Death of the Federal Career Internship Program

Many of our largest employer clients are federal government and Fortune 500 organizations because our two most popular recruitment advertising tools are well suited to organizations with large hiring needs. News out of Washington, D.C. last week got me to thinking about whether we could help our clients hire veterans and disabled college students and recent graduates. In short, the answer is definitely.

I learned just before Veterans’ Day that the federal government’s primary method of hiring interns may be illegal because federal agencies are supposed to give hiring preferences to veterans. The Federal Career Internship Program (FCIP) was designed to provide two-year structured training and development internships but a number of agencies have abused it. An arbitration board just ruled that FCIP illegally circumvents traditional civil service merit hiring principles regarding veterans.

If FCIP is dead, the agencies could shift to targeting college students who are veterans or disabled as those groups are to receive hiring preferences. But are there enough veteran and disabled college students and how can we help the agencies and our corporate clients reach those valuable candidates?

I had our targeted email campaign and cell phone text messaging campaign data guys do a bit of research and found that we can email or text on behalf of our employer clients over one million veteran or disabled students and recent graduates…

(Read more at CollegeRecruiter.com Blog)

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Nooooo!!! Say it ain’t so. FCIP is an important tool in speeding up the process of (a) getting potential new hires exposed to government and (b) expediting hiring processes.

I am all for hiring veterans, but not at the expense of an important Federal program.

We MUST do both. This is not an either/or situation.

Steven Rothberg

I agree, Andrew. Hopefully a solution can be found that will protect the rights of our veterans while also providing opportunities for interns, disabled, and other preferred groups.

Sylvonia Poole

Double Noooo!!!! Please say it is not so. I would love to get more information on this topic. It is an excellent way to get into the government. We can’t overlook our vets or the disabled population but we have to protect this program. Long Live the FCIP program!!!!

Is there a

Sylvonia Poole

Is there someone I can write or speak to about preserving the FCIP program? I would love to start a petition or speak to the manager or agency that is considering doing away with this program. I would love to speak on how this program has played a major part in my own life and share my commitment to public service.

Heather Krasna, MS

As the Director of Career Services at a Master of Public Administration program (the Evans School at University of Washington), I can tell you that over the last 3 years, NONE of my students, all of whom are highly qualified for government jobs and really, really want to work in public service, has ever gotten a job through the competitive hiring process, as far as I know.

Each and every one of my students who has gotten a federal job has been hired through either conversion from a SCEP internship, through the PMF, or through FCIP, or through another special fellowship program like the DHS Honors fellowship.

Competitive hiring process, even under hiring reform, requires my students to rewrite their resumes, often still write essays, etc., and they are at a serious disadvantage because they often don’t have years of work experience and very few are veterans. Most students don’t know how to write a federal resume, and they really balk at having to rewrite everything in federal-ese, as well as knowing they will not stand a chance when competing against a veteran.

Supposedly, OPM is working on a replacement for the FCIP, (supposedly called Pathways) but it won’t be out until spring or summer 2011. In the meantime, an entire year’s worth of smart and capable students who are passionate to help work for our government will not be hired, and will hopefully find jobs in the private sector or nonprofits–since local and state government is laying off in droves right now.

NOT a smart move. I hope OPM can work much, much faster. And the agencies start hiring SCEP students in droves. And that every single student who applied for the PMF gets hired.

Katherine Clarke Radican "Casey"

Couldn’t agree more with all the comments here. Loosing the FCIP will be a huge loss. I have multiple employees working for me now that came through this program… I cant say enough about them and most importantly their overwhelming desire to learn, work hard, and make our agency a better place. If I can do something to help save this program, just say the words!

Thomas Chiles

I am very disappointed to hear this news. The effect of this will be to weaken the recruiting ability of the federal government. Shutting down the FCIP is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


I agree with all of the prior comments. As an FCIPer myself, I can say that this program has changed my life by giving me an opportunity to work not only in the government, but IN MY FIELD in the government, which is a dream come true! My husband is a veteran and I definitely feel that we should be doing all we can to provide our vets with opportunities to work in the government, but there is no reason that should mean the end of the FCIP program. I have heard that there have been some problems with abuse of the FCIP program, but that also is no reason to end it, especially if (as I’ve been led to believe) most of the “abuse” has been due to a lack of understanding of the process. The government would be served far better if OPM were to make adjustments to the existing program and fully educate those with hiring duties on how the program is meant to be used. I sincerely hope that they will reconsider this decision. It is already difficult enough to attract younger employees to government service without taking away one of the few programs that helps them get a foot in the door.

Lisa Rosser

The irony is that FCIP could actually be used to hire more veterans. There are plenty of veterans out there who do not qualify for 5 or 10 point preference, and who could be hired through FCIP. 2009’s Executive Order #13518 (“Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government”) calls for departments and agencies to step up their outreach to veterans and veterans with disabilities with the goal of increasing hiring. Why eliminate one hiring approach that could facilitate reaching that goal?

Lisa Rosser

Chief Advocate for Hiring Military
The Value Of a Veteran

Kay Garth

This is very disturbing. I hope they continue to provide this program as it is instrumental in developing candidates and future employees of the government.

David Dean

My name is David Dean as in David Dean v. Office of Personnel Management, MSPB, November 02, 2010. The FCIP is gone. It is not coming back. The FCIP was used to evade hiring veterans. The President and the MSPB agree with me. It is the anti-veteran stance of people such as the posts on this board that caused the demise of the FCIP. Good riddance. We (veterans) are not going to allow the new programs to be methods to get around hiring veterans. Veteran preference is federal law, Title 38, Title 5 and VEOA. Contrary to the views of one poster college students are not going to be “hired in droves”.. The little dears are going to have to pay their dues.

David Dean

Contrary to the Pardner Ship for Public Service’s post since they claim to be an arm of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that will be kept in mind if we (veterans) have to sue again. At this time I do not think OPM wants to be closely involved with private parties that advocates not hiring veterans. Communications between the Pardner Ship for Public Service and OPM will certainly be included in any request for documents forwarded to OPM. If an appeal has to be made on this case they will be included. Apparently they just became and arm of the state. Additionally, veteran preference applies to preference eligible veterans. The others are not “veterans” for purposes of federal hire


Hey David – What do you think of the new hiring programs recently announced?

Also I’d love to hear your ideas on what you think would be best way to recruit recent graduates? It seems in the private sector some companies like a GE do both well – recruiting veterans and recruiting college students. Sometimes it’s separate programs, other times it’s not

Kay Garth

@ David..I hope this is some positive news because I can tell you I was rated superior on the last 8 applications with USAjobs and every last one has been cancelled due to the executive order and the recruiters advised me they were just in limbo until further notice. I hope change is on its way.