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State Department opens fellowship program for tech students

The U.S. Department of State wants a more diverse talent pool to fill the IT positions in its foreign service and plans to get them through the Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship Program, which just opened for applications, the agency announced Nov. 12.

The program is designed for undergraduates entering their Junior year or graduates just entering their program, and those selected to participate will receive up to $37,500 annually for tuition, room and board, books, mandatory fees and some travel expenses in addition to two internships in Washington, D.C., and a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

If participants successfully complete the program, they receive an appointment in the foreign service as an information management specialist for a minimum of five years.

“The FAIT Fellowship is part of the Department of State’s continued efforts to diversify the ranks of information management specialists serving in the U.S. foreign service with traditionally underrepresented populations reflecting ethnic, racial, gender, social and geographic diversity, and those with financial need,” the agency news release said.

Federal agencies have consistently struggled to attract necessary IT talent, particularly from younger generations, and scholarship-for-service programs have been touted as an effective means of attracting young employees and ensuring that they remain in federal service for a set period of time.

The program will select up to 15 U.S. citizens that are enrolled in an IT-related undergraduate or master’s degree program, have at least a 3.2 GPA and can pass medical, suitability and clearance requirements for the agency.

Applicants have until Feb. 14, 2020, to submit their information to the program.

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