Internships

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Pathways Internship Program

The Internship Program replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). This Program is designed to provide students enrolled in 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 who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service. Additional information about the Internship Program can be found at USAJobs. Here are some key provisions of the Internship Program.

Program Administration
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  • The Internship Program is primarily administered by each hiring agency.
  • Agencies may hire Interns on a temporary basis for up to one year for an initial period, or for an indefinite period, to complete the educational requirement.
  • Interns may work either part- or full-time.
  • Each agency must sign a Participant Agreement with the Intern that sets forth the expectations for the internship.
  • Intern's job will be related to the Intern's academic or career goals.
  • Agencies will have to provide OPM with information regarding their internship opportunities and post information publicly on USAJobs.gov about how to apply for specific positions.

Program Features

  • Flexible schedule of work assignments.
  • Students may be employed year round.
  • Open to all students enrolled at least half-time in an educational institution that has been accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in pursuit of any of the following educational programs:
    • High school or general equivalency diploma (GED)
    • Vocational/technical certificate
    • Associate degree
    • Baccalaureate degree
    • Graduate degree
    • Professional degree

Eligibility Requirements

You are eligible under the Internship Program if you are:

  • A student throughout the duration of the appointment;
  • At least 16 years old (required by Federal, state or local laws and standards governing the employment of minors);
  • Enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking student (diploma, certificate, etc.);
  • In good academic standing and maintain at least a 2.5 overall scholastic average on a 4.0 scale or equivalent, with no grade below a "C" during the internship;
  • Taking at least half-time academic or vocational and technical course load in an accredited high school; or technical or vocational school, 2-year or 4-year college or university, graduate or professional school that has been accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education;
  • In a post-secondary certificate program in a a qualifying educational institution, equivalent to at least one academic year of full-time study that is part of an accredited college-level, technical, trade, vocational, or business school curriculum;
  • A U.S. citizen or a national (resident of American Samoa or Swains Island) Non-citizens may be eligible for employment if:
    • lawfully admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident
    • otherwise authorized to be employed;
  • Male applicants must provide proof of Selective Service registration unless you meet the statutory exemption under Selective Service Registration, 5 U.S.C. section 3328.

All employment is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background investigation.

Program Completion and Conversion

  • Interns may noncompetitively be converted to a term or permanent appointment in the competitive service.
  • To be eligible for conversion, Interns must:
    • Complete at least 640 hours of work experience acquired through the Internship Program
    • Complete a course of academic study, within the 120 day period preceding the appointment, at a qualifying educational institution conferring a diploma, certificate, or degree
    • Receive a favorable recommendation for appointment by the intern’s supervisor
    • Meet the qualification standards for the position to which the Intern will be converted
    • Meet agency-specific requirements as specified in the Participant's Agreement, and
    • Perform their job successfully.
  • Agencies may waive up to 320 of the required 640 hours of work for Interns who demonstrate high potential as evidenced by outstanding academic achievement and exceptional job performance. Outstanding academic achievement means an overall grade point average of 3.5 or better, on a 4.0 scale; standing in the top 10 percent of the student’s graduating class; and/or induction into a nationally-recognized scholastic honor society.   Exceptional job performance means a formal evaluation conducted by the student’s Internship supervisor(s), consistent with the applicable performance appraisal program that results in a rating of record of higher than Fully Successful or equivalent.
  • In addition, students working in agencies through third-party intern providers may count up to 320 of the hours they work toward the 640 hour requirement.
  • Time spent under previous Internship Program appointments may count towards required work experience hours

Recent Graduates Program

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The Recent Graduates Program affords developmental experiences in the Federal Government intended to promote possible careers in the civil service to individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who will have up to six years after degree completion to apply). Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic, developmental program with the potential to lead to a civil service career in the Federal Government. The program lasts for 1 year (unless the training requirements of the position warrant a longer and more structured training program). Here are some key provisions of the Recent Graduates Program.

Eligibility

  • Recent graduates who have obtained a qualifying associates, bachelors, masters, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate from a qualifying educational institution. A recent graduate may apply for a position in the program if the application is received not later than 2 years after completion of all requirements of an academic course of study.
  • Veterans unable to apply within two years of receiving their degree, due to military service obligation have a full 2-year period of eligibility upon his or her release or discharge from active duty. The eligibility period may not extend beyond 6 years from the date on which the individual completed the requirements of an academic course of study.

Program Administration

  • The Recent Graduates Program is administered primarily by each hiring agency.
  • Each agency must sign a participant agreement with the recent graduate that sets forth the expectations for the program.
  • Agencies will have to provide OPM with information regarding their opportunities and post information publicly about how to apply for specific positions.
  • The agency will ensure within 90 days of appointment, that each recent graduate is assigned a mentor who is an employee outside the recent graduates’ chain of command.
  • The agency will ensure within 45 days of appointment, that each recent graduate has an individual development plan (IDP) that is approved by his or her supervisor.

Training and Development

  • Orientation program for recent graduates hired for the program.
  • Mentorship throughout the program.
  • IDP to create and track recent graduates' career planning, professional development, and training activities.
  • At least 40 hours of formal, interactive training per year that advances the goals and competencies outlined in each recent graduate’s IDP.
  • Positions offer opportunity for career advancement.

