May 24, 2012
Young Government Leaders continues to support the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) proposed guidelines for the Pathways Program that will be implemented this summer. In December of 2010 President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the Pathways Program, which is divided into three paths: Internship Program for current students, Recent Graduates Program, and the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. These pathways will allow targeted entry into public service with the focus being on recruiting highly-skilled new hires that lack work experience. In the past, hiring students and recent graduates has been a weak point in the Federal recruiting plan, but OPM has spent the past year and a half creating the framework for the Pathways Program, which will provide recent graduates and students a clearer path into federal public service.
YGL has reviewed the proposed guidelines and commends OPM for its attention to training new hires to become leaders, rather than simply placing them in entry-level positions and allowing them to sink or swim. Specifically, YGL applauds the following features of the proposed regulations:
- Making the Recent Graduates and PMF Programs open for applicants up to two years after their date of graduation. By allowing applicants an increased amount of time to apply, than what is currently offered, should increase the applicant pool leading to more qualified employees.
- Recent Graduates eligibility is for those who have completed an Associates, Bachelors, Masters, PhD, trade school, or other higher education. This allows maximum opportunity for students to gain access to jobs within the Federal government.
- Requiring the Recent Graduates and PMFs to have a mentor. Based on a survey of our membership, formal mentorship is the one of the most desired components for these Pathways programs.
- Incorporating Individual Development Plans (IDP) into the Recent Graduates Program and the PMF Program. IDPs are important for career growth and all hires would benefit from this planning activity.
- Require Recent Graduates and PMFs to have additional training, 40 hours and 80 hours per year respectively, and how OPM has expanded the definition of training to include “interactive training” such as conference attendance, online education, and other training.
Many of these requirements, such as mentoring, training, and IDPs can be incorporated into the student focused Internship Program, and YGL encourages agencies to look for ways to give all participants in each pathway access to these effective career growth tools.
In conclusion, YGL is very impressed with OPM’s guidelines for the Pathways Program. The three different paths: Intern, Recent Graduates, and PMF; attract a wide range of skilled candidates, many of whom, due to their lack of work experience, were traditionally at a disadvantage for entry into the Federal Government. These guidelines will go into effect on July 10, 2012. These pathways should help create a pipeline of qualified and effective employees and likely provide greater satisfaction to the employee and increase retention. YGL will continue to advocate for agencies to use these programs because of their impact on shaping tomorrow’s leaders.