After extensive discussions with many in government who are trying to hire recent graduates and use interns, and with very helpful feedback from the Office of Personnel Management, we have compiled these “myth busters” to reduce confusion and correct the most common misconceptions about the government-wide Pathways Programs regulations and implementation guidance issued in 2012.
Individual agencies may have complementary policies for the Internship and Recent Graduates Programs. If you have any questions about these initiatives, please contact your Pathways Programs Officer.
We thank OPM for reviewing and providing input into this resource.
Agencies can decide how they will recruit and accept applications for positions, provided that they comply with applicable law and the regulatory procedures outlined in 5 CFR, Part 302. Agencies can:
Agencies do not need to post job opportunity announcements (JOAs) for every job and internship that they are hiring for on USAJOBS. One JOA or notice can be used to advertise all of the Internship or Recent Graduates Programs opportunities that an agency is hiring for at a given time, so long as it includes information about the position titles, series and grade, geographic locations, and how to apply or express interest in them.Supporting Language
Agencies can accept applications for Recent Graduates positions from these students, provided that they are scheduled to complete their degrees prior to the start dates for the jobs being advertised.Supporting Language
Agencies can use OPM qualification standards or develop and use their own to fill Internship positions, provided that these selective factors are outlined in their MOUs. The OPM qualification standards are intended to serve as minimum requirements for Internship positions, and agencies can and should add other criteria to help them attract well-qualified candidates and winnow down their applicant pools.Supporting Language
Agencies must only apply veterans’ preference once during the process when hiring students and recent graduates into the Internship and Recent Graduates Programs. They do not need to apply it again before noncompetitively converting them to full-time positions. Agencies should refer to their internal excepted service policies when determining how to apply preference during rating and ranking, in accordance with 5 CFR, Part 302 procedures.Supporting Language
Students are able to carry over the hours accumulated towards their overall program requirements when they have breaks in service, work remotely or switch office locations or agencies.Supporting Language
Agencies may grant credit for up to half of the 640-hour minimum service requirement, or 320 hours, to students who participated in certain volunteer or third-party internship programs once they apply and are accepted into the Internship Program.Supporting Language
Agencies can noncompetitively convert any participant in the Internship Program who meets all Program requirements, even if that individual has never worked for their agency in the past. Participants in the Recent Graduates Program do not have the same conversion eligibility. These individuals must be converted within the agency to which they were initially appointed.Supporting Language