#GovernmentJobs

Tag: #GovernmentJobs

The US Government Accountability Office

The federal government is full agencies that go by well-known acronyms, like the FBI, CIA and DOD.  However, have you heard of the GOA?  GOA stands for the Government Accountability Office.  While not a sexy name, the GAO is an important part of the federal government.  As part of the legislative branch, the “GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars.”  Their work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is required by public law.  The Government Accountability Office is commonly known as the “congressional watchdog”.  When significant amounts of taxpayer money are found to be wasted or inappropriately spent, often the GAO is the first agency to notice.

For students looking for government internships, the GAO should be considered.  For the last two years, the GAO has ranked number one in the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work rankings among mid-size federal agencies.

In addition to internships, the GAO offers a Professional Development Program for recent graduates that focuses on developing entry-level staff knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet GAO’s mission through work experiences, training, and ongoing coaching and feedback throughout a two-year program. Staff are generally rotated among GAO’s mission teams or placed in staff offices. 

David Trimble from the Lawrence class of 1982 (Philosophy) currently works at the GAO and says working for the GAO is “in many ways it is the perfect fit for anyone that appreciates a liberal arts education.”

For more information, click here for details on GAO internships and here for more about the GAO Professional Development Program.

State of Wisconsin Student Diversity Internship Program

Every summer, the State of Wisconsin offers internships for students across culturally diverse groups, so they can experience the professional work environment of Wisconsin State Government. Since the inception of the program, the program has placed close to 4,000 students in internship positions across more than 30 state agencies and university campuses.

​The Student Diversity Internship Program provides students with valuable, paid work experience and training in various branches of state government over the summer break. Many interns have gone on to​ obtain employment in state government as limited term or permanent state employees.

To participate in the Student Diversity Internship Program, students must be 18+ years of age and be attending, have plans to attend, or recently graduated from a two- or four-year college or university, graduate program, or a vocational/technical school program.

Visit the State of Wisconsin Student Diversity Internship Program web site to see this summer’s openings!

Government Gap Years

By Jonathan Hogan

If you are interested in working in government but you’re not quite ready to commit to a career, or if you are simply looking for something to do between Lawrence and a career and have a background in government, you might want to consider a government gap year. In the following paragraphs, then, I will outline the most prominent programs and what they broadly entail.

Pathways Recent Graduate Program

The broadest program for government gap years is the Pathways Recent Graduate Program. Most broadly, the Pathways program is designed to “provide students [and recent graduates]… with a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and while getting paid for the work performed” (“Students & Recent Graduates”). The Recent Graduates Program, as the name implies, is generally open to students who have graduated in the last two years. An important caveat, as with many government programs, is U.S. citizenship. Interns must have U.S. citizenship by the end of their one-year program. What sets the Pathways program apart is the fact that it is administered by nearly every federal agency. This means that students with interests as differentiated as agricultural and diplomacy could both find Pathways internships working with the State Department and the USDA respectively. Such a variety of programs, nonetheless, makes it difficult to talk about specifics. Most broadly, recent graduate interns are expected to work full-time for a year, for pay, while learning the ins and outs of their agency. Excitingly, one of the benefits of the program includes the possibility of being offered a full-time position at the end of the internship, thus making Pathways an interesting program even for those more certain about a career path with the federal government. To learn more about Pathways programs, it’s best to go to the website of an agency of interest to learn more about their specific practices.

Peace Corps

One of the most prominent gap year programs is the Peace Corps. Broadly, Peace Corps members are deployed to countries around the world where they learn the local language, typically live with a host family, and volunteer their time working on projects ranging from education to community economic development. While experience in the Peace Corps is not an internship with a government agency per se, its challenges of working abroad, fostering cultural and linguistic competencies, and working to support development overlap significantly with many positions in the State Department and USAID. The benefits of the Peace Corps include a stipend of $10,000 upon completion of the 2.5-year program, tuition assistance to a broad list of graduate school programs under Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship, and a higher likelihood of getting a job within the federal government. To learn more, check out the Peace Corps website and get in touch with a local representative. 

