Federal employment programs offer enticements to students and recent grads

With an aging workforce and hundreds of thousands of retirements looming, the U.S. Civil Service offers many programs designed to entice millennials to federal employment, hoping that some recruits will spend their careers working for their country.

With an aging workforce and hundreds of thousands of retirements looming, the U.S. Civil Service offers many programs designed to entice millennials to federal employment, hoping that some recruits will spend their careers working for their country.

Recruitment programs targeting young people are available at hundreds of federal departments and agencies, from the State Department and NASA to the National Institutes of Health and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Here’s a roundup of some of the top programs, many offering both financial and professional-development advantages to young people entering the labor force.

Perhaps the most important cluster of recruitment programs targeting the next generation of best and brightest is Pathways For Students & Recent Graduates to Federal Careers. Pathways has three key components:

The Recent Graduates Program, which is for vocational and technical certificate holders as well as college and university laureates, offers training and development, career planning, and in many cases leads to an offer of a permanent job in a federal department or agency.

Pathways’ Internship Program enables students from high school all the way through the doctoral level to work a part-time or full-time stint in government, gain valuable and varied professional experience, and have a good shot at conversion to federal employee.

The prestigious and highly selective Presidential Management Fellows program targets recent earners of advanced degrees for leadership development and offers the potential for a career as an executive in government. Two-year fellowships, typically paying $50,000 to $100,000 annually, include management training and a variety of work assignments.
Some departments and agencies have developed their own specialized recruitment programs for promising young talent. The Department of Defense, for example, offers Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (START) scholarships, for undergrads and graduate students in those disciplines.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative, despite its name, offers stipends to eligible undergrads and graduate students of cybersecurity. DHS agencies including the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the Secret Service take on students for a 10-week program of work projects and mentoring.

The Workforce Recruitment Program, targeting college and graduate school students and recent grads with disabilities, is a recruitment and referral program for summer and permanent jobs with the federal government. Recruiters visit campuses nationwide to interview candidates, and hundreds of them are hired in an average year.

Graduates who are concerned with the prospect of spending decades repaying their loans may want to consider this perk of federal employment: access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which can cancel the balance owed on student loans after the first 120 payments are made. This can be a big help to federal employees when it comes time to buy a house, start a family or save for retirement, for example.

Students and recent graduates should be aware that the resume for a federal job is not in the format typically taught by college career-development offices. The federal resume is much more detailed, must include keywords that may differ from those commonly used in the private sector, and must employ a specific format to highlight the candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities. Consult with the Student’s Federal Career Guide, 3rd Edition for details or give us a call.

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