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Do Furloughs Mean the End of Internships?

In the ongoing war on government budgets there is another victim, the internship. “We’ve seen agencies really dial back their internship programs in the face of these budget cuts,” said Tom Fox. “If you are having furloughs, hiring freezes and pay freezes it’s only natural you would see a decline in internships as well.”

Fox is the Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service. He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that the real danger in losing government internships is the pipeline to the best and the brightest.

“If internships are reduced, then when the freezes go away and agencies are looking to hire entry level workers, they might not be able to actually recruit the best and the brightest,” said Fox.

Benefits of Internships:

  • Clearly there is an educational component.
  • It is an opportunity for the agency to bring in some fresh blood and perspective that may energize the more seasoned staffers.
  • Internships are one of the best possible recruiting tools. It makes a much better hire on the backend when you can week out beforehand applicants on their actual job performance instead of just a job interview.

What should managers do now?

“It is a difficult balancing act that federal managers face, if they dial back completely and don’t offer internships then the talent pipeline in just one year will greatly dry up. But you also can’t make false promises. The best agencies are recruiting a few interns that can act as ambassadors for the agency. Agencies need to use smart and strategic internships for mission critical occupations,” said Fox.

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Julie Chase

Interns and STEPS have been a memory since 2008. NO MONEY TO FUND. Pathways does not exist on MC installations. The STEMS we have now are “RETIRING” in droves, (kissing the high 3 good-bye). Entry level here is a GS05 for a college grad in a STEM field. Most of the interns we “had” in 2008 said there is no way they would come in as a GS05, so off they went almost 5 yrs going on 6 yrs ago……. And the best part is, our reps are enjoying their free coffee and pastries while we are all furloughed. Nice, huh?