The OPIA Blog

Commentary: Government not doing enough to take advantage of young, enthusiastic interns

Joe Davidson, Columnist for the Washington Post, wrote a column on how the federal government is squandering opportunities in developing its workforce. “Uncle Sam” he comments, is constantly behind the times with cultivating, developing and ultimately hiring interns that come through the various federal government offices. “Unlike private employers, Sam does not view interns strategically, as young professionals who should be cultivated into valued members of the federal workforce. He thinks doing a good deed by giving students experience is enough, while playing down the potential long-term benefit to the government the students represent. Sam puts most of his intern eggs into a basket with a big hole at the bottom. That basket is the Student Temporary Employment Program, which had 75 percent of the federal interns in 2007. It is “not designed to connect to career or academic goals, and . . . offers no direct route to students for full-time federal employment,” the report says. Temporary-employment interns don’t necessarily work on substantive projects. They may be assigned clerical or unskilled jobs.”