State Government Gap-Years

State governments generally have fewer gap year opportunities than the federal government for recent grads, that being said, many states do offer some form of an internship. In Wisconsin, there appears to be only one opportunity for recent grads, namely the Department of Transportation Internship Program. This program can see interns working in a wide variety of areas while “networking with other interns, state government employees, and management” (“Division of Personnel Management Student Internships”). State internships are likely to vary greatly, so it is wise to investigate the programs offered in your state when considering gap years.

AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps, much like the Peace Corps, is a service-based experience in which recent grads can gain experience working to help communities in areas ranging from disaster recovery to education. As the name implies, however, this program sees volunteers help communities in America. It is important to note that AmeriCorps workers work through an NGO partnered with AmeriCorps rather than AmeriCorps itself, thus, volunteering doesn’t constitute government work. Nonetheless, volunteers, who dedicate between a summer and a year of their time to the program are granted not only a reasonable living stipend and student loan repayment assistance but also professional development resources that can help kickstart careers in non-profit and governmental industries. Additionally, dedicating a year of your life/resume to government-sponsored service certainly helps one stand out to potential government employers. To learn more about AmeriCorps, visit their website!

Works Cited

“Division of Personnel Management Student Internships.” Wisconsin.Gov, https://dpm.wi.gov/Pages/Job_Seekers/StudentInternships.aspx. Accessed 18 May 2022.

Home | AmeriCorps. https://americorps.gov/. Accessed 18 May 2022.

“Meet the Moment.” Peace Corps, https://www.peacecorps.gov/. Accessed 18 May 2022.

“Students & Recent Graduates.” U.S. Office of Personnel Management, https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-information/students-recent-graduates/. Accessed 18 May 2022.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Virtual Student Federal Service Internship

by Jonathan Hogan

Among the internships offered by the Department of State, the most accessible in terms of acceptance rate while also granting interns valuable insight into a career in the State Department is The Virtual Student Federal Service internship.

The Virtual Student Federal Service Program is best summed up in an advertisement posted by the federal government. It states: “1: State & other U.S. agencies post unclassified projects that might leverage talent. 2: U.S. college, masters, Ph.D. & post-doc students apply to three projects. 3: … and that’s it! Selected interns work virtually for agencies Sept-May.” To apply, interns (which must be U.S. citizens) simply go through the U.S. federal jobs platform USAJOBS, and, after creating an account, submit a “resume, transcript & short responses” (“How It Works”). To make things even easier, the Career Center has already released an article on how to create a USAJOBS account—just click this link. Here, It is worth noting that federal agencies other than the Department of State participate in the program, however, it seems that the Department of State is particularly active in the program.

If the Virtual Student Federal Service Internship has piqued your interest, you might be wondering what the experience is actually like. In general, interns work between September and May for roughly 10 hours a week. Furthermore, interns can work anywhere in the world. The internship is not paid, however, many interns receive credit for their work—something which feels particularly likely at Lawrence. It is difficult to discuss specifics, as the program is based around a nearly unending array of projects posted by the State Department; however, at the moment of writing, one project is already posted to the website which would see students work as research assistants on the Afghanistan Lessons Learned Project to examine “the goals, policies, strategies, and programs implemented” during U.S. involvement in Afghanistan (Virtual Student Federal Service). Given that the application deadline for this coming year is in July, more programs are likely to be posted shortly. If you determine that the Virtual Student Federal Service Internship is right for you, feel free to schedule an appointment with our government advisor, Ty Collins, for help with the application process here.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

“How It Works.” U.S. Department of State, https://careers.state.gov/interns-fellows/virtual-student-federal-service/how-it-works/. Accessed 3 May 2022.

Virtual Student Federal Service. https://vsfs.state.gov/projects. Accessed 3 May 2022.

Career Spotlight: Environmental Organizations

If asked to name a concern of global importance, many Lawrence students would cite the changing climate and its impact on the environment. Some go so far as to declare environmental justice as their desired career path. In fact, some past Lawrentians have already done so, choosing to turn their passion for the improving the environment into a career, by working for an environmental organization. 

While environmental organizations may occasionally be a private company or corporation, most of the time, such entities are part of local, state or federal government, or they may be a non-governmental organization (NGO), or an intergovernmental organization.  In addition to climate change, other environmental issues they focus on include pollution, waste, resource depletion and human overpopulation.

