Order and has gone through many changes over the years. The Program attracts and selects the best candidates possible and was designed to develop a cadre of potential government leaders. It provides some sustenance during the first years of employment and encourages development of leadership capabilities.

Eligible individuals apply to be selected as Finalists. Finalists then have 12 months to secure a PMF appointment, which is a two-year, full-time, paid fellowship at a federal agency. The PMF Program creates a lasting bond among Fellows and Alumni, and instills a spirit of public service, which, for Fellows who complete the program successfully, can ultimately encourage and lead to a career in government. The PMF Program is one of three Pathways Programs

For the 2022 PMF application cycle, OPM updated their assessment to improve the process in a variety of areas including addressing concerns around equity in all stages of the process. They also enhancing their recruiting efforts with greater outreach to diverse communities, expansion of their engagement with Minority Serving Institutions, enhanced recruitment through the alumni network, and use of strategic recruitment platforms.

Applicants are able to access their one-time submitted application to upload new or updated documents up until the application closes. Those applicants who are claiming veterans’ preference will have up to two weeks after the application closes to submit supporting documentation for their claim. Follow the guidelines in the Application Guide provided by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and download the PMF Application Handbook for complete guidance. The application process must be completed by October 12th..

Review other student job opportunities available nationwide in most federal agencies.

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Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is an applied approach to a curriculum focusing on these four discipline areas. The importance of these areas in our future, and specifically as part of our government, are considered strategic. Understanding how the world works requires new knowledge, which in turn fosters curiosity; STEM satisfies this quest for knowledge and prepares us for the future. STEM Skills that are acquired include numbers, analysis, empirical data and more. Integrated into every part of our lives, STEM is the foundation for which we learn about ourselves, our environment, and our future.

With the changing world of technology and the explosion of Information Technology, every industry is impacted, and therefore, the need for qualified mathematicians, scientists, engineers and those in the technical areas are expected to fulfill these critical work roles of our future. Since STEM focuses on the critical ways in which we can understand, explore, and engage our world. Now and in the future, it is imperative that our state, local, and federal government, for example, hire these skilled workers in order to plan, implement and manage change that is necessary to meet the demands of security, technology, communication, and more, for protection, privacy and growth across the globe.

The need for STEM skills are diverse and vast. Given that these specific subjects are the very root of most of our corporation, industry, and government business across the globe, they are in high demand from employers. Consistent discovery, solution development, vulnerability discovery, mitigation, and innovation are just a few focus areas that are pertinent under the stem umbrella. Problem solving and technology, for example, will continue to challenge us as a nation; the more prepared we are with STEM knowledge, skills and abilities, the better.

In May of 2018, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued direct hire authority (DHA) for several STEM and cyber-security occupations. Given that the knowledge, skills, and ability to work in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and cyber-security career fields and occupations are in heavy demand by a variety of organizations and businesses due to mission critical functions and objectives.  OPM recognized this immediate need and made it easier for organizations to streamline efficiencies for recruitment initiatives.

Additionally, recently the Trump Administration offered a new pay system for STEM employees, which will also boost recruitment and retention efforts in these areas. The changes are the first in a focus on STEM along with new public and private sector partnerships in development. Given the prior year’s layers of red tape and regulations, the cumbersome STEM hiring process is now updated and more current with a focus on improving processes, hiring procedures, and job retention.

As part of the hiring process for managers, STEM criteria and a set of requirements are offered by OPM who are continually capturing additional survey information to further define position justifications; qualitative and quantitative data offer specific details that contribute to the hiring process, and challenges have been streamlined to foster recruitment along with incentives for both hiring and retention. See this link that offers additional contact information and activities surrounding the specifics of DHA:

With so many STEM career opportunities, occupations, there are ample references and links to support your search that include:

In conclusion, STEM is critical to our future; knowledge, curiosity, and preparation are key elements of STEM occupations and careers across the globe. Qualified employees with the knowledge, skills, and abilities in these critical areas will serve as the foundation for innovation, security, technology, and protection across the globe. Organizations, and specifically our state, local, and federal government are developing and strengthening critical partnerships to work with private industry, academia, and military to ensure STEM training is robust and widely available. In order to meet the demands of our changing nation, STEM skills, along with innovation and technology are critical to our success; investment in the STEM area is a worthy return on investment for any and all organizations.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Student Debt Forgiven for Federal Employees  

With the increasing cost of education and the challenges for recent graduates and parents, opportunities to reduce or eliminate college debt can be life changing. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average student may borrow up to $22,000 before graduation; approximately 280,000 of these individual borrowers default on their payments between years 3 and 5.

The newly established Loan Forgiveness Program set forth by the Department of Education enables public service employees, federal government, and military employees to reduce their federal student loans and/or apply for debt forgiveness after making only 120 payments. Called the PSLF, employees that owe more than then their annual salary can have thousands of dollars forgiven, and/or payments lowered. Being free of student debt loan is a life changing opportunity for many; the program is pretty simple to understand.

First, to qualify for loan forgiveness, you must owe more on your federal loans that you make in one year (income vs. debt requirement). Next, the loans must be ‘qualifying’, meaning that they must be federal to include: Stafford, FFEL, Perkins, etc. 120 payments through an income-based repayment plan must be made on time. Employers must be a qualified government organization to include military, state, local, tribal; some non-profits are also accepted. Employees must be full time workers (at least 30 hours per week) with said qualified employers. Finally, annual certification of personal information must be completed as part of the program requirements. The following link: Forgiveness Cancellation provides details on qualified employment, payment criteria, forms, application, and more to include answers to many common questions surrounding this program.

Congress members, however, are not eligible for this student loan repayment program as they are ineligible for public service loan forgiveness. However, Congressional staff are eligible with a $60,000 cap on loan forgiveness in the U.S. House of Representatives ($10,000 per year), as well as a $40,000 cap in the U.S. Senate at $6,000 per year.

