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The end of FCIP, and the start of something new?

As others have mentioned here on govloop, the Federal Career Intern Program was recently ruled illegal by the Merit Systems Protection Board.

While it’s true that FCIPs are unfortunately not fully advertised in many cases–and get sent to me by referrals and advertised at job fairs–they were one of the best ways for my students to get federal jobs.

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. MANY have tried, and their searches and endless KSA essays have ended in frustration and lack of faith in the federal government.

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. All the questionnaires and assessments are still in a foreign language–they don’t know whether they are qualified for a GS 7 or GS 15.

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.

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Profile Photo Andrew Krzmarzick

Let me highlight this again because it is the core of the problem:

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. MANY have tried, and their searches and endless KSA essays have ended in frustration and lack of faith in the federal government.

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.

I am so frustrated by (the timing of) this decision! At a time when we talk about hiring reform, this represents a HUGE step backward for the Federal government. Even if it is illegal – why couldn’t MSPB and OPM have coordinated to ensure that there was a seamless transition from FCIP to what’s next?

palm to forehead>> šŸ™‚

Profile Photo Monica Evans

I will be looking out for the Pathways Program, but I am also going through the PMF process and the standard process (USAjobs.gov and the various departmental websites). Any other suggestions for a PhD. candidate who is graduating in May 2011?

Profile Photo Alan L. Greenberg

I don’t know too much about the background or reasoning for this since I’ve been retired for several years. What I can say though, is as a senior manager I appreciated the FCIP which produced the best and brightest, most of whom were committed to public service. At the risk of being a bit politically incorrect and adding fuel to the fire, during my management years, OPM was nearly disfunctional when it came to recruitment. The process was convoluted and results unpredictable. At the time I left most of the grunt work in recruitment was delegated back to the agency anyway so OPM served little purpose other than to create more regulations.

http://www.thegovernmentman.com

Profile Photo Shelby Hallmark

The FCIP termination was unfortunate (and unfortunately similar to a series of previous decisions that have closed the best avenues for Federal hiring, thereby depriving agencies of the best candidates). On the plus side, the PMF program has been expanded, and may very well be serviceable for the PHD candidate who posted on this topic yesterday. But I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment here — OPM needs to build the replacement for FCIP ASAP, not next summer.

Profile Photo Heather Krasna, MS

For our PhD student: there are a number of other special fellowship programs throughout the federal government. Most agencies have their own program. The problem is finding them and applying on time. There’s no central listing. What are you interested in? I might be able to direct you to some opportunities.

Profile Photo Monica Evans

Heather,

I am searching across various agencies for positions, but I am particularly interested in homeland security and/or information management (I have a Master’s in Library Information Science). My doctorate will be in Educational Policy, but my skill set and research experience are transferable to other policy areas. Any suggestions that you or the readers have would be greatly appreciated.

Profile Photo Sean Hughes

Does anyone here have a reason to think the PMF program will take a larger than normal cohort this year to help pick up the slack from the death of the FCIP? I was pondering this the other day. As someone who is finishing a master’s degree in May 2011, it seems my graduation date is unfortunate for someone seriously interested in public service with the gap between FCIP and Pathways.