by Ward Mullens, Published October 14, 2010
YPSILANTI - Stagnant and murky are two of the adjectives most commonly used in articles to describe the current and future job markets.
Sunny and plentiful are the words used to describe the outlook for the federal job market for the next two years.
According to the Partnership for Public Service, the federal job market is expected to expand by 2.1 million civilian employees between now and 2012. That includes 384,000 new government jobs that will become available as current federal employees leave their jobs.
Eastern Michigan University recently joined forces with the Partnership for Public Service to host one of six "Call to Serve" training sessions for college and university career administrators. The purpose of the training, which took place Oct. 6, was to provide college administrators with information from federal recruiters about how to help students enter a growing government workforce.
"We received a wealth of information about internships, job opportunities for our graduating seniors, "Best Places to Work", salary information, job posting websites, and so much more," said Barbara J. Jones, senior corporate relations manager at Eastern Michigan University. "Since 16% of the jobs are located in Washington, D.C., students who wish to remain in the Midwest have opportunities they can pursue closer to home. The Partnership also provides us with opportunities to network with federal agency representatives, which we can now invite to campus to meet with our students."
"This year's process was extremely competitive, and attracted applications from more than 50 colleges and universities. It involved a rigorous review by both Partnership staff and federal agency representatives, as well as a phone interview," said Samantha Donaldson, program manager for PPS.
While the outlook for federal jobs is better than the overall picture, the jobs being created fall into very specific areas and the competition for the jobs is tough.
"They are predicting an 8-12 percent workload increase for the next 20 years," a social security recruiter told career administrators at the conference.
That same recruiter said he will not be able to hire anyone in his region until next spring, maybe.
On the other end of the hiring spectrum is the FBI. Although down from the previous year, the FBI is slated to hire approximately 700 new special agents and an additional 1,000 support services positions across the nation this year.
Recruiters from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration also attended the training, in an effort to help advisors understand what they are looking for in prospective employees and interns.
The Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, was founded by Samuel J. Heyman in 2001. A veteran of the Kennedy Justice Department, Heyman created the Partnership in an effort to restore prestige to government service and re-establish the federal government as an attractive employer for America's best and brightest as it was when he graduated from law school.