There is also another student loan repayment program that federal employees can apply for today; $10,000 per year for up to six years can be obtained. For more details about this opportunity, please see the following link: Student Loan Payoff

References:

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Memo To New College Grads

SUBJECT: WORK RESPONSIBLY

It’s that time of year when college seniors are looking forward to receiving their diplomas after four or more years of time consuming and costly schooling. Parents, college professors and the media have told them that a college degree is the way to a job that will bring satisfaction, fulfillment and a fat paycheck. Get the diploma, send out a few “dynamite” resumes, and a job will follow. Believe that and you might as well look under your pillow for a check to pay off your student loan, compliments of the tooth fairy. Job hunting in the adult world of work is more than sending resumes to job boards. It is a multi-step process, one step of which is writing a resume.

To understand this thing called “work” I believe one needs to take a step back and ask what life itself is all about. Short circuit the philosophy and PC talk and it comes down to this. You are born. You die. And, in between you work in order to survive. Job satisfaction, fulfillment and life/work balance are secondary. We work. We get a paycheck. We buy the big three …food, shelter, clothing…in order to make it to the next day. We spend “left-over money” on technology gadgets, killer apps, insurance, transportation and recreation.  Our money-for-work model has served humankind well for several thousand years…or at least better than the previous model which had people spearing antelope and rabbits for food and clothing, and living in caves to avoid freezing to death.  So how does a newly minted college grad find work, socially meaningful work, that will pay money in order to survive and also bring some sort of job satisfaction and fulfillment?  Let’s explore some of the challenges, and solutions, that new college grads will encounter making their first giant step into the world of work.

WORK CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

  1. The “What’s Next” Challenge. Many college grads have no idea what they will do after receiving their diplomas. There are three choices: proceed to graduate school; join the military, or find a job with a company. Most will elect option three, finding a job in the corporate or government world, which is divided into various industries, companies within those industries and jobs in those companies.  For example, there is the Food industry with Kroger being a company within; in fact Kroger is the largest company in the Food Industry. It sells guns and ammo, too, in a subsidiary division. There are thousands of jobs at Kroger one of which is a corporate level sales representative. A new college grad could pursue that sales job and make good money. The same applies for sales jobs with beer producer, Miller Brewing Company. There will always be plenty of sales jobs with Miller. Also, there are sales jobs with Walmart in its gun and ammo department. And remember companies in the fast growing recreational marijuana business, one of which is The Farm located in Boulder Colorado.

However, will any job in any industry do it?  There are plenty of job with guns, pot and alcohol companies but is that the way you want to spend your working days?

The Solution. Alternatively, how about industries producing products that have social value, like educational publishing companies such as McGraw-Hill, or food distributors like Whole Foods, or home builders like Ryan Homes, or technology companies like Salesforce.com which has been ranked recently as one of the best places to work? With choices like this, why work in toss away industries like firearms, alcohol or pot? A better choice is working for a socially conscious company like Salesforce.com, the cloud computing company serving a useful function in business and education.

  1. The What Do I Want to Do” Challenge.” So many budding college grads ask what they can do to bring in a paycheck and some sort of job satisfaction. You do not need six weeks with a counselor to figure it out.

The Solution. Record three things for which you have an aptitude. Beside them record three things you like to do. Then match them with industries, and jobs in those industries, that meet your aptitude and interests. For a listing of hundreds of industries and thousands of jobs in them, consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor. It’s available in print or eBook from Amazon or other resellers.

  1. The “Right Company” Challenge. Knowing what kind of job you would like is one thing. Finding the right employer is quite another.

The Solution. Assuming you have found a job that you would like, the next step is to find companies that offer such jobs in socially conscious industries. Go online and google companies in those industries. For example, enter “Food Producers” and you will come up with many hits, all potential employers. Begin exploring job opportunities on their digital career pages.

Another fool proof way to find a job is to attend job fairs and trade shows that take place each day at major convention centers throughout the country. Some of them are: the Mascone Center in San Francisco; McCormick Place in Chicago; The Washington DC Convention Center in Washington; the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philly; and the Javits Center in New York City. Each large and medium size city has a convention center. Google the one closest to you to find a listing of trade shows and job fairs and attend those you find interesting. Visit the exhibit booths armed with your resume and ask to see the hiring manager for your area of interest, sales, marketing, finance, technology, human resources, etc. Develop a personal relationship with that person and a job interview will follow.

Government jobs are often overlooked. Jobs in the “government industry” are comparable to jobs in the private sector.  They pay well and are socially conscious jobs. Federal government jobs are located in all fifty states, not just Washington DC. For a listing of interesting jobs and how to apply for them go to the leading government job website: www.federaljobs.net.

  1. The “Writing a Resume” Challenge. In most colleges where students pay upwards of $25,000 for tuition per year, training for job hunting consists of a few weeks instruction about writing a “dynamite” resume. The instruction is primarily academic as most professors have never had a job outside of academia. And, there is more to job hunting than writing and submitting a resume.

The Solution. Craft a resume that highlights your education, your part time jobs and internships throughout your college years. Include a major heading, “Technology Skills” and bullet point your areas of expertise. Also include a major heading titled, “Community Outreach” and bullet point your community initiatives dating back to high school.

       Make sure that grammar and spelling are correct. One mistake will disqualify you. No second chances. Do not trust your spelling and grammar checker.  Proofread your resume aloud and have a trusted friend do the same. This advice might sound rudimentary for a college grad but trust me when I tell you that I have witnessed Vice President candidates disqualified because of one spelling error. AND, do not refer to your resume as a curriculum vitae (CV). That is academic talk. Outside of academia it is called a resume.

