January 4, 2011

Executive Order Ends Federal Intern Program
NTEU’s unrelenting efforts aimed at ending widespread agency misuse of the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) were key factors leading to the Obama administration's decision last week to abolish the program via executive order.


NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley called the move an important step toward protecting the longstanding merit-based government hiring system. NTEU was the only federal union contesting the FCIP in court, where it argued that Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations implementing the program were illegal. President Kelley pointed out that it wasn’t until the court rejected the government’s attempt to have the NTEU suit dismissed on procedural grounds that the administration began to seriously consider the lawfulness of the FCIP.

“This executive order shows that the White House has recognized that agency misuse of the FCIP undercuts a basic pillar of the civil service—fair and open competition for positions,” Kelley said.

At the same time, the NTEU leader advised caution over a replacement program advanced by the administration. This program would provide a gateway to potential employment with the federal government for persons who graduated from college within the previous two years. Under certain conditions, veterans would have an extended period of eligibility. NTEU will file comments with OPM on the new system.

Outside of limited internships, NTEU supports competitive hiring throughout the civil service. More