Undergraduate and graduate students could spend the summer working for one of two cabinet-level agencies, under a paid internship program announced Dec. 16, by the Partnership for Public Service and Schmidt Futures — a philanthropic organization that invests in promising talent and ideas.

The Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program offers a 10- to 12-week internship at either the Department of Commerce or the Department of Transportation, a $4,000 stipend and additional professional development sessions.

The program will accept 200 students for summer 2022 and another 200 for summer 2023.

“Our government needs new skills, perspectives and innovative approaches to confront our country’s challenges, but it is struggling to recruit young talent,” said Max Stier, the partnership’s chief executive, in a news release. “It is essential that we encourage a broader interest in public service careers, harness the immense potential of a new generation to serve their country and facilitate the growth and learning of these individuals.”

The federal government has recently undertaken several initiatives to increase federal internship numbers, as the federal workforce has too few young workers to fill the gaps of those about to retire. Paid internships, in particular, have become a top priority, so that access to federal experience is not limited to those that can afford to work without pay.

“We must reinvigorate our governing bodies by finding and investing in young talent committed to serving others,” said Schmidt Futures CEO Eric Braverman. “I’m excited by the promise of this new program to give the leaders of tomorrow the opportunities they need today to help solve our greatest challenges.”

Applicants must be U.S. citizens; be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at sophomore level and above or a graduate program; have at least a 3.0 GPA; and be interested in a career in mission support, STEM, public policy or liberal arts.

Most opportunities will be offered in the Washington, D.C. area, though telework flexibility will be determined by each agency, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants will be required to submit proof of vaccination at the finalist stage of the process.

Interested students for the 2022 program will have to submit applications by Jan. 14, 2022, and the consideration process will take place through February and March. The internships themselves will take place from May to early August 2022.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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