  1. The “Interview” Challenge. Interviewing is one of the most intimidating challenges in the job hunting process.

The Solution.  Prepare for the interview with a friend by playing question-answer. Practice until you can answer all questions using business vocabulary. Avoid words like “awesome” and “cool.” When a hiring manage asks” Why do want to work for us?” respond, “Because your company produces products and provides services that are socially worthwhile and because your company is profitable.”

Remember to dress appropriately because first impressions are lasting impressions. Do not dress ultra-casually as you see workers dressed in TV advertisements for Google or Microsoft. Dress on the job is one thing; dress for an interview is entirely different. Wear upscale business attire which you will find on websites for national clothing stores.

HOW TO FIND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYERS

Google “Socially Responsible Employers.” I did just that and found numerous leads to companies of this kind. One site listed the five most socially responsible employers as: Microsoft (technology), Merck (Pharmaceuticals), The World Bank Group (finance and economic development), The Acumen Fund (global impact investing), and Yingli Green Energy (a solar energy producer).

For additional help finding socially conscious employers, explore companies held in the portfolio of mutual funds listed as “socially aware.” One such is the Vanguard Social Index Fund, whose symbol is VFTSX. Companies held in this fund by Vanguard are screened using social, human rights and environmental criteria. Some of these companies are: Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, United Healthcare, Facebook, Apple and J.P Morgan Chase.

Using social media for job hunting has its limitations. Use these media for networking and information but do not believe they alone will lead you to the promised land of employment. The one exception is LinkedIn, a site designed exclusively for job hunting. Jobs offers will come only after you develop a personal relationship with the hiring manager or human resources director.   You will find them at trade shows and conferences at convention centers, and by making cold calls, that is, knocking on the doors of employers and asking to see the human resources director.

WORKING WITH THE STARS

Frequently, new college grads have no role model to follow while embarking on a career straight out of college. However, they are out there. In fact, we’re surrounded by them. Let’s break them down into specific categories and take a look.  You may not recognize some of the names; others are well known throughout the world of work

Public Sector Workers. These are workers who chose careers in government. They serve in both elected and appointed positions.

  1. Joni Ernst,S. Senator for Iowa who served in the Military for 20 years before becoming the first female Senator from Iowa. Concurrently she serves as head of the Iowa National Guard.
  2. Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina. She is a Business major from Clemson University. She served as Treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
  3. Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Representative from Hawaii and Army veteran who went on several deployments to the Mideast.
  4. Patricia, “Pat” Schroeder, a lawyer and former U.S. Representative from Colorado who authored the Family Leave Program. She was the first woman to run for President of the United States. Many of the work benefits we enjoy resulted from her personal work in Congress.
  5. Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. She now serves on the faculty of Stanford University. She is a talented classical pianist and one of the world’s foremost Russian History experts.
  6. The 2,500,000 (read, two million, five hundred thousand) female K-12 school teachers. Guiding the academic, social and moral development of K-12 students is one the most powerful jobs in America. Teachers make a reasonable wage and their careers bring job satisfaction every day.

 Private Sector Workers. These are workers in companies both large and small.

  1. Becky Quick, anchor for Squawk Box, the popular CNBC TV morning finance program. Follow her each morning at 8 AM. Learn about the world of finance from Becky.
  2. Erin Burnett, host of OutFront, a popular CNN evening program. Follow Erin each night at 7 PM. Erin broke into TV as a financial analyst on a CNN evening program.
  3. Marillyn Hewson, CEO and President of defense contractor, Lockheed Martin. Over the past five years Marillyn has created thousands of new jobs, brought wealth to shareholders, and incredible technology innovation to a company dedicated to preserving our national security.
  4. Irene Rosenfeld, Chairwoman and CEO of the second largest publically traded food producer, Kraft Foods.
  5. Angela Braly, Chairwoman, CEO and President of WellPoint, a leader in the healthcare industry. The company is commonly known as Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance. She is the mother of three children and works hard to balance work and family.
  6. Kate Richard, Founder and CEO, Warwick Energy Group, an oil and gas producer located in Oklahoma City.

MOVING FORWARD

All of our STARS began their path to success in entry level jobs after graduating from college.   By applying their intelligence, energy and passion, they rose through the ranks to attain leadership positions in the socially responsible world of work. If they did it…so can you!

For more information about how to find your way after graduation, read my book titled, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD. A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. It is available in paperback and eBook from Skyhorse Publishing, Amazon and B&N.

Send comments to [email protected]

John Henry Weiss

c2018

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Girl Scouts Now Offering Cybersecurity Badges

The girl scouts of the USA will begin offering 18 cybersecurity ‘badges’ for their participants (girls K-12) in September 2018. Badges represent the scouts accomplishments and opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), while they continue to exemplify leadership knowledge, skills and abilities. The girl scouts make up about 1.8million girls…exposing them to these subject areas can only help narrow the technical gender gap and increase opportunities. With cybersecurity professionals in high demand, it is a strategic move in the right ‘technical’ direction; it will not only reduce the shortage we expect to have in cybersecurity careers, but will motivate, educate and arm them with the expertise…positioning them for success in the future.

In an industry that is ever growing, ever challenging, and ever surprising us, the need for a robust and diverse set of talent is critical…and the girl scouts are doing their part to satisfy this need. Ms. Acevedo, CEO of the Girl Scouts, offer that the badges give “skills to navigate the complexities and inherent challenges of the cyber realm.”  How will they be earned one may ask? Simple…through hands-on activities, field trips, mentoring and meetings (similar to the other badge requirements). In addition, through games and various techniques, the girls will enhance their knowledge in the STEM areas while collaborating, sharing and exploring partnerships.

