The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is finalizing a rule that would allow Federal agencies to hire college students more easily into the Federal workforce, according to a rule being finalized August 17.

Under the new rule, agencies can hire students working towards a baccalaureate or graduate degree to a time-limited position. Once they graduate or meet the requirements of a higher position, they will then be eligible for a permanent position or a promotion.

“This statute provides Federal agencies with authority to hire interns under a new scheme designed to facilitate an effective pipeline of new prospects for potential permanent appointment to help sustain the Federal workforce,” the rule says. “The purpose of the authority is to provide a useful tool as part of an overall strategy to implement strategic workforce and recruitment plans.”

OPM is giving agencies the authority to hire post-secondary students either on a temporary basis not to exceed a year or a term appointment that lasts between one to four years. The agencies can hire students at Schedule 11 designations or below.

The rule is expected to affect more than 80 agencies and take around 250 hours of work to update their policies and procedures for compliance. Government-wide, OPM expects the work to comply with the rule to cost $2,661,600 but does not expect it to substantially increase administrative costs.

The rule change, authorized by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, is expected to benefit agencies by allowing more hiring flexibility for agencies.

“This flexibility is critical to agencies’ ability to continue to meet current and future mission needs,” the rule says. “Intern programs allow agencies to hire students, while in school, and provide them with on-the-job training to prepare them for a career in the Federal government.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.