Feds Expand eInternship Opportunities

Susan Hall

Unpaid internships have come under heavy criticism lately, especially since a federal court earlier this month slapped Fox Searchlight Pictures by ruling that two unpaid interns should have been classified as employees.

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However, the State Department is expanding the opportunity for students to work remotely for the federal government. It’s expanding its eInternship program, the Virtual Student Foreign Service Program, to include more than 450 online jobs to college students, reports Nextgov. The opportunities previously were with the State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development, but going forward include the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Commerce and Agriculture departments. These opportunities are unpaid.

These are not semester-long projects, but day-to-day tasks that foreign service officers in the field request help with, an introductory video explains.

Tasks include:

  • Jordan: Produce video interviews for YouTube to share with the public in Jordan how American youth engage with their communities.
  • Lesotho: Develop a database of Basotho medical staff.
  • Zimbabwe: Research the best way to use mobile phones and other forms of technology and media in nutrition promotions that target remote places in developing countries.

“By offering American college students the opportunity to contribute to the work government does, not only are we able to harness energy, excitement and enthusiasm from an audience outside our organization, but we are able to accomplish more with more,” Nextgov quotes Bridget Roddy, program manager for the VSFS program.

Students will be required to spend 10 hours a week on the projects between September and April 2014. Students may apply for up to three opportunities on USAJobs.gov between July 2 and 20.

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