How Will The Federal Hiring Freeze Affect SPA Students?

Photo of Trump signing orderOn Jan. 23, 2017, President Trump issued a memorandum that enacted a hiring freeze for all executive branch agencies. Key elements of the freeze include:

  • No vacant positions may be filled and no new positions may be created.
  • Contracting outside of the Government shall not be permitted to circumvent the intent of this memorandum.
  • The hiring freeze applies to all executive departments and agencies regardless of the sources of their operational and programmatic funding, except military personnel.
  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), will recommend a long-term plan within 90 days to reduce the size of the Federal workforce through attrition.
  • This order shall expire upon implementation of the OMB plan.

For students who were planning to apply for internships or jobs with the federal government, the best advice is: Don’t let this stop you. You should still go ahead and apply.

Several agencies have issued recommendations to students and others interested in applying:

  • The Congressional Budget Office advises students to keep applying for summer internships (note: Feb. 27 deadline) because Executive orders do not apply to the CBO.
  • The Government Accountability Office is looking at the situation but remains committed to hiring interns and new staff; they are working to determine the numbers. They are planning to go ahead with interviews but will wait to make offers.
  • The State Department is included in the freeze, but they are working out the fine points and the freeze will probably not impact interns.

While students interested in employment with the federal government should continue to apply, they should also make alternative plans in the short-term.

In the meantime, remember that previous administrations have implemented federal employee hiring freezes that eventually were lifted.  The federal government will always need talented applicants.

Categories: Students

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