Intergovernmental Personnel Act Hiring and Placement


IPA Guidebook Hiring Flowchart


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Intergovernmental Personnel Act Hiring and Placement

The Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970, or the IPA, allows federal agencies to temporarily employ individuals from academia, nonprofit organizations, and state and local government for up to two years without going through the traditional federal hiring process. IPAs are typically hired to bring technical or subject matter expertise to federal projects or to lend their professional experience to urgent policy priorities.

The information below will focus on IPA agreements that place candidates from a nonfederal institution in a federal agency. More information on “reverse IPAs” (placing candidates from federal agencies in nonfederal institutions) is located in the Partnership’s IPA Guidebook.

From 2021-2023, the Partnership ran the IPA Talent Exchange Program, which centered on this hiring authority. While this program has ended, individuals and agencies are still able to arrange IPA opportunities without the Partnership’s assistance.

Federal Agencies

Individual federal agencies are responsible for managing their own IPA recruitment and hiring process.

Federal agencies are responsible for the following actions:

  • Recruiting IPA candidates.
  • Obtaining approval for the temporary placement of an IPA for up to two years.
    • No billet is required for IPA roles.
  • Creating a clearly defined IPA job description, including:
    • Specific job responsibilities and duties.
    • Term length.
    • Type of work environment (i.e., in person, hybrid or fully remote).
    • GS level.
    • Security clearance level, if applicable.
    • A tentative start date.
  • Determining the amount of funding your agency can provide for the participant’s salary and benefits.
    • Agencies can provide full, partial or no funding for their IPA placement.
  • Initiating and guiding the IPA hiring process to completion.
  • Onboarding their IPA, including the securing of technology and providing required training.

Full details on the IPA hiring process can be found in the Partnership’s IPA Guidebook.

Please note, the Office of Personnel Management oversees the IPA hiring authority and the regulations around it. Additional information about IPA regulations can be found on OPM’s website.


The Intergovernmental Personnel Act was created to bring experienced professionals working in academia, nonprofit organizations, and state and local government into federal agencies. IPA assignments are an opportunity for candidates to:

  • Gain experience in public service without leaving their current field or maneuvering a long-term career change.
  • Make a long-standing impact on the nation in their field of work.
  • Expand their professional network and develop career skills in a new context.

Federal agencies are responsible for identifying their desired candidates, contacting them about the IPA opportunity directly and managing the hiring process. The processing time for IPA paperwork depends on each agency. On average, IPA hiring (from paperwork initiation to start date) can take three to six months, but also up to one year. Length of processing time is also dependent on the agency.

Eligible professionals must:

  • Be a full-time or career employee in:
    • State, local or tribal government.
    • A nonprofit organization.
    • Academia.
    • A federally-funded research and development institution.
    • A research institute or think tank.
    • A scientific society.
    • A hospital.
  • Have worked in their current role for at least 90 days.
  • Be able to work full time or part time at a federal agency for a term of up to two years, while maintaining their employment status with their home institution.
  • Be able to return to their home institution at the conclusion of the IPA term.

*Note: While not required, many IPAs have a graduate or doctoral degree.