New federal internship programs explained

Friday - 1/7/2011, 4:45pm EST

Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach, Partnership for Public Service

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An executive order has eliminated the controversial Federal Career Internship Program and replaced it with a three-track system. Agencies that had been using FCIP are wondering where they go from here.

In a release, the Partnership for Public Service said the new system will "establish clear student pathways into federal service."

Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach at the Partnership for Public Service, said FCIP had become a "big tool" for hiring among agencies.

In fiscal year 2009, almost 30,000 people were hired through FCIP, McManus said in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

However, in November, the Merit Systems Protection Board issued a decision that FCIP violated veterans preference hiring rules.

"The abuses of some created the elimination for all," McManus said.

The executive order creates a new program for recent graduates who have been out of school two years or less. This program is similar to FCIP in that it is a developmental program, he said. McManus added that OPM will be providing more guidance on who will be eligible for this program.

The program "is a good alternative to the FCIP program for those entry-level folks," McManus said. "If you were using FCIP as an entry-level mechanism, I'm not sure you're going to miss anything once the recent graduate program is fully stood up and implemented."

The president's order must be put in a broader context of hiring reform across government, McManus said.

In May, President Obama issued an executive order to speed up the hiring processes and create more opportunities for applicants.

If agencies follow the hiring reform guidance overall, McManus said, "You still should be able to get the right people, test them out and get them in quickly."

SAMMIES award
The deadline for nominations for the Service to America Medals (SAMMIES) is Jan. 31. The Partnership presents these awards every year to federal employees who have made significant contributions to public service.

"With as much negative attention -- fed bashing -- that is going on, this is a program to highlight the great -- both individual and organizational -- accomplishments that are taking place," McManus said.

The Partnership is hosting a webinar Jan. 12 on how to write an effective nomination.

And check out Federal News Radio's full coverage of past SAMMIES winners.