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Under both components, students may be employed year-round and have flexible work schedules. The components are open to all students—high school, undergraduate, graduate, and vocational/technical. You are eligible under the SEEP if you are enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking student (diploma, certificate, etc.); are at least the minimum age required by federal, state, or local laws and standards governing the employment of minors; taking at least a half-time academic or vocational and technical course load in an accredited high school, technical or vocational school, 2- or 4-year college or university, graduate or professional school; and are a U.S. citizen or national. Noncitizens may be eligible for employment, but U.S. citizenship is required for conversion to permanent employment under the student career experience component.
You may contact your school guidance office, career planning and placement Federal Government office, teachers, or federal agency employment office where they are interested in working. They may also visit www.opm.gov/employ/students.
Summer Employment. Summer job opportunities are available in federal agencies throughout the United States, and cover a wide variety of positions. Use the Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS system to locate summer job opportunities. They may be found on the web site by searching under the heading “Summer” or by searching by series “9999.” Once you have located the summer job you want and are sure that you meet the work experience and/or education requirements, you should complete the requested application form(s), making sure to specify the title of the job and the vacancy announcement number, as well as any additional information, on your application.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
You should submit a separate application for each job for which you are interested and qualified. It is important to start your job search early! Application filing dates vary with each agency, so you should be sure to check vacancy announcement deadlines.
“Competitive” describes the outlook for summer jobs. The number of jobs available is relatively small in comparison to the large number of applicants for summer employment with the federal government. Only a small percentage of applicants who apply are hired. Therefore, don’t limit your efforts solely to obtaining summer work with the federal government.
For summer employees, pay depends on education and/or work experience.
Male applicants between the ages of 18 and 25 are eligible for appointment only after registering with the Selective Service System. Some State laws require persons under the age of 18 to obtain a work permit before being employed. Applicants who are under 18 should check with State or local authorities for specific requirements.
Under some circumstances, persons who worked for a federal agency during a previous summer may be re-employed by the same agency without having to compete with other applicants. To find out about re-employment possibilities, contact the agency where you previously worked.
Women and Minority Student Internship Programs. The federal government is interested in finding people from diverse backgrounds who have the skills needed to meet its future employment needs. Although some federal agencies have developed agency-specific programs, this internship listing is limited to special programs that may be used for hiring in all federal agencies. The following organizations offer internships: Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ National Internship Program (HNIP); Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Fellowship Program (CHCI); Presidential Management Intern Program (PMIP); Minority Leaders Careers in Political Science Fellowship Program (MLFP); Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students With Disabilities (WRP); White House Fellows Program; Asian-Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ Summer Internship Program; Organization of Chinese Americans’ Congressional and Government Internships; Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS); INROADS/Greater Washington Internships; NAFEO Services, Inc. Summer Intern Program; AISES Student Summer Work Experience Program; and the Women in Public Policy Internship Program (WIPP). Check www.studentjobs.gov/d_internship.asp for contact information.
The Outstanding Scholar Program is a special hiring authority that supplements competitive examinations for some entry-level positions in order to increase the number of African American and Latino/a workers in the government. The program is only applicable to the specific series and job titles listed on the web site. This special hiring authority is restricted to grade levels GS-5 and GS-7. Positions in the
following occupational fields are not covered by the Outstanding Scholar Program:
Accounting and Auditing, Engineering, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Mathematics.
Applicants for the program must be college graduates and have maintained a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate coursework or have graduated in the upper 10 percent of their graduating class or major university subdivision, such as the School of Arts and Sciences. A college degree in any major is qualifying for most of the career fields covered by the Outstanding Scholar Program. However, some positions require specific courses in subjects related to the job.
You may apply nine months before completing all the requirements of the program, including GPA or class standing. However, you must produce appropriate documentation (e.g., a copy of your college transcript) at the time of appointment.
The career fields for the Outstanding Scholar Program span many positions in the federal government. See www.usajobs.opm.gov/ei22.asp for a position list.
Presidential Management Intern Program (PMI). This program is designed to attract to federal service outstanding graduate students (master’s and doctoral) from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have an interest in and commitment to a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs.
PMI assignments involve domestic and international issues, technological changes, criminal justice, health research, financial management, and many other fields in support of public service programs. Federal departments and agencies strive to provide interns with challenging and rewarding assignments. All cabinet departments and more than fifty federal agencies have hired such interns.
Individuals eligible to be nominated for the PMI Program are graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines completing a master’s or doctoral degree from Federal Government an accredited college or university. They must also have a clear interest in and commitment to a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs.
You must be nominated for the PMI Program by the appropriate dean, director, or chairperson of your graduate academic program. Your educational institution devises a competitive nomination process, which ensures fair and open competition among all interested and eligible graduate-level students.
Selection as a PMI finalist is based on a candidate’s participation and performance in a structured assessment center process that includes evaluation of a candidate’s oral and writing skills. PMIs receive an initial two-year appointment of rotational assignments, which expose them to additional parts of their agency, another agency, or another branch of the federal government. After successfully completing the two-year program, PMIs may be eligible for conversion to a permanent government position and further promotional opportunities.
