White House interns to be paid as US federal government seeks to boost recruitment of future leaders

By on 06/06/2022 | Updated on 06/06/2022
The White House in Washington DC
Interns at the White House will be paid as part of Biden's management agenda, which seeks to increase young talent within the federal government. Photo: Pixabay

Interns at the White House will be paid starting in autumn this year, the Biden administration has announced.

The decision comes after heads of US agencies eager to draw young talent to the federal government pushed for stronger incentives for college students and new graduates to enrol in the 14-week programme.

The White House said paid internships would make federal employment accessible to a more diverse range of young applicant.

“Unpaid federal internships have been a barrier to hardworking and talented students and professionals, preventing them from contributing their talents and skills to the country and holding them back from federal career advancement opportunities,” it said in a statement on 2 June.

“Paying White House interns will help remove barriers to equal opportunity for low-income students and first-generation professionals at the beginnings of their careers.”

The White House said the plan would also ensure that the yearly intake of interns “reflect[s] the diversity of America”, and that this would benefit leadership across the whole of the federal government.

Read more: Biden to propose the highest pay rise for US feds in 20 years, at 4.6%

The plan to pay interns will officially take effect from 12 September this year. Recent graduates who begin internships at the White House and the Executive Office of the President will be paid weekly stipends of US$750, or around US$18.75 per hour based on a 40 hour week. This is more than the current US$15 minimum wage implemented by president Joe Biden.

Payday awaits

Successful applicants for the White House’s internship programme need to be at least 18 years old. Key qualifications include college student status or graduation status, or alternatively service in the armed forces of up to two years.

In April this year, the Biden administration updated its management agenda to factor in metrics geared towards boosting agencies’ performance. This included increasing the number of paid internships and converting a higher number of interns into full-time employees.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that the government had hired several “strategy leads” to deliver the priorities of the agenda, while the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) outlined regulations aimed at making it easier to hire interns and college students for temporary jobs with a view to taking them on permanently.

In a memo to all agency and department heads last month, OPM set out further details of recruitment reforms that will introduce a new skills-based hiring system to the federal government.

The federal government is set to receive applications for this year’s internship programme from today until 24 June. Chosen applicants will be notified by 8 August.

Read more: US government publishes metrics for workforce reforms – and names officials responsible for them

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About Jack Aldane

Jack is a British journalist, cartoonist and podcaster. He graduated from Heythrop College London in 2009 with a BA in philosophy, before living and working in China for three years as a freelance reporter. After training in financial journalism at City University from 2013 to 2014, Jack worked at Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters before moving into editing magazines on global trade and development finance. Shortly after editing opinion writing for UnHerd, he joined the independent think tank ResPublica, where he led a media campaign to change the health and safety requirements around asbestos in UK public buildings. As host and producer of The Booking Club podcast – a conversation series featuring prominent authors and commentators at their favourite restaurants – Jack continues to engage today’s most distinguished thinkers on the biggest problems pertaining to ideology and power in the 21st century. He joined Global Government Forum as its Senior Staff Writer and Community Co-ordinator in 2021.

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