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.