OPM to restructure federal internship program

The Office of Personnel Management plans to launch the federal government's new internship program by May, OPM director John Berry said Tuesday.

In a speech to the NASA Education Stakeholder's Summit, Berry gave additional details on the Student Pathways Initiative, created by President Obama in December 2010 based on findings from OPM.

The initiative will consolidate several federal internship programs into three pathways, replacing the Federal Career Intern Program, which was ordered to be shut down in March for violating federal veterans preference laws.

"We have a remarkable generation of young people coming of age. They're smart, they're connected, and they are looking for ways to give back to their communities and their nation," Berry said. "We want students to choose the federal workforce as their venue to pursue that urge to public service."

The initiative's three options are an internship program for current students, a new Recent Graduates Program and the Presidential Management Fellows Program for graduate students. OPM confirmed that all three pathways will be launched simultaneously, and that the organization aims to be ready in time for the Recent Graduates pathway to accommodate students graduating in May 2012.

Berry added that the Pathways program will be open to students at universities, community colleges and trade schools, and OPM plans to look beyond applicants in the science and technology fields to target accountants, linguists and policy specialists.

OPM also has realigned the application process for the Presidential Management Fellows Program to correspond with the academic year and removed a requirement that candidates have to be nominated by their schools. These changes will go into effect during the next academic year, according to Berry.

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