With only 11% of females in the cyber workforce, teaching the scouts about cyber is a smart strategy; they will not only develop courage, confidence and character, but with a targeted security focus. The girls will have the knowledge, tools and resources to conquer cyber issues, bolster internet safety, and prepare themselves and others to protect. Preparedness and partnerships are key in the fight against cybercrime and the introduction of this new ‘badge’ is only the beginning.

The collaboration, partnerships and information sharing that will take place in addition to the acquisition of the badge will foster additional knowledge, skills and abilities in the field. The motivation and renewed interest that comes from the pursuit of the badge justifies the need for more work in the cybersecurity arena. The girl scouts recognized this critical need and stepped up to meet the demand through education, learning, achievement and recognition….good for them!

Girl scouts across the nation, regardless of background, race, ethnicity, etc., they too, can take part in this unique opportunity. The program will reach those in kindergarten through sixth grade and is a partnership between the Girl Scouts and a security company called Palo Alto Networks.

With a cyber focus on prevention and restoration, the scouts will work on digital operations, emerging cyber threats and more; through hands-on problem solving and education, they will learn about vulnerabilities and mitigation, critical to protection. Skills developed can be carried into their futures and built upon, reducing barriers to cybersecurity employment.  With women currently being underrepresented in this industry, this new strategic opportunity for the girl scouts aims to tackle this problem one badge at a time.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Programs

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Programs are a curriculum that is based on education, particularly for students in these subject areas. Using an interdisciplinary and applied approach, students have access to a myriad of high-quality learning opportunities across the spectrum in the “STEM” subject areas. In addition, many academia and federal programs have incorporated science, technology, engineering and math as critical priorities for competition surrounding grant funding.

Many entering college should consider or at least explore STEM occupations which typically pay higher entry salaries and have excellent career progression paths. Far too many enter college and select a major based on false assumptions of what prospects await them upon graduation. According to the article titled  STEM Majors Will Earn Highest Starting Salaries This Year, “If you’re looking to make a lot of money right out of school, pay attention to your major: College graduates who focused on STEM fields will likely make the highest starting salaries this year.”

They go on to state that in 2016 engineers were expected to make an average of $64,891 right out of school, computer science majors $61,321, and math and science majors will earn an average salary of $55,087.  All this while education and humanities majors could expect annual starting salaries of $34,891 and $46,065, respectively! There are considerable opportunities for those willing to tackle the STEM curriculum.

STEM ensures a cohesive learning portfolio with real-world application. More students should focus on these topics; according to the Department of Education, only about 16% of students are interested in careers within the STEM subject areas and only 28% of freshman are specifically interested in a STEM field. Further, 57% of students lose interest in these subject areas post-graduation (Hom, 2014).

In looking at STEM skills worldwide, and taking an average 15 year old high school student as an example, to include developed and developing countries, the U.S. falls 28th out of 71 countries in math and is 24th in science. Further only about 29% of Americans rate their K-12 STEM programs above average (Desilver, 2017). China, for example, has a whopping 41% of STEM degree seeking students; they are basically three times that of the U.S. when it comes to STEM interest.

India and Brazil are also steadily increasing their STEM focus and enrollments; by 2015, Brazil had increased its engineering graduates by 68% and produced more PhD engineers than the US in 2016. Africa and Asia are incorporating incentives into foreign-educated graduates returning home; this entrepreneurial group of STEM graduates from US universities set up about 40% of the start-ups in Bangalore and Beijing in 2011 alone (Katsomitros, n.d.).

President Obama crafted the “Education to Innovate” movement in 2009 to inspire and motive students into these STEM subject fields; the campaign also focused on improvement of teacher skills in these areas. Given this, numerous agencies are partnering with education to create national strategies, funding, coursework and engagement campaigns to improve STEM experiences, awareness and education. Research programs with STEM emphasis are now coupled with grants and federal funding to foster support and interest.

In 2014, $3.1 billion in federal STEM programs and education have been applied and are increasingly expanding. Innovation, networking and skill-building are helping to foster science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, worldwide with the intent of achieving an even greater-skilled workforce in the years to come.

Specific STEM milestones for all students are incorporated throughout their educational life cycle. For elementary school, STEM coursework and education along with an awareness of each subject area as well as accompanying occupations are explored. To do this, real world problems are used to connect each of the subject areas and are presented in an organized fashion. The goal here is to attract students, motivate them and get them excited about each of the STEM subject areas; emphasis is placed on external opportunities for continuous STEM learning as well. For middle school students, STEM challenges increase; academics, and occupational fields are discussed in more detail…students begin having opportunities to dig a bit deeper into these subject areas with hands-on learning, education and observations. Finally, high school students are able to take on challenges surrounding the STEM subject areas, positioning them for additional education and/or STEM-type employment opportunities. There is a heavy focus on incorporation of external STEM activities with high school learning.

The STEM curriculum, although challenging, is very rewarding; many of the students are motivated to participate. Since STEM is less popular in certain populations and areas, many of the programs are focused here. Through a myriad of grants, educational opportunities and more, students, who would not have been exposed to these subject areas are given an opportunity to do so. In addition, female students are also targeted for the program in order to close the technology gap between them and their male technical counterparts.

With many critical sectors facing shortages, the STEM program has proved to be a worthwhile endeavor in preparation for a successful, technologically-driven future. Websites such as: STEMconnector.org offer insight into the STEM initiatives that organizations and corporations are currently providing.

References:

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

Careers For Recent College Grads

It is the season when thousands of students march to the stage to receive their AA, BA or MA degrees from colleges and universities across the country. It’s a happy time for all, especially for parents who proudly witnessed their children receive that coveted diploma that only 40% of the citizens of the USA possess. But along with that diploma, 68% of recent college grads received an invoice for a student loan averaging $37,000, an unwelcome burden not only for the graduates but also for their parents. So now that our recent college grads have a diploma and a student loan to repay, what’s next?

 

What’s Next!

