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Oct. 27, 2014

Careers in government on the rise

By Melanie Morris

Students at career fairThe Student Center Ballroom was packed with handshakes, smiling faces and professional attire Wednesday, Oct. 22 for the Seventh Annual Government Career Fair. There were many human resource representatives from 63 local, state and federal government agencies, positioned behind tables displaying information about their organization.

Some of the major government employers, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Glenn Research Center, were also present.

“It’s a chance to meet representatives from agencies, talk about what it is they do and where the opportunities are,” Linda Pfaff said, career services coordinator. Students could be seen talking with the representatives of government agencies about their career prospects in a government job.

“I wanted to see what’s out there and get a feel for the public sector,” Chase Streetman, senior Political Science major, said.

Most students who want to work for the government are a part of the STEM program — students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math. However, the government holds a multitude of opportunities for all students.

“The government hires all majors,” Pfaff said. “Many times I meet students who do not think to look at government jobs or are afraid of the hiring process.”

NASA Glenn Research representative Jasmine Coad also mentioned the fact that their organization looks for all different types of degrees. She said the government offers a lot of flexibility, and it’s easy to move from one agency to another.

“The government is a great opportunity and it’s a career where you’re contributing to the public,” she said.

The demand for government jobs is on the rise and will continue to increase. According to a report from non-profit organization Partnership for Public Service, the federal government is projected to hire nearly 193,000 employees over the next two years. USAJOBS.gov ranks medical, dental and public health jobs as the most in demand at the federal level.

The supply of graduates to meet this demand is falling short. The amount of STEM graduates specifically is not meeting the need to fill these government positions. Under President Barack Obama’s leadership, new programs have become available to help students find a career in the government —hopefully increasing the amount of students interested in the area.

The Pathway Programs were designed for students from the high school level to the graduate school level to link them to career opportunities. There are two subsets: an internship program, which provides experience in the federal government for current students, and a recent graduates program, which helps those who have just completed their degree find a career.

A representative from Washington’s Office of Personnel Management attended the fair to talk about the program.

“They’re really trying to get new graduates involved and they’re really out there advertising it,” Pfaff said.

She encourages students to think about a government career because the federal government is the biggest employer in the country and is usually very stable. She said that there are also many good benefits and it’s easy to move up.

“I’ve been in the Marine Corps for six years so I want to stay with the government,” said Kurt Mandzukic, junior Mechanical Engineering major. “There’s good security with the government when it comes to finance.”

Pfaff also stressed that there is such a huge variety of government careers. From homeland security, to state highway patrol, to Medicaid workers, there’s a large selection of companies that have government career opportunities available. Even if there are not any openings in Cleveland, Pfaff said that there might be an opening in Pittsburgh or Denver — there are federal government jobs available all over the country.