OPM moves forward with internship, hiring reform


The Office of Personnel Management released draft regulations (.pdf) August 4 that aim to establish a redesigned internship and entry-level federal hiring system called the Pathways Programs. The regulation would streamline several hiring programs, including the former Federal Career Intern Program, in an attempt to provide clearer paths toward federal employment.

The proposed regulation would establish three pathways: an internship program offered to students in a variety of educational institutions from high school to graduate level, a recent graduates program open to students who received a degree in the last two years and veterans who have graduated college and left active duty within 6 years, and the Presidential Management Fellows program.

The PMF program, which has been in place for more than 30 years, is the government's "premier leadership development program" for advanced degree candidates, says OPM.

"Under the regulations proposed by OPM, the eligibility window for applicants [to the PMF program] would be expanded, making the program more 'student friendly' by aligning it with academic calendars," said OPM.

The proposed regulations were mandated by a December 2010 executive order requiring OPM to streamline federal hiring for prospective interns and entry-level workers. President Obama signed the order following a Merit Systems Protection Board ruling that found FCIP was being used to block veterans from pursuing federal jobs.

Because FCIP allowed agencies to rapidly shuttle interns to full-time employee status, the board said agencies were not making competitive service jobs public. This past issue is addressed by the proposed regulations, which make clear that veteran-hiring preference still exists even when in competition with interns.

"The Pathways Programs provide for more transparency," says the draft regulation. "Members of the public interested in these opportunities with the Federal Government will now be able to learn about them through USAJOBS.gov."

"OPM's proposed implementing regulations would provide for more transparency in federal internship opportunities, limit the programs so they are used as a supplement to competitive examining and not a substitute for it, apply veterans' preference, and provide for OPM oversight," says the draft regulation.

The draft regulations are open for public comment until Oct. 4.

For more:
- see the OPM press release
- see the Federal Register announcement (.pdf)
- comment on the proposed regulation

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