“Myth Busters” for Millennials

“Ask again later.”

Not my favorite answer from a Magic 8 Ball. And possibly worse than any of the more neutral responses because it’s almost blatantly rejecting my question. But, when I do get a “Yes – definitely,” I am ecstatic with the fortune-telling toy. Who doesn’t enjoy getting a straightforward answer, like advice from a fortune cookie?

Imagine a fortune cookie for government. Or specific ones catering to different agencies. Having answers to common government misconceptions could bypass many bureaucratic issues occurring today.

To help challenge many widely-believed myths about the hiring process of government interns and recent graduates, millennials now have access to the Volcker Alliance’s “Myth Busters” toolkit.

Shelly Metzenbaum, President of Volcker Alliance, spoke with Chris Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER program about how government employers can hire the best and brightest of the next generation and the release of the “Myth Busters” toolkit.

Background: the Volcker Alliance is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization and was founded in 2013 by Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The mission of the group is to improve the effectiveness of and trust in the government. The nonprofit joined forces with the Partnership for Public Service and the Robertson Foundation for Government to develop and release a “Myth Busters” toolkit to correct common misconceptions and override widespread confusion about recent graduate and federal intern hiring regulations.

The “Myth Busters” toolkit is being distributed to students, universities and federal agencies, and it clarifies eight crucial components of the Pathways Programs. Issued in 2012, these Pathways regulations provide guidance about federal internships and hiring recent graduates, but lack of clarity and extensive misperceptions have hindered the application process.

The Importance of Government Millennials

Streamlining the recent graduate hiring process is extremely important because with constant new developments in technology, the involvement of youth in government policy is becoming more pertinent. In order to understand government function, our future leaders need to be given the chance to be initially hired into the system.

“We always need great people in government, and, young people at the early stages in their career, they really want to make a difference, they want to enter public service,” said Metzenbaum. “What’s really horrible is when they’re ready and raring to go in the government, and [then] they can’t get hired even when people on the government side of the business want to hire them.”

Volcker Alliance compiled these myth busters in order to enable government to function better by addressing specific structural and systemic problems. Metzenbaum discussed how the Alliance brought the right knowledge and people together to understand the problem, find solutions, and promote their adoption to bring more youth into the government arena.

“Young people really are committed to public service, and government is all about public service,” said Metzenbaum. “It is about cleaner air, cleaner water, healthier people. It is about helping people get the education they need so they thrive. This is what young people care about, what they want to do. Government is a fabulous way to make a positive difference on people’s lives, and we can’t afford not to have great people in government and also develop them.”

Bust-able Myths & Major Takeaways

During her interview, Metzenbaum pointed out a few major myths that needed busting, including veteran’s preference and some USAJobs fabrications. One false Myth Busters notion is that agencies must apply veteran’s preference as part of each screening recruiting process for recent graduate and internship positions.

“[The Partnership for Public Service] was ready to fund interns but could not get them a place,” Metzenbaum explained. “We reached out to hear from people in government what they were confused about. One of [these things] was how often you need to apply the veteran’s preference, how often you need to repost positions, things like that. And we worked closely with the Office of Personnel Management to confirm that what were myths were in fact myths, and in fact, when you have [a recent graduate] who has worked as an intern in your organization, they can be placed directly into positions in the government service. Similarly recent graduates, if you’ve hired a recent graduate, when you’re ready to hire them full time, you don’t need to apply the veteran’s preference multiple times.”

One major myth Volcker Alliance is intent on busting is that agencies are required to post every job and internship on USAJobs. Because each job posted on the government site receives thousands of applications, many federal workers are reluctant to publicly post these descriptions. Metzenbaum advised agencies on the matter: “You don’t need to post every position. You need to post information about the internship and recent graduate programs, and how you’re going to be hiring or recruiting.”

Metzenbaum stressed the need for recruiting and hiring interns and recent university graduates. Agencies should be reaching out to other entities and collaborate on common internship needs that they share. She also advised organizations to focus on their specific need and identify barriers that might not actually exist: “There are a lot of myths out there. Don’t let them get in your way. Figure out the facts and figure out how to get the job done.”

More importantly, agencies should focus efforts on helping recent graduates navigate the government hiring system. “We can’t afford to lose people who have 21st century skills, who can help us with new technologies, [and] new mindsets to solve problems that we’re facing today,” said Metzenbaum.


Featured Image Attribution: ccharmon

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Thank you for this brief and essential employment guide.

I have noticed that not much is offered in terms of people interested in part time work/career opportunities.

Dave Dean

Attempts to evade veteran preference never stops. The relationship between these nonprofits and OPM needs to be looked into. What effect does the named non-profits have. At best their attempts to provide favorite treatment for a select cohort is a prohibited personnel practice (PPP). Will be interesting to look into this.