OPM Rejects Plea to Extend Deadline for Presidential Management Fellows

Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta informed the PMF finalists in a recent letter she would not honor their request. Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta informed the PMF finalists in a recent letter she would not honor their request. Flickr user aflcio

Finalists in the 2013 Presidential Management Fellows Program will not receive the eligibility extension they want to find a job in the federal government, despite concerns that too few of them have been hired.

Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta informed the PMF finalists in a recent letter she would not honor their request. The group had petitioned her to extend the period to find a job past the current April 8 deadline.

More than two-thirds of the 2013 finalists have not yet received jobs, a dramatically higher figure than in previous years. The competitive fellowship program, formerly known as the Presidential Management Intern program, gives current graduate and doctoral school students and recent degree recipients the opportunity to work for two years at a federal agency, earning the full pay and benefits of a General Schedule Grade 9, 11 or 12. Fellowship finalists are not guaranteed an appointment, however, and just 213 of 668 finalists in 2013 have received jobs so far.

Finalists have just one year to receive an appointment, prompting the jobless to ask for an extension. Archuleta declined to do so, but will offer the class of 2013 two more job fairs to help them find an appointment before the deadline.

“Our goal is to do everything we can to help you become a PMF,” Archuleta wrote in the letter. “We have considered the request detailed in the petition. While we are unable to grant an extension of your eligibility for an additional year, we are committed to the success of our finalists.”

In addition to the job fairs, OPM will host a workshop to help finalists market their skills and work with PMF coordinators at each agency to help get potential fellows hired.

PMF alumni also took up the cause of the 2013 class, attempting to rally support at OPM for the extension. The program graduates said the government shutdown, furloughs and budget uncertainty put the current class in a position they never faced.

Archuleta acknowledged the financial difficulties and pledged to reevaluate the placement system going forward.

“This has been a very difficult budget year and positions are not guaranteed when applying for the PMF program,” she wrote. “However, based on the experience of the class of 2013, I plan to take a closer look at the program and work with agencies to examine ways we can improve the number of placements for PMFs.” 

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