With the recent government shutdown leaving many Washington, D.C. cubicles empty, Yale students interested in government positions are frustrated and confused by the now-unclear application process toward securing these jobs.
Due to the suspension of all nonessential federal workers and services, several federal departments and agencies have canceled their on-campus outreach events in the last two weeks. Still, more than 20 students and administrators interviewed said the shutdown has not affected Yale students’ interest or ability to apply for government jobs and internships, as those interested can still apply online. Some students said the shutdown has caused inconveniences, such as depriving them of the opportunity to meet face-to-face with potential employers and drawing out an application process that is already dogged by tedious security clearance procedures.
Neither the Central Intelligence Agency nor the U.S. Treasury Department have rescheduled their canceled information sessions, which were slated for Oct. 8 and Oct. 16, respectively.
“Federal agencies have said they’re not stopping taking in applications,” said Undergraduate Career Services Director Jeanine Dames, adding that some agencies such as the CIA have emailed UCS to provide direct information as to how students can still apply for their internships online. In its weekly newsletter last week, UCS conveyed the CIA’s instructions to students, and the Oct. 11 newsletter clarifies that students can still apply for government internships, despite the shutdown.
Dames said that federal agencies consider Yale to be a steady and reliable pipeline for future public servants. These agencies have made special efforts to reach out to Yale students during this time of uncertainty, she added, citing that the CIA has requested that Yale students include Yale’s name in the subject line of their internship applications.
Pointing to a UCS study on post-undergraduate pursuits of the class of 2013, Dames added that Yale students seem to be perform well in public-sector hiring, even in times of political uncertainty.
“12.4 percent of the class of 2013 has gone into government or other public sector employment,” she said, adding that this is an impressive number, because these seniors were hired during the federal sequester last spring. Dames said that though it was a “tough year for federal employment,” the high number indicates that Yale students “do very well even in times like this.”
But despite UCS’s reassurances and outreach efforts to students in the last two weeks, only seven of 21 Yale students interviewed knew that they could still apply for government internships during the shutdown. Dillon Lew ’16 said that although he is interested in interning at the U.S. Treasury Department, he assumed that the government shutdown had led to a freeze in hiring, and he has not yet pursued an application.
Still, even students who are aware that the application processes are still open said they have encountered difficulties.
Rachel O’Connell ’15 said that although she had submitted applications to several federal employers “around the day of the shutdown,” she still has not heard back about interview requests — a delay that she partly attributed to the government shutdown.
Uriel Epshtein ’14 added that the already-long application process for government jobs could now be extended by months, making the job hunt “more stressful and uncertain.” He said that students hoping for government jobs may have to wait until spring, or even the beginning of summer, to find out whether their applications have been successful. Epshtein added that the complications caused by the government shutdown have emphasized the easier and more streamlined nature of applications to jobs in the private sector for some students.
The U.S. federal government entered the shutdown on Oct. 1.