New OPM programs smooth the passage to federal careers

A new program by the Office of Personnel aims to make it easier for current college students and graduates to get into the federal government. The program provides internships and relevant experience.

The Pathway Programs were established in 2010 as part of President Barack Obama’s hiring reform. They consists of the Internship Program (for current students), the Recent Graduates Program (for those who graduated in the preceding two years or less) and the Presidential Management Fellows Program (for those with a graduate degree). 

In its final rule posted May 11 in the Federal Register, OPM said the programs aim to be “limited in scope, transparent and fair to veterans,” and require agencies to provide training, mentoring and career development for the participants. OPM will also have an oversight role to ensure agencies implement these programs as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, the competitive hiring process.

The programs were created by OPM and other agencies and organizations to help less-experienced applicants get a leg up on the current federal hiring process that favors those with more significant work history. In addition to targeting students and graduates, the programs strives to incite an interest for federal service among veterans and those re-entering the workforce.

"These programs reach a broad range of talent - not only the current generation, but anyone who's gone back to school,” OPM Director John Berry said in a statement. “They might be recent vets using the new GI bill, moms going back to school after raising kids, workers who've gone to night school, or even long-term unemployed folks who sought out a new trade or degree.”

The programs will go into effect July 10, and agencies then have 60 days to implement the new regulations. Pathway jobs, however, won’t be available until later this summer.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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