Applicable to: Civilian
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued the final rule for the Pathways Programs on 11 May 2012 (77 FR 28194) establishing the Internship Program and the Recent Graduates Program and revising and reinvigorating the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. These two new programs, along with the PMF Program, collectively form what the President called the Pathways Programs. The Pathways Program requirements are found in part 362 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The appointing authorities for the Pathways Programs are found in 5 CFR 213.3402(a), (b), and (c).
Pathways is comprised of three distinct programs, Internship, Recent Graduates and Presidential Management Fellows to offer students and graduates meaningful training and career development opportunities as they begin careers in Federal service. These programs are designed to assist agencies in building a diverse work force and facilitate the intake of new talent.
Air Force Pathways Internship Program
The Internship Program replaced the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP). Program participants will be referred to as “interns.”
The Internship Program provides students in high school, college, trade school, vocational school, and other eligible educational programs with opportunities to work in federal departments and agencies and explore federal careers while still in school. An Intern can be appointed to a position at any grade level for which qualified. The use of the Internship Program is encouraged for several reasons. There is always a need to recruit and develop talented employees as well as a desire to achieve a quality and diverse workforce. These student programs can help achieve these goals.
The Internship Program allows for year-round employment and flexible work schedules for students in a variety of educational programs. Non-temporary appointments can be made, similar to the former SCEP program, to provide students valuable work experience directly related to their academic field of study or their career goals while they are attending school. Participation in the Internship Program requires a written agreement and commitment by the student and the employing Air Force organization. This agreement is referred to as the Pathways Participant Agreement. Students appointed under this authority may be non-competitively converted to a career or careerconditional appointment within 120 days of completion of their academic program. The program offers health, life, and retirement benefits; vacation and sick time; and paid holidays. Tuition assistance may be available for all or part of the training expense, in which case the student may be required to sign a written training agreement to continue employment in the Air Force for a specified period of time.
Interns can be appointed on a temporary basis not to exceed 1 year to complete temporary projects or to perform labor-intensive tasks not requiring subject matter expertise. These appointments can be extended in 1 year increments for as long as the Intern meets the definition of “student”. A temporary Internship does not offer life insurance or retirement benefits, but it does offer vacation and sick time, and paid holidays.
Summer Internship Program
The Pathways Summer Internship Program provides the flexibility to appoint students to jobs that may or may not be related to the student’s academic field. These appointments may be extended in up to 1 year increments as needed for as long as the Intern meets the definition of student. The Summer Internship program does not offer life insurance or retirement benefits, but it does offer vacation and sick time, and paid holidays.
Overseas bases may have special student employment programs with different procedures and rules.
Intern positions must be advertised through USAJobs for acceptance of applications. Interested students must apply during an open announcement period and submit all the required documentation specified in the announcement.
Managers and supervisors wishing to use the Pathways Internship Program should contact their civilian personnel section (CPS) to begin the hiring process.
Air Force Recent Graduates Program
The Recent Graduates Program is a new program that provides employment opportunities for recent graduates and individuals who obtained certificates from qualified educational institutions or programs. The Recent Graduates Program enables individuals who lack experience to explore federal civil service employment at the beginning of their careers. The program engages them at the onset of their work lives, before their career paths are fully established. The Recent Graduates Program authority is found in 5 CFR 213.3402(b). The regulations implementing the Recent Graduates Program are found in 5 CFR part 362, subparts A and C.
The Recent Graduates Program is designed to recruit individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs. The program will provide eligible recent graduates with a developmental experience in the federal government that is intended to lead to a career in the civil service. Program participants will be referred to as “Recent Graduates”.
Participation in the Recent Graduates Program requires a written agreement and commitment by the employee and the employing Air Force organization. This agreement is referred to as the Pathways Participant Agreement.
Recent Graduates positions must be advertised through USAJobs for acceptance of applications. Interested applicants must apply during an open announcement period and submit all the required documentation specified in the announcement.
Managers and supervisors wishing to use the Recent Graduates Program should contact their servicing CPS to begin the hiring process.
Air Force Presidential Management Fellows Program
The Presidential Management Fellows Program will continue under the Pathways Program. Program participants will continue to be referred to as “Presidential Management Fellows” (PMFs). This program provides employment opportunities for individuals who have received a qualifying advanced degree within the preceding 2 years
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