The United States federal government offers several opportunities for current students and recent graduates interested in launching a federal career through an internship or employment opportunity. These programs are available to students of all ages and backgrounds and are known collectively as the Pathways Program. Here are 5 avenues towards launching a federal career to explore.
Virtual Student Federal Service
The Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) program is managed by the Office of eDiplomacy in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Information Resource Management in collaboration with federal agencies across government. This nine-month remote internship program offers opportunities in a variety of career areas. Candidates must be a U.S. citizen and enrolled as a student in a college level or above degree or certificate program. The application period opens every July.
Pathway Internship Program
This program is for students attending a qualifying educational institution and pursuing a certificate or degree. Internships can be either part-time or full-time paid opportunities. They may also offer a chance to be converted into a permanent position after completing the program and degree or certificate requirements. Participating agencies list information regarding their internship opportunities on USAJOBS.gov. Be sure to explore postings for additional eligibility requirements.
Recent Graduate Program
This program is for individuals who have graduated within the last two years with a degree or certificate from a qualifying educational institution. Interested candidates must apply within two years of receiving their certificate or degree. However, veterans have up to six years to apply if they are unable due to military service obligations. This program also offers professional development through training and mentorship. Each opportunity is primarily administered by the hiring agency. Click here to explore specific positions.
Presidential Management Fellowship
The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a federal government Pathways Program for recent graduates of graduate degree programs. It provides professional development training and mentoring through a two-year fellowship with a variety of federal agencies leading students to an opportunity to be in a leadership role within the federal government. This program offers opportunities across all career fields. Nearly all fellows are appointed at the GS-09 level and located in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Fellows then work in non-competitive appointments with agency flexibility for accelerated promotions and the potential to transition to a permanent leadership position at GS-12 or GS-13 upon completion of the program. The application period opens every fall. Visit the PMF webpage to learn more.
Workforce Recruitment Program
The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. Candidates must be U.S. citizens who are eligible for the federal Schedule A Hiring Authority, an accepted appointing authority charged with increasing the number of people with disabilities participating in federal service. Accepted candidates get access to federal government jobs and internships nationwide. This is an annual program and applications open in late August. Visit the WRP webpage to learn more.
Cathy Francois, MBA, is the director of career programming for Career Services at University of Maryland Global Campus. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Purdue University Global. Cathy’s career began in advertising sales and customer service, after which she transitioned into higher education, where she has over a decade of experience in academic advising and career development. Cathy has a passion for helping people succeed and uses her diverse experience and interpersonal skills to bring a personalized approach to career coaching.