Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program

Our nation’s current and future challenges—from health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, continued economic inequality, and the ongoing need to build a more equitable and just society—make it imperative that government identify, recruit and retain the next generation of public servants.  

With just under 7% of the full-time federal workforce under the age of 30, executive branch agencies are working to meet this need, prioritizing the design and implementation of paid internship programs that provide students with valuable work experience, an expanded professional network, and a better understanding of both the importance and impact of public service. These programs help college and graduate students—often facing an uncertain job market—apply their educational training to both short- and long-term federal opportunities and make a difference in society.  

Operated by the Partnership for Public Service, the Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program is recruiting young talent to join the federal workforce in support of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Commerce. The program places students with critically needed skills into paid internships and aims to develop a diverse pool of young  talent for these agencies.  


If you have questions or would like additional information about the Future Leaders in Public Service program, contact [email protected].

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Selected participants in the program will receive:

  • A 10-12 week summer internship with a federal agency.
  • $4,000 per student to cover stipend and other expenses.
  • Professional development sessions, including an orientation and networking events throughout the summer.


In order to apply to the program, candidates must be:

  • U.S. citizens at the time of application submission.  
  • Currently enrolled at an accredited educational institution in an undergraduate or graduate program. Undergraduates must be current second-year students/sophomores and above.  Winter 2021 and Spring 2022 graduates may also apply.
  • GPA of at least 2.5.
  • Interested in at least one of the following career tracks:
    • Mission support. Ideal for students with backgrounds in finance, human resources and information technology.
    • Government contracting and acquisitions. Ideal for students focusing on federal contracting and acquisitions, or pursuing a business degree in subjects like finance.
    • STEM and innovation.  Ideal for students majoring in the fields of science and health, technology, engineering, math, or interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.
    • Public policy and administration. Ideal for students interested in public policy and administration.
    • Liberal arts. Ideal for students studying communications, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Summer 2022 Timeline

  • October 18, 2021: Applications for the summer 2022 cohort open.
  • January 31, 2022: All completed applications must be submitted.
  • February 15-March 15, 2022: Virtual interviews conducted.
  • March 27-31, 2022: Selected fellows will be notified of placement.
  • May 2022: Internship begins.
  • Early August 2022: Internship ends.

Participating Agencies

Operating Partner

Enabling Partner


Who is eligible for the Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program?

U.S. citizens currently enrolled at an accredited educational institution in an undergraduate (current 2nd years/sophomores and above) or graduate program with a 2.5 GPA or above are eligible to apply. Students must be current second-year students/sophomores and above. Winter 2021 and Spring 2022 graduates may also apply

How do I submit my reference letter?

Optional reference letters may be uploaded directly through the application portal or emailed to [email protected] with the applicant’s name referenced in the subject line.

How much is the stipend?

The stipend is $4,000 and is typically considered taxable income.

Are all internship opportunities based in the Washington, D.C., area?

Most internship opportunities will be based in the Washington, D.C., area, with some telework flexibility as determined by the agency.

Can my internship be virtual?

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many agencies are operating with maximum telework flexibilities until further notice. Agencies will inform interns if they are required to work in person or virtually.

Are COVID-19 vaccinations required for this internship?

In accordance with the vaccination requirement of Executive Order 14043, interns are required to submit documentation establishing that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to starting their Federal service, despite not being federal employees or entering a federal building on a regular basis. The Partnership will require this documentation at the finalist stage of the process that will be determined between late January and early February.

Who are the participating agencies?

The participating agencies for the Futures Leaders in Public Service Internship Program are the Department of Transportation and the Department of Commerce.

Can I choose my agency placement?

Applicants can select up to two preferred career tracks. Agencies will rank the intern candidates that are the best fit for their positions. If a candidate receives offers from multiple agencies, the candidate may select the opportunity that is the best fit for them.

How is this program funded?

This program is supported by Schmidt Futures.

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