Internship Program Must Follow Through on Training

October 15, 2011

The Office of Personnel Management should be applauded for its proposed Pathways Program, the government's new internship program. As proposed, it will be a much-welcomed point of entry to federal employment for promising, talented individuals who lack job experience. The program, however, as outlined by OPM, can be improved.

The Pathways Program was established in December by an executive order and is divided into three paths: the Internship Program, the Recent Graduates Program and the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program. In the past, hiring students and recent graduates was a weak point in the federal recruiting plan because hiring usually focuses on those with experience. Therefore, these pathways are great news for highly skilled new hires who lack work experience because they have focused on higher education.

OPM's guidelines on training new hires to become leaders, rather than simply placing them in entry-level positions and allowing them to sink or swim, are forward-thinking. Much attention is placed on recruiting talented individuals, and agencies often drop the ball when it comes to training and retaining the employees they work to recruit. OPM requires that interns recruited through the Recent Graduates Program and PMF Program follow a program syllabus, which promotes consistency at the agency level. 

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