In the United States, the primary federal government agencies tasked with serving and protecting the environment include the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.  Most states have their own versions of some of these agencies as well. 

The list of NGO’s in the United States and around the world committed to environmental protection is too long to list, but you have likely heard of many of the larger ones, including the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Greenpeace

All of these government agencies and NGO’s hire interns, so if you are looking for a place to get hands-on experience in protecting the environment and fighting climate change, consider a summer internship for such an agency or organization.  Please note that government agencies hire their summer interns very early, so you should start looking as early as this fall for internships in the summer of 2023.

Another great way to get experience in this area is by joining one of the many Lawrence environmental clubs and organizations, some of which are Greenfire, the Lawrence University Environmental Organization, the LUCC Sustainability Committee and the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG)

A Career in Public Policy? Public Administration?

Jonathan Hogan

For those of us majoring in government, you’ve probably heard the terms “public policy” and “public administration.” You might not, however, know the difference between these terms. Broadly, public policy usually refers to positions that focus on the designing of policies and public administration typically refers to governmental positions that oversee the implementation of said policies. Yet, what do public policy and administration jobs typically look like? And what educational background does one need to get to these positions? Read more to find out…

 Public Policy

Jobs in public policy are quite wide-ranging; however, they tend to be found in government, and government adjacent industries. An archetypical job in public policy is the position of policy analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an agency which “provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with timely, fact-based, nonpartisan information” pertaining to various policies (“For Congress“). At the GAO, a policy analyst is responsible for reviewing federal government policies through a detailed statistical analysis and subsequently succinctly recommending modifications for programs to various members of congress. Another good example of a typical career for a public policy major is a position as a lobbyist. In fact, it is hard to imagine a good lobbyist, whose job it is to convince politicians to introduce or modify legislation, without a strong understanding of policy design.

Should careers in public policy sound interesting to you, a master’s in public policy (MPP) is probably something to consider. An MPP prepares one for a career in public policy through courses pertaining to different forms of statistical analyses, as well as courses focusing on different iterations of public policy such as policy evaluation (determining whether a policy has worked and potentially trying to improve it) and policy analysis (designing a new policy from scratch) (“Master of Public Administration & Master of Public Policy“). An MPP tends to take between one and a half and two years to complete when working as a student full time. Costs vary widely depending on university and the amount one receives in scholarships.

 Public Administration

Unlike those working in more public policy-oriented fields, Public Administration is typically characterized more by human interaction than data analysis. Similar to careers in public policy, public administration jobs can be found in a broad spectrum of areas. A good example of a typical career in public administration is that of a city manager. City managers are responsible for leading a team that carries out the policy of elected officials. As the name implies, it is the administering of public policy that occupies the focus of the public administrator. If public administration sounds interesting to you, but your interests lie outside of the government’s purview, a career as the director of an NGO is a strong option. NGOs in the U.S. are often funded by the government in exchange for their delivering of some sort of governmental service. In this context, a background in public administration, which ensures that the director fully understands the system of which their NGO is a part of and can competently lead workers, is priceless (“What Is Public Administration?“).

Should careers in public administration be interesting to you, the aptly named Masters of Public Administration (MPA) might be the right choice for you. Compared to an MPP, an MPA is more oriented around “leadership and management skills [necessary] to successfully plan and manage complex policies” (“What Is Public Administration?“). That being said, MPA students still receive training in data analysis skills, just to a lesser degree than MPP students. Just as an MPP, an MPA can usually be completed in two years.

Works Cited

“For Congress“. U.S. Government Accountaibility Office, https://www.gao.gov/about/what-gao-does/for-congress. Zugegriffen 10. Januar 2022.

“Master of Public Administration & Master of Public Policy“. Northeastern University, https://publicaffairs.northeastern.edu/online-mpa-mpp/. Zugegriffen 11. Januar 2022.

“What Is Public Administration? – MPA@UNC“. UNC-MPA, https://onlinempa.unc.edu/academics/what-is-public-administration/. Zugegriffen 10. Januar 2022.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.