The good news is that this is the best time in the past ten years for college grads entering the job market. Our economy is virtually at full employment and employers are looking high and low for additional workers to maintain and grow their businesses. A recent survey by Career Builder reveals that 74 percent of employers contacted stated that they plan to hire recent college grads. And, a recent Forbes survey indicated that the starting salary range for recent college grads is $45,000-$53,000. Good times are here again….for those college grads who know what kind of work they want to do and how to find job opportunities that will provide a paycheck to enable them to become self-sufficient.

Some of our recent college grads have decided on a career path that will take them to graduate school or to a specific job niche in the private or public sector. However, most others do not have a clue about what happens after the applause, handshakes, and the trip back home to live with Mom and Dad. The conventional, but erroneous, wisdom says that the way to a job after graduation is to sit down and write a “killer” resume and send it to multiple jobs boards. Then, like magic, a job will appear that pays well and provides satisfaction for the rest of your working years. That is just not the way it works.

To make that job appear sooner rather than later, the recent college grad must look at job hunting as a process that includes: learning ones aptitude and abilities; targeting a specific job in a specific company; developing a personal relationship with the hiring manager and human resources director; preparing a creditable resume; learning the basic rules and protocols for interviewing; attending conferences and trade shows at local convention centers; learning how to network with established workers; making cold calls on companies located in office and industrial centers; learning how to negotiate a job offer; and finally establishing an office at home to make it all happen. Each step in the process is a learned skill for all workers but especially for the recent college grad entering the adult world of full time work. Sadly these skills are not taught in colleges which sends the learning process back in the lap of the recent college grads and their parents who still have the primary responsibility for educating their children, college degree notwithstanding.  All steps of the process are important but at the top of the list is leaving the house to find hiring managers in the flesh. You do that by making unscheduled calls at company offices and attending conferences and trade shows.

Learning what kinds of jobs are available is an important start in the job hunting process. According to recent surveys here are the best industry sectors for 2017 college grads.

  • Business and scientific services
  • Educational Services
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Government

Functionally, the job categories most in demand are:

  • Information technology
  • Customer service
  • Business development
  • Finance/accounting
  • Production

So where does a recent college grad begin to look for a job?  It’s more than just throwing darts at a board and hoping one will stick. Finding companies that offer cutting edge products and services is a good way to start. But, who are these companies?  To get you moving in the right direction, here are twenty companies recommended in The Muse Newsletter, www.themuse.com.

  1. Caesars Entertainment…casino gaming resorts in the USA and abroad
  2. World First…financial services focusing on cross country payments
  3. Polaris…. consulting and compliance services for healthcare and life sciences
  4. Taboola…helping publishers monetize their content
  5. Good Apple Digital…digital planning media services
  6. Bonobos…contemporary custom made men’s clothing
  7. CreditCards.com…partners with banks to provide credit cards for consumers
  8. Synapse…developer of transformative digital products
  9. BackCountry.com…online supplier of high quality outdoor gear worldwide
  10. Redfin…real estate brokerage services for buyers and sellers
  11. Vanguard….worldwide financial investment services
  12. Revcontent…delivers content recommendations using widget technology
  13. 540…provides cutting-edge technology solutions for government agencies
  14. Black Mountain Systems… IT workflow management for financial companies
  15. Hirevue…provides solutions to recruit, train and retain workers
  16. Bridgestone Americas…global supplier of products for manufacturing and mining
  17. Fluxx…digital grant management for philanthropy initiatives
  18. PrintFleet…provides data driven remote print management solutions
  19. Agile…information technology staffing, recruiting and personnel management
  20. Tillster…provides software to manage mobile payments to restaurants

These companies are noted for their employee friendly culture and for providing a work environment where workers will find life/work balance…..and a little fun. Their web pages provide images of their recent college grad workers and the company work environment.  Go to the Internet and research each company for job opportunities in your location.

For those not interested in private sector corporate jobs here are two viable alternatives.

  1. Joining the military…..Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard. This is an option rarely considered by recent college grads because of a general misunderstanding about what happens in the military. The most common misperception is that joining the military means that you will be deployed immediately to fight in the trenches in some god forsaken place like Afghanistan. The reality is that for each active combat job, there are hundreds of jobs behind the scenes similar to jobs in the civilian world. The big plus for spending time in the military is that one learns lifelong leadership skills, discipline and focus. And, what could be a better way to begin your working life than to serve our country, to give back for all the blessings we have inherited for being born in America? In addition, serving in the military provides substantial benefits to all veterans, like tuition reimbursement to continue ones education, lifelong healthcare and a pension.
  2. Pursuing a federal government job. The federal government, the nation’s largest employer with over 2.5 million employees, offers interesting jobs that pay as much as or more than comparable jobs in the private sector. The majority of federal government jobs are not political jobs and most are located away from Washington DC. The focus of these jobs could be anything from law enforcement, environmental conservation to finance to cybersecurity… and everything in between. In addition, there is a federal government program titled, The Recent Graduates Program. Explore the many federal jobs that are available stateside and overseas.

To begin the process of finding a job straight out of college we recommend that all recent grads and their parents read the following books:

WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD; A Complete Guide to Job Hunting for the Recent College Grad. John Henry Weiss.  Skyhorse Publishing Inc. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher.

The Book of U.S. Government Jobs. Dennis Damp. Bookhaven Press. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher

Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor. Jist Publishing Company. This book is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon, B&N and the publisher.

Moving Forward

There has never been a better time for recent college grads to look for a job because employers are seeking additional workers as our economy expands. Those who take the time to learn how the adult world of work really works and who follow the rules in this article and in the above cited books should have no trouble connecting with employers seeking intelligent, energetic and passionate recent college grads.

