Pathways offers departments access to fresh talent

Tuesday - 6/26/2012, 5:27am EDT

Tim McManus, Vice President for Education and Outreach, Partnership for Public Service

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By Esther Carey
Special to Federal News Radio

The Pathways Program is aimed at making it easier for agencies to bring in new talent and to tailor-train potential employees to fit the special needs of a position. Pathways launches July 10 with three distinct tracks to help smooth the way for current or recently graduated students to gain experience in working for the federal government.

The program can be a tool for helping departments plan further ahead for what type of people they want to hire, said Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach at the Partnership for Public Service in an interview with In Depth with Francis Rose.

McManus said agencies should think through how they could use the program to their greatest advantage. He said they should be flexible in how they implement pathways.

"Agency leaders will need to adapt in order to survive and get the long-term talent they need," he said. "Not everybody will be on board initially, but take those who are and prove that it works."

Pathways provides a great opportunity for departments to prepare entry-level talent to fit specific positions, McManus said. He used as an example a need for "electrical engineers who also have project management experience and are good communicators and have a sense of humor."

The new programs enable an agency to bring in electrical engineers and train them in their management and communication skills during the internship period, and then to have the option of hiring them full time.

Three tracks to Pathways

The three tracks of the program include the Internship Program for current students from high school to graduate school, the one-year Recent Graduates Program for those who have completed a degree or certificate program in the previous two years, and the two-year Presidential Management Fellows Program for people who have recently finished an advanced degree.

All three are paid positions and include the potential of conversion into a permanent job after successful completion. Agencies are responsible for administering the Internship and Recent Graduates programs in their particular department, but all positions available under the new rules will be listed on Office of Personnel Management's job listing website.

The PMF program is a competitive process controlled directly by OPM.

"These programs are a pathway for students to move from a short-term position into working for the government on a long-term basis," McManus said.

President Barack Obama created the Pathways Program by signing Executive Order 13562 on Dec. 27, 2010.

Esther Carey is an intern at Federal News Radio.

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