Obama to Ax Federal Hiring Program

Susan Hall
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If the Job Fits

Five questions you should ask before accepting your next IT job.

President Obama plans to end a federal hiring program that managers like because it allows them more flexibility, but unions oppose because it does not require agencies to make openings public.


Since 2001, the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) has been used to hire more than 100,000 people, but it's not really focused on interns as you generally think of them. In fact, all customs and border patrol openings are filled through the program, reports The Washington Post.


The government board that oversees federal hiring practices ruled in November that the program undermines the rights of veterans in particular. In its ruling, the Merit Systems Protection Board said:

Untold numbers of veterans are potentially being shut out of job opportunities for which they would have preference, because the agencies are filling the positions under FCIP without public notice.

The Post reports that Obama plans to end the program by executive order, perhaps as early as this week. The order would establish a new Internship Program and a new Recent Graduates Program for bringing young people into government jobs.


With the federal government scrambling with cyber security and other IT projects, the ballooning number of approaching retirements only adds to the pressure. The Partnership for Public Service has put the number of IT workers to be hired between 2010 and 2012 at more than 11,500, while more than 16,400 tech workers will be eligible to retire by 2010. Meanwhile, blogger Sue Marquette Poremba has written that the federal government has some serious catching up to do in security, largely hampered by its difficulty in hiring appropriate talent.


Adding to the problem, a recent report by the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton found that nearly a quarter of new hires leave federal government jobs within two years.

In the spirit of Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work" list, I also found a similar list for 2010 based on the reported satisfaction levels of government workers. It's compiled by the Partnership for Public Service and American University's Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation.

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