Copyright 2017 by John Henry Weiss Author of WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Airway Transportation Systems Specialist – Working For the FAA

In this article on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) we interview James Watts, an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist (FV-2101). The FAA hires most of this group to maintain the communications, navigation, surveillance, and automation equipment for the Federal Aviation Administration.  Employees are located throughout the country at airports, air traffic control centers, training centers, and related faculties.

The federal government employs 8,573 transportation specialists of which 152 work overseas. The Department of Transportation is the largest employer with 6,619 followed by the Department of the Air Force with 952 and the Department of the Army with 330.  Most cabinet level agencies and a few large independent agencies hire in this category. The FAA uses a Core Compensation Pay Band System instead of the General Schedule system that most are familiar with.

 Jamal Watts Interview

 

Jamal Watts ATSS
Jamal Watts ATSS

Jamal Watts, is a Supervisory Airway Transportation Systems Specialist, J Band, FV-2101 and works at the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Why did you become an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist?

A lot of people joke about starting their jobs when they were just a kid, but for me it is true! I started working for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the age of 16.  At the time I was only looking for a summer job. My Mom wanted me to keep busy over the summer. I contacted the Cooperative Education office at my high school, August Martin in Jamaica, NY and they helped me get a job with an FAA program that hired high school students during the summer. The program was designed to give high school students a window into different FAA careers. I worked with FAA’s Aviation Education Department as an Office Clerk. Our office did outreach to high school and college students to get them interested in careers in aviation.

Some of my duties consisted of sending schools and organizations literature about careers in aviation including Pilots, Flight Attendants, Air Traffic Controllers and Electronic Technicians. The literature on the Electronic Technicians jobs got my attention. I always had an interest in fixing things and working with electronics. As I continued working with the summer program I requested a transfer to FAA’s Technical Operations organization which employed the Electronics Technicians that I had read so much about. So then I became an Electronic Technician Co-op Student. This group is responsible for installing new equipment at FAA facilities like Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), Runway Visual Range (RVR), Ambient Lighting System (ALS), and Communication Equipment just to name a few. I continued in the Co-op program until I graduated high school. After a couple of semesters at Queensborough Community College, Bayside, New York, I applied to the FAA’s Electronic Engineering Program. This program provided on the job training which I successfully completed and I was able to join the FAA as a full time Electronics Technician. My first position was as a Maintenance Electronics Technician at Newark Liberty International Air Traffic Control Tower.  The position is now called an Airway Transportation System Specialist (ATSS).

What is the most demanding part of being an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist?

The most demanding part of being an Airway Transportation System Specialist is keeping up with the Federal Aviation Administration’s vast and complex network of electronics systems required for the world’s largest air traffic control and navigation system. Our mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.

What is a typical day like as an Airway Transportation Specialist?

A typical day as an Airway Transportation System Specialist can vary depending upon what is happening in the National Airspace System (NAS).  If there are any system equipment outages of course that is the priority. The FAA maintains over a 99 percent reliability in all of our systems nationwide, but equipment problems do occur and it is our job to get those systems back to 100 percent operation. Each system we maintain has a preventative maintenance schedule that must be followed which can be necessary daily, weekly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually or bi-annually.

What is unique about being an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist?

The most unique thing about being an Airway Transportation System Specialist is that we are the people behind the scenes playing a vital role to make sure the NAS runs smoothly. We work hand in hand with our partners, the air traffic controllers. It is a real source of pride for me to know that my work keeps the flying public safe.

Would you recommend an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist as a good job occupation?

I would definitely recommend an Airway Transportation System Specialist as a good job occupation. There are five different specialty areas that you can go pursue: Environmental, Navigational Aids, Communication, Radar, and Automation. It could be the start of a great career. The Federal Aviation Administration continually looks to the future by identifying, recruiting, and training a workforce that will ensure the U.S. keeps the world’s safest airspace.

Occupational Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • The average salary is $92,145.

Education

Undergraduate and Graduate Education: Major study or at least 24 semester hours in any combination of the following: computer science, mathematics, electronics, physical sciences, information management, engineering, telecommunications, or other fields related to the position.

Experience

General Experience (for GS-5 positions):Experience that provided a basic knowledge of the principles of electronics, mathematics, computers, aeronautics, or related areas, or an understanding, both theoretical and practical, of automated systems operation, integration, management, and maintenance. Experience may have been gained in occupations such as computer specialist, electronics technician, telecommunications specialist, engineer, or other work related to the position to be filled.

Specialized Experience: For GS-7 and GS-9: Experience that provided the opportunity to acquire and the need to apply practical and theoretical knowledge of the principles, functions, and processes associated with electronics and electricity concepts; computer systems and information management concepts telecommunications concepts; and system management and integration methods.

For GS-11 and above: Experience that demonstrated an extensive knowledge of and experience in the technology, system interrelationships, and management of civilian or military automated aviation, navigation, and electronics systems.

The FAA has many job opportunities so go today and explore what they have to offer.

Job Listings

Credits

  • Arlene Salac, Public Affairs Officer, Washington, D.C.
  • FAA website: http://www.faa.gov
  • Photos provided by the FAA

Additional Resources

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Working for the National Park Service (Part 2)

 Park Rangers and Forestry Technicians 

In part one we talked about the history of the National Park Service (NPS), some of the operating divisions in each park, and the difference between urban parks and western national parks. We featured information management jobs, which included information technology (GS-2210), biologist (GS-401), physical Scientist (GS-1301), cartographer (GS-1370), and technical information specialist (GS-1412). Today our focus will be on the jobs of the park ranger (GS-025) and forestry technician (GS-462).

Park Rangers (GS-025)

 

Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park

 

The term park ranger can be misinterpreted. All the employees who wear the NPS uniform are considered “park rangers.” However, there is a specific job series titled park ranger. Park rangers can be generalist, law enforcement rangers, interpretation rangers, and resource management rangers. Several park ranger occupations are featured in this article.

