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OPM Preps New Intern Programs

Alexey Klementiev

The Office of Personnel Management announced Friday it plans to revamp the way the federal government brings students and recent graduates into the federal workforce.

Federal Times reports OPM proposed regulations for its new Pathways Programs, designed to replace the now-defunct Federal Career Intern Program and other intern programs.

Pathways will have a new Internship program, targeting current high school, college and select home-schooled students.

A brand new program, the Recent Graduates Program, will target recent graduates within two years of degree completion. Veterans precluded from completing their degree due to military service obligations can apply within six years. Successful applicants are entered into a two-year career development program.

OPM also announced it is expanding the eligibility window for applicants to the Presidential Management Fellows Program. The PMF Program targets candidates with advanced degrees.

OPM said it is accepting public comments on the proposals until Oct. 4. The final rules are expected to be announced in early 2012.

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One comment

  1. According to this snippet, the only material change in this version will restrict hiring to 4 yr graduates within 2 yrs of their hiring. Veterans are the big losers here unless work experience can be substituted as qualifying experience. If qualifying experience cannot be substituted for the “required” 4yr degree, it will continue HR’s trend of favoring 4yr college graduates over otherwise qualified/available eligibles for filling 90% of jobs which do not require a 4 yr degree but will be filled through this program. Only 20% of federal jobs require a 4 yr degree but approx 90% of jobs filled by the FCIP were administrative jobs which do not require college degrees. Increasing numbers of applicants in the past decade prompted HR offices to seek faster hiring processes. The practicality, convenience and expediency of hiring college graduates noncompetitively under the FCIP with few or no questions about equity, etc. was jubilantly embraced by HR exponentially. More importantly, focusing on college graduates for FCIP appointments minimized the drudgery by well/highly paid HR staff to conduct detailed, laborious/time consuming reviews of piles of applications, resumes, skills, etc. Eligible veteran preference eligibles were purposefully avoided or disqualified which caused the downfall of this efficient but exclusionary hiring practice under the guise of the FCIP.

    Notably, this glimpse of the new “federal intern” version fails to address how these exclusionary “practices” by HR will be stopped. Remember, the “honor system” was in full effect when HR officials signed ALL hiring actions certifying ALL determinations and actions by recruiters, staffing specialists, personnel assistants & other HR staff met all legal/regulatory requirements for FCIP appointments. To date, NOT ONE of these HR signing official has been disciplined or had their signing authority suspended, etc. The big winners here are 4 yr schools and their traditional student populations.

    I question the need for a new intern program for high school, two-year college and vocational students. We already have these programs in place so why duplicate them? Instead, OPM should question why agencies continue to make high use the existing 4 yr SCEP program (cooperative education i.e. intern program) which account for 80% of their student/intern hires when ONLY 20% of their jobs require a 4 yr college degree. Instead, OPM should be encouraging agencies to make greater use of the existing high school, two-year and vocational student SCEP/intern programs to fill 80% of their jobs that do not require a 4yr degree. Focusing on 4yr college students excludes 80% of America’s minorities whom combined do not have a 4 yr degree. There is much more diversity at the 2yr college levels which can be used much more than they are for filling clerical, technical and other occupations.

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