Workforce

Last chance for agencies to land digital interns

people standing on keyboard (Who is Danny/Shutterstock.com) 

Eight years ago, two State Department employees teamed up to establish what is now called the Virtual Student Federal Service. Senior Advisor for Innovations Nora Dempsey and Project Manager Bridget Roddy designed the VSFS to connect federal agencies and job-seeking students with specialized knowledge in media creation and digital design.

The service, which this year will offer more than 1,800 different opportunities across government, has turned the traditional internship application process on its head. Instead of general positions being filled by students, for whom agencies then scramble to find work, the students apply for specific tasks that are technically intensive and play to their areas of expertise.

At a June 13 FCW digital services event, Dempsey and Roddy explained the program's dual functionality as a talent pipeline, and announced that agencies have a few more days to add still more projects before students begin applying in July. The final deadline for agencies is now noon EST on July 17; submissions are made at vsfs.state.gov.

In past years, VSFS has allowed more than 1,300 U.S. students to work remotely on improving applications, data systems, and general user-interface for some 60 government agencies. The open-opportunities platform has broken down information barriers between agencies and tapped young talent to, in Dempsey's words, "pull the government from the analog to the digital" age.

About the Author

Caroline Mohan is an editorial intern for FCW and GCN. She can be reached at cmohan@1105media.com.

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