Park Ranger (Backcountry)

This park ranger is responsible for patrols via horseback and by foot. They will patrol backcountry on, off trail areas, and in some cases in remote wilderness areas. The work includes trail maintenance, fence monitoring, and its repair, checking of backcountry permits and educating the public about park facilities and available resources. The ranger will have to hike or ride over steep, rocky and slippery terrain, at elevations above 3,000 feet above seal level. Occasionally, will have to perform canoe patrols on flat-water surfaces, and may include overnight stays in the backcountry.

The work is physical and will involve extensive periods of standing, walking, and can include the carrying of backpacks, tools and various forms of rescue equipment. Additionally, you maybe exposed to extremes in temperature, confined spaces and other weather conditions.

You must be a US citizen to apply and possess a valid driver’s license. The education requirements are either undergraduate or graduate in studies such as natural resource management, natural sciences, earth sciences, history, anthropology, park and recreations management and other related courses.

Most of the jobs are seasonal, full time temporary, and cannot exceed 1039 hours in a 12-month period, with a pay of $31,944 per year at a GS-5 level. You will have to have 1 year of experience at the GS-4 level.

Park Ranger (Protection)

This park ranger serves as a Law Enforcement Commissioned Ranger. They are responsible for law enforcement duties that include detection, investigation, apprehension, prosecution to ensure protection and safe use of National Park resources. The primary duty of this park ranger is the enforcement of the criminal laws of the United States.

They work independently in patrolling roads, and trails within park boundaries. Assist in the preliminary investigation of felonies and other violations of park rules and other laws. Will participate in emergencies as required, provides guidance to seasonal, and volunteers working on various projects.

A bachelor’s degree is required with major studies in natural sciences, earth sciences, history, archeology, anthropology, park and recreation management, criminal justice and other relevant subjects.

There is a minimum and maximum entry age. Since this position is covered under law enforcement provisions, you must be at least 21 and no older than 37. The mandatory retirement age is 57.

For a full time permanent position at GS-07 level, the pay is $53,090.00 to $67,138.00 per year. You will need to have at least 1 year of experience at the GS-05 level. You must be a U.S. citizen to apply and have a valid driver’s license.

Caitlin Worth is a GS-9 park ranger at the Sugarland’s Visitor Center at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NP) and states, “when I had the opportunity to apply for an internship, at Great Smoky Mountain NP, it seemed like a fun way to spend a summer, and I had always thought I might be a good fit for this type of work. It ended up being a life changing experience, and after that, I made it my mission to find work in parks and make it my career. I cannot describe what it is like to hear the audible gasps or excited giggles that can come out of full-grown adults when you lead them to an amazing vista or let them photograph a bear in the wild from a safe distance.” Worth remarks, “I can’t imagine my life without my current career. It can be incredibly rewarding and the office is like no other. However, I only recommend it to those that feel they can be dedicated enough to the park service.”

Worth concludes that, “careers in the National Park Service can be difficult to build with many years of seasonal work and moving to far away places. Flexibility and patience are necessary, but given the right time and effort, an amazing opportunity to protect America’s most special places awaits you. Finally, start as young as you possibly can. Find ways to be exposed to as many types of park rangers as possible. Volunteer, attend special events, and participate in community workdays at your local parks. Start small. Internships are almost a requirement before competing well for seasonal work. Organizations like the American Conservation Experience (ACE), Student Conservation Association (SCA), and internships provided through each park are wonderful opportunities to get your foot in the door, learn about what you love and make lasting connections for the future.”

Another park ranger, Christine Hoyer, located at Great Smoky Mountain NP is a park ranger – backcountry management specialist – GS-11. Hoyer states, “I was an avid National Park visitor/adventurer from an early age. I hoped to find a way to channel my passion for the outdoors into a productive career with the National Park Service. I wanted to serve the special places and the visitors that enjoy them – as well as the mission of the National Park Service.” She goes on to say, “There are many different kinds of Park Ranger positions. My specialty is backcountry and wilderness management and with such a dynamic resource with such high visitation, no two days are alike! I am fortunate enough to be responsible for managing the backcountry at GRSM, which requires that I spend a good portion of my time immersed in the resource and planning of backcountry projects. The miles that I get to spend on trails in the backcountry are certainly a benefit of my position.”

Ms. Hoyer remarks, “It is fulfilling to work to protect amazing resources and do something that has far-reaching implications, namely the experience of future generations. As a park ranger you become part of the park family and the greater network of the National Park Service”. Finally, Hoyer says, “that anyone who wants to become a park ranger should explore the different types of ranger positions, be willing to gain relevant experience both inside and outside the National Park Service, and be persistent. Park ranger positions in the NPS can be highly competitive and valuable experience can be gained as a volunteer, intern or seasonal worker.”

Forestry Technician (GS-0462)

A forestry technician has responsibilities that can include serving as a crew member who conducts fieldwork in surveying and monitoring exotic plant populations, controlling weed infestations using a variety of chemical, biological, or other types of treatments. You may also take part in tree hazard surveys and corrective actions of tree and debris removal.

Some of the specialized experience required is based upon grade level and can include, engineering, range or soil conversation, farming or ranch work and basic understanding of land use, herbicides application in weed eradication, safe use of chainsaws and hazard tree identification and removal.

While outdoors, you must be able to perform manual labor and weather conditions can be unpredictable. The lifting and packing of moderately heavy items over rough terrain is required. There is foot travel both on and off trail, over mountains, dense brush, forest, and rocky slopes. You may also encounter grizzly bears and other wildlife that is often dangerous.

