A internship with the federal government is one of the best ways to obtain valuable experience and get you “foot in the door” for a long-term employment opportunity with a agency. I know what I am talking about because I applied for an internship with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation better known as FDIC and was selected to go to the city of my choosing for a internship. This opportunity allowed for other incredible opportunities, which I would not have been able to apply for without “getting my foot in the door.”
One internship opportunity is what is known as the Federal Career Experience Program (FCEP), this was the program I was selected for with FDIC. There are a number of application processes you must pass and a few panel interviews. I went to the FDIC website and applied there. You can also find internship opportunities on www.usajobs.gov, www.studentjobs.gov , www.opm.gov/careerintern/index.asp and going to the agency of your choice. There you can search for different internship opportunities in your area of consideration. If you go to the FDIC website, you have to create a account and “search for student” positions. Then, you will be able to apply for internships there; the basic principle applies to other agency websites.
There are some wonderful benefits with obtaining a internship with a federal agency. For starters, you start a career path with the agency. This is important because federal positions are more secure than civilian positions since there are strict procedures for downsizing agency employees than in the civilian “world.” As an intern, you are eligible for medical benefits, dental benefits and in some cases educational reimbursement packages. This means that you are able to also contribute to a program called the Thrift Savings Program (TSP). The TSP program is a type of investment program where the federal employee contributes a certain amount of money to this investment program and for participating in the program the agency matches your money dollar for dollar. Meaning, if you contribute $100 to the program the agency puts an additional $100 toward the investment. This really starts to add up after a while.
The educational benefits are outstanding as well. If you are a full -time student either online of taking full classes on your own, some federal agencies will reimburse a percentage of the tuition you are paying, in a way they are paying you to go to school. With other agencies, if you have federal Stafford loans they have programs which will pay up to $10,000 a year toward your student loans. The whole purpose of offering so many incentives to interns is to get you to want to stay with the agency you have selected to complete your internship with.
All in all, obtaining a federal intern is not only a great way to better yourself and gain a diverse employment background; it is a fantastic way to improve your skills, knowledge and abilities. I have to thank the internship programs that I had the opportunity to have. It has taught me more than I could have ever learned from only going to school. The internships provided real-time experience and added work ethic to my professional background. Good luck with all that you do in your future.