The U.S. Federal Government’s Pathways Programs Revealed

by Valerie Kielmovitch

logo_PathwaysHave you ever thought about a career with the Federal Government?  Some reading this might have thought, “Yes, I have always wanted to be a Special Agent!” while others may think, “There aren’t any opportunities for my degree with the government.”  Fortunately, there are many great opportunities within the United States Federal Government.  Below are some great ways to get your foot in the door.

In July 2012, the new Pathways Program went into effect after President Obama signed an executive order to help encourage current students and recent graduates to think about a career with the government.

There are 3 programs:

  1. Internship Program: This program is intended for current students (high school, college, or graduate) to temporarily work at a government agency while in school.  This program replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).  Positions could be full-time or part-time and are usually related to students’ fields of study.  Each individual agency will post their positions through www.usajobs.gov.  Interns may be non-competitively converted to a permanent position (or to a term position lasting 1-4 years) within 120 days of the successful completion of the program.
  2. Recent Graduates Program: This program is for students who are within two years of their graduation.  Typically this career development program lasts for one year in length and could possibly lead to another more permanent position.  Those in the program are also assigned a mentor.  Veterans have up to six years to apply to this program if military service obligation was a concern.  Again, each individual agency will post their available positions through www.usajobs.gov.
  3. Presidential Management Fellows Program:  This program is for students who have completed an advanced degree and are within two years of graduation.  This is a two year obligation with rotations to various agencies.  The application process is very rigorous for this program.  There is a strong mentorship component, but conversion to a full-time position with the government after completion is not guaranteed.  To learn more about this opportunity, visit www.pmf.gov.

To learn more information about these great programs, please visit: https://www.usajobs.gov/StudentsAndGrads

Besides the main USAJOBS website, ensure that you look at specific agency websites for more information about opportunities.  Since the program is still relatively new, not all agencies have progressed to the new program.  Make sure your profile and resume on USAJOBS are updated so applying for positions will be easy.  As always ensure all documents have been proofread and pay attention to the details of the posting.

Typically you must be a U.S. citizen to work for the Federal Government, but all requirements are listed on individual position postings.  Positions are available around the world and not just in Washington D.C.  Remember to apply for positions early as the process to obtain positions could take a few months.  Finally, some application periods are open for only a few days to just a few weeks.  Make sure you are actively looking for positions on USAJOBS and/or receive email updates with positions that may be of interest to you through the site.  To learn more tips on applying to Federal Government opportunities, please visit the Career Services website at http://careers.erau.edu/find-job/federal/index.html.

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for the past two years.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina.  Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

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