After Program Completion

  • Recent graduates may be noncompetitively converted to a competitive service term or permanent position.
  • To be eligible for conversion, recent graduates must have:
    • Successfully completed at least 1-year of continuous service in addition to all requirements of the Program.
    • Demonstrated successful job performance consistent with the applicable performance appraisal program established under the agency’s approved performance appraisal system that results in a rating of record of at least fully successful or equivalent and a recommendation for conversion by the first-level supervisor.
    • Met the qualifications for the position to which the recent graduate will be converted.

Presidential Management Fellows Program

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry-level for advanced degree candidates. Created more than three decades ago, the program attracts and selects from among the best candidates and is designed to develop a cadre of potential Federal Government leaders. Here are some key provisions of the PMF Program.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the PMF Program if you are:
  • An individual who, within the past two years, has completed  a qualifying advanced degree (e.g., masters or professional).
  • A student attending a qualifying educational institution, and expects to complete a qualifying advanced degree by August 31 of the academic year in which the competition is held.
  • An individual may apply for the PMF Program more than once as long as he or she meets the eligibility criteria. However, if an individual becomes a finalist and subsequently applies for the PMF Program during the next open announcement, the individual will forfeit his or her status as a finalist.

Program Administration

  • The PMF Program is centrally administered by the PMF Program Office within OPM.
  • OPM announces the opportunity to apply for the PMF Program (usually in the late summer or early fall).
  • Applicants go through a rigorous assessment process to determine finalists.
  • OPM selects finalists based on an evaluation of each candidate's experience and accomplishments according to his or her application and results of the assessments.
  • OPM publishes and provides agencies with the list of finalists.
  • Agencies provide OPM with information about their PMF opportunities and can post PMF appointment opportunities for those who are finalists on the PMF website year-round. In addition, a job fair is typically held for finalists each year.
  • Finalists who obtain an appointment as a PMF serve in a two-year excepted service position.

Training and Development

  • The PMF Program Office provides newly hired PMFs an opportunity to participate in its Orientation and Training Program.
  • Senior-level mentorship throughout the program.
  • IDP to create and track a PMF's career planning, professional development, and training activities.
  • Developmental opportunities in the occupation or functional discipline the PMF would most likely be placed.
  • At least 80 hours of formal, interactive training each year of the program, for a total of 160 hours.
  • PMFs are placed on a performance plan and must obtain a successful rating each year.

Conversion to the Competitive Service

  • After completion of the program, the executive resources board (ERB) will evaluate each fellow and determine whether it can certify in writing that the fellow met all of the requirements of the program to include the performance and developmental expectations set forth in the individual’s performance plan and IDP.
  • A fellow must complete the Program within the time limits prescribed including any agency-approved extensions. At the conclusion of the period, the fellow may be converted.
  • An agency may convert, without a break in service, an ERB-certified Fellow to a competitive service term or permanent appointment.

Student Volunteer Program

The student volunteer program is an unpaid program that allows students the opportunity to explore career options and develop personal and professional skills. Student volunteers are exposed to the Federal work environment and will learn about the mission and responsibilities of ATF. Student volunteers may or may not be assigned duties which relate to their course of study.

Program Features

  • Flexible schedule of work assignments.
  • Open to all students enrolled at least half-time in one of the following educational institutions that has been accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education:
    • High school,
    • Technical or vocational school,
    • A 2-year or 4-year college or university, or
    • A graduate or professional school.

Eligibility Requirements

You are eligible under the Student Volunteer Program if you are:

  • At least 16 years old (required by Federal, state or local laws and standards governing the employment of minors);
  • In good academic standing and maintain at least a 2.0 overall scholastic average on a 4.0 scale or equivalent;
  • Taking at least half-time academic or vocational and technical course load in an accredited high school; or technical or vocational school, 2-year or 4-year college or university, graduate or professional school that has been accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education;
  • A U.S. citizen or a national (resident of American Samoa or Swains Island). Non-citizens may be eligible for employment if:
    • lawfully admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident
    • otherwise authorized to be employed
  • Male applicants must provide proof of Selective Service registration unless you meet the statutory exemption under Selective Service Registration, 5 U.S.C. section 3328.

Student volunteers are not Federal Government employees; however, volunteer service is documented.

Please note that program participation is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background investigation and compliance with the terms and conditions of the Student Volunteer Program.

Student Volunteer Program Application Information

To apply for a position as a Student Volunteer submit your resume along with a message specifying the city and state in which you wish to volunteer and semester(s) you are available to work to internships@atf.gov. For a list of ATF Offices around the country, go to Field Divisions.

Additional Information:

  • Duties assigned will depend on the needs of the office.
  • Hours/days worked will be set by you and the supervisor and will depend on class schedule and the needs of the office.
  • Hours will be adjusted with changes in class schedule and/or the needs of the office.
  • No minimum number of hours per week.

Resources

Questions about the paid internships (e.g. Pathways, Recent Graduates, and Presidential Management Fellows programs) may be directed to:
Professional / Technical Staffing Branch (PTSB):  Pathways@atf.gov | 202-648-7330

Questions about the unpaid internships (e.g. student volunteers) may be directed to:
Diversity and Inclusion Branch: Internships@atf.gov | 202-648-8770

Last Reviewed March 29, 2017