Education varies upon grade level, at a GS-04 you will need 2 years of study, to include 12 semester hours in a combination of courses in forestry, agriculture, crop or plant science, range management, wildlife management, soil science, civil and/or forest engineering, and wildland fire science. GS-05 level requires a bachelors degree with a major in forestry, range management, agriculture, and 24 semester hours that is similar to the GS-04 level. The GS-06 grade requires either a graduate degree or an internship that meets the specialized experience at the GS-05 grade.

You must be a U.S. citizen to apply and have a valid driver’s license. The GS-04 starting salary is $28,553 per year, GS-05 is $31,944 per year, and GS-06 is $35,944 per year. These jobs are seasonal and full time temporary and cannot exceed 1039 hours during a 12-month period.

Jason E. Watson is a GS-07 forestry technician who is located at Great Smoky Mountain NP. Watson states, “My love of the outdoors and forestry background led me straight to the forestry technician position. Each new day brings something different. Nature is so dynamic that the same trail has something new to reveal on a daily basis. There is also a nice balance of meeting new people. It is a real pleasure to meet folks on vacation who have a sincere interest in how we are managing our resources.

Watson states further, “If you like adventure and don’t mind the occasional unforeseen rainstorm, this is the place for you. You will meet some passionate people and find yourself in some of the most beautiful places in our great country. When applying for these positions it is very easy to think, you will never land a job. Persistence pays off. Volunteer and try to learn as much as you can to make yourself a better candidate. It is worth the wait!”

Kenneth Culbertson is a GS-06 forestry technician located at Great Smoky Mountain NP Culbertson states, “I have a belief that we as a human population need to preserve portions of our world fauna and flora which the National Park Service attempts to do while trying to meet the needs of all those that visit our National Parks”. Culbertson remarks,” Simply going into the woods, in the backcountry where somebody may not have been to in long time and seeing old growth forests. He recommends, “being a forestry technician, especially if you like the outdoors, challenging work, and good company. Have a good background in forestry and botany, learn GIS, camping techniques in challenging weather, and be fit.”

In the third and final installment, we will discuss wildlife management (GS-0482) and fire fighters (GS-0455/0462) and their roles in serving in the NPS.

Careers featured in this article

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Pathways Program – Student Job Opportunities

Are you a current high school, undergraduate or graduate student thinking about your post-education work opportunities? The Federal government’s Pathways Program (Pathways) can not only provide you with the training and exposure you need to decide whether a government career is right for you, but also with the opportunity for permanent employment. The Obama administration authorized Pathways in a 2010 Executive Order that, in part, replaced the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP). The administration discontinued the FCIP largely as a result of successful legal challenges based on a lack of public notice and application of veterans’ preference concerning intern positions.

Pathways consists of the following three components more fully discussed below: Internship Program, Recent Graduates Program, and Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. Access to these programs depends on your current academic or professional status.

Internship Program

This program replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and is open to current students attending high school, college, trade school, or graduate school. Agencies are required to post information regarding available intern positions and application information on USAJOBS and a recent visit to the site indicated the availability of almost 100 positions, many of which include multiple vacancies.

Student interns become eligible for conversion to a permanent position at any Federal agency upon meeting the following conditions:

  • Completion of at least 640 hours of work experience
  • Completion of degree or certificate requirements
  • Receipt of a favorable recommendation for appointment by an official at the agency served
  • Met the qualification standards for the position to which the intern will be converted
  • Met agency-specific requirements as specified in the Participant’s Agreement
  • Successful job performance

Recent Graduates Program

This is a full-time, one-year developmental program designed for individuals who have received an undergraduate or graduate degree from a qualifying educational institution or program. Candidates must apply within two years of graduation, with the exception of veterans, who may have up to six years to apply due to their military obligations. Consistent with the Internship Program, agencies must post available positions and application information on USAJOBS. There are currently over 40 Recent Graduate job announcements, several of which contain multiple vacancies. Each agency determines how many recent graduates they will hire.
Upon completion of the Program, recent graduates become eligible for conversion to a full-time competitive service position in their employing agency if the following conditions are met:

  • Successful completion of at least one year of continuous service in addition to all requirements of the Program
  • Successful job performance
  • Met the qualifications for the position to which the Recent Graduate will be converted

Presidential Management Fellows Program

The PMF Program has been the Federal government’s showcase leadership development program for over thirty years. Many PMF alumni have gone on to notable careers in academia, politics, and government service.

The above-referenced Executive Order adjusted the existing program by expanding the eligibility window, aligning the deadlines with academic calendars, and eliminating the requirement that applicants submit school nominations. Eligibility for the Program is now based either on the applicant receiving a qualifying advanced degree within the preceding two years, or meeting the degree requirements by August 31st of the year following application. PMF finalists selected by a participating agency receive a two-year appointment and have at least one four to six month developmental assignment. Upon successful completion of the Program, PMFs are eligible for conversion to a competitive service position in their employing agency.

Beginning with the Class of 2014, the PMF program added a pilot STEM track specifically for those interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As STEM PMFs, individuals engage in meaningful work on high-visibility federal research and development projects. These assignments will allow fellows to network with STEM professionals in different fields and locations, as well as to travel to locations where innovative STEM personnel solve national problems.

Unlike the Intern and Recent Graduates Programs, the PMF Program is centrally administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The application window for the PMF Class of 2015 was open from October 1-15, 2014. Following receipt of applications, OPM conducts a comprehensive written and in-person assessment process and ultimately notifies agencies of the candidates eligible for selection in April of each year. Once selected, PMF finalists have up to twelve months to obtain an agency appointment. Each PMF appointment is two years in duration. Although an appointment is not guaranteed, OPM hosts numerous job fairs and workshops designed to find the right agency fit for the finalists. Please see the PMF website for extensive information regarding the application, assessment, and appointment process.

If you think you may be interested in one of these Pathways Programs, please visit the referenced sites, as well as the information on each program provided on OPM’s website. Also, explore other private sector student job opportunities in your area.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.