The PMI Program places a strong emphasis on career development. OPM provides structured orientation and graduation training programs. Additionally, federal agencies arrange for seminars, briefings, and conferences, as well as on-thejob training and other developmental opportunities. See www.usajobs.opm.gov/ ei18.asp and www.pmi.opm.gov/pmimain.htm for more information.
Student Volunteer Service. Federal agencies and departments offer unpaid training to students in high school and college. These opportunities provide work experience related to academic programs and allow students to explore career options as well as develop personal and professional skills. Student volunteers learn about the federal work environment and the missions and responsibilities of various federal agencies and departments.
Volunteer service with the federal government can enrich your future. Some of
the benefits include:
Career exploration early in your academic studies Exposure to new and emerging occupations and professions Academic credit for work you perform (if your academic institution allows it) Work experience that will enhance your ability to get paying jobs in the future.
You are eligible to participate as a student volunteer if you are enrolled, at least half-time, in an accredited high school or trade school; a technical or vocational school; a junior or community college; a four-year college or university; or any other accredited educational institution.
As a student volunteer, you are involved in professional projects and work activities related to your academic studies. These activities run the gamut from Careers in Political Science developing computer skills to policy or research-oriented projects involving such diverse topics as wildlife initiatives, environmental concerns, or congressional issues.
Depending upon your academic pursuits and the employing federal agency or department, assignments will differ, but all promise to be stimulating and rewarding.
The government recommends that you develop a work agreement in collaboration with your school and host federal agency. The agreement should outline the responsibilities of each partner. It may also identify the type(s) of assignment(s) and the conditions under which you will work.
Most student volunteers work for a federal agency or department for three to four months. Your work may be performed during the school year and/or during summer or school vacation periods. The nature of your volunteer assignment as well as your weekly work schedule should be part of your work agreement.
If you are interested in becoming a student volunteer with the federal government, contact the Personnel Office at the federal agency or department for which you wish to work. The Departments of Defense (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard), Commerce, Health and Human Services, Interior, Justice, State, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs have used the largest number of student volunteers.
Telephone numbers for federal agencies are found in the telephone directory under “U.S. Government.” Further information may also be found in schools’ offices of guidance, career counseling, placement, or internship.
FedWorld or Federal Jobs Around the USA. This data base allows you to search abstracts of open U.S. federal government jobs. This data base is updated every Tuesday through Saturday at about 9:30 A.M. Eastern U.S. time. Log on to their web site at www.fedworld.gov/jobs/jobsearch.html.
Federal Jobs Net. Informative web site on federal jobs including useful links, job hunting tips, and current job vacancies. Log on to their web site at www.federaljobs.net.
Govtjobs.com. Online job service providing assistance and job openings with the federal, state, and local branches of government. Log on to their web site at www.govtjobs.com.
United States Government Office of Personnel Management. The U.S.
Government’s official site for jobs and employment information provided by OPM. Log on to their web site at www.usajobs.opm.gov.
United States Government Printing Office. The USGPO has a general portal for information on all federal agencies. Log on to their web site at www.gpoaccess.gov.
State/Local GovernmentPOSSIBLE CAREERS
County treasurer; advisor to the chairman, state energy agency; county council member; chief of staff, Senate appropriations committee; deputy secretary, state department of natural resources;
assistant chief of police; director, state welfare-to-work program; legislative coordinator, mayor’s office; state personnel officer; director, county economic development office; juvenile justice specialist, state justice department; chief, state general government services office; state chief purchasing officer; city planner; labor relations specialist; commissioner, state department of human resources; city project coordinator; senior criminologist; assistant budget examiner; city housing administrator; deputy secretary to the governor; city’s coordinator of federal and state aid; supervisor, state department of education.
THE NATURE OF THE CAREER
State and local governments function in almost every area that has an impact on the lives of citizens. States have taken increased responsibility for equal opportunity, consumer protection, highway safety, water pollution, soil conservation, the rehabilitation of drug addicts, industrial development and manpower training, licensing, education, welfare, and transportation, among other public concerns.
Patronage appointments have decreased greatly, and most of the new positions created at the state government level are now based on merit or civil service positions. As both the legislative and executive branches of state government have become professionalized, jobs in state government depend more on specific training.
Counties, cities, boroughs, and townships have shown a parallel growth both in the scope of their responsibilities and in the size of their staffs. Most local jurisdictions solve challenging problems related to housing, zoning, public safety, welfare, and traffic control. The complex nature of many of these issues has led to the increase in staffs in even relatively small towns and cities. As the above list of Careers in Political Science occupations demonstrates, political science graduates usually have the broad range of knowledge and skills to hold many jobs at the state and local levels. There is such a diverse range of occupations available that the recent graduate can pursue a career in his or her particular area of interest.
PREPARATION FOR A CAREER IN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT