The students really walked away with a lot of good information. The federal government is the nation’s largest employer. Even today, in this challenging economy, there continue to be entry-level federal positions available in almost every field.” Those opportunities, Williams explains, are created by the large number of baby boomers reaching retirement age and leaving the workforce.
Representatives from a variety of agencies including the General Services Administration (GSA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), US Customs & Border Protection, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) were on hand to answer students’ questions about what it’s like to work for the federal government and exactly how to go about landing that first job. The event included a panel discussion as well as an opportunity for both graduate and undergraduate students to meet one-on-one with the experts, all of whom were current or retired federal employees.
Jim Steiner, retired from the CIA, and now a public service professor with Rockefeller College, fielded questions from students interested in pursuing careers in the intelligence field. “They wanted to know what qualifications they needed, and how to prepare to be competitive, said Steiner. “I was very impressed by the caliber of students who attended.” There’s a range of reasons, Dr. Steiner suggests, “from patriotism and public service to competitive salaries and great benefits” for choosing government employment over the private sector.
Sophomore political science major Colin McPhillips attended the networking event because he wanted to hear first-hand what kind of set-backs and successes might lie ahead after he graduates and enters the job market. “I’m a political science major, with a focus in theory. Everytime I sit down in class, I ask myself, ‘How is this really going to help me?’ It is often difficult for me to see where my educational path will lead me without my having the real clear skills that are found in many other majors. But events like this, help me foster skills and ideas that will lead to a career for myself. Even if I do not go into politics or government, being armed with the knowledge of how one would go about pursuing a career in those fields is very important. Having the capacity to get a job is not only a useful tool, but a way to build confidence about one's future.”
According to Jim Steiner, the rewards can be many for those who choose public service. “I had a fantastic 35 years in the US Navy and the CIA with extensive foreign travel and life experience. I would not make a single change in my career.
The College will be offering two more opportunities for students to learn about careers with the federal government. On April 14, a representative from the Department of Homeland Security will visit both the downtown and uptown campuses, and on Wednesday evening, April 21, students are invited to take part in a networking event with representatives from a number of federal agencies. For more information, contact the Office of Career & Alumni Programs at (518) 442-5253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.