Obama to end Federal Career Intern Program

Monday - 12/27/2010, 9:51am EST

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

President Obama is expected to issue an executive order that ends the Federal Career Intern Program in March.

According to the FCIP website, the program is designed to "recruit and attract exceptional individuals into a variety of occupations." Generally, interns are brought on for two years and may be eligible for permanent placement at an agency.

Critics of the intern program have argued it is a way to get around competitive hiring practices and is used to hire people not traditionally understood as interns. The Washington Post reports that more than 100,000 interns have been hired through the program since 2001.

The Post obtained a draft copy of the order that states the program will be replaced with a short-term program for recent graduates.

In November, the program was put on hold when the Merit Systems Protection Board found FCIP violated federal hiring rules. In a decision involving a veteran, the ruling stated that the government improperly placed FCIP positions in the excepted service, meaning vacancies did not have to be made public.

Agency misuse "has subverted [FCIP's] original training and development purpose to turn it into the hiring method of choice for many agencies, since it does not require adherence to competitive recruitment and selection procedures," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, in a statement. "The current program circumvents merit principles and veteran's preference."

The draft order would also "slightly change" the Presidential Management Fellow Programs by no longer having graduate schools nominate applicants, the Post reports.

Federal News Radio has requested comment from the Office of Personnel Management, the agency that oversees FCIP.

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