Presidential Management Fellows Program
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The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program is a prestigious two year paid government fellowship sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for recent graduate students who seek a two year fellowship in a United States government agency. Selection previously began with the nomination of the student by the school followed by an assessment process. As of the Class of 2013, applicants no longer require nomination by their school. Applicants undergo a multistage assessment and testing process. Agencies that hire PMFs include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Library of Congress, NASA and the United States Agency for International Development. Following the conclusion of the two year fellowship, PMFs have the opportunity to convert their fellowship into a full-time permanent position.
The PMF Program was established by Executive Order in 1977, and amended by Executive Order in 2003 to attract to the Federal service outstanding citizen-scholars from a variety of academic disciplines and career paths who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, excellence in the leadership and management of public policies and programs. Program regulations were amended again in December 2010 by Executive Order establishing the PMF program as one of the three student Pathways to federal employment. By drawing graduate students from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, the PMF Program provides a continuing source of trained men and women to meet the future challenges of public service. The PMF program was formerly referred to as the Presidential Management Internship (PMI) program.
There are two situations where graduate students may be eligible to apply to the PMF program. Graduate students from all academic disciplines who expect to complete an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university by August 31 of the academic year in which the competition is held are eligible to become Fellows. Alternatively, those who have completed an advanced degree (masters or professional) from a qualifying college or university during the previous 2 years from the opening date of the PMF Program's application announcement are eligible. Individuals who previously applied for the program, but were not selected as a Finalist, may reapply if they meet eligibility requirements.
The multi-step application process is highly selective and requires a series of resume submissions, an online assessment examination, and an in-person assessment. Potential fellows should demonstrate breadth and quality of accomplishments, capacity for leadership, exceptional oral and written communication skills and a commitment to excellence in the leadership and management of public policies and programs. The initial application occurs in the Fall; OPM announces finalists names in early Spring the following year. Those who are nominated as finalists are eligible for appointment as a PMF by an agency for up to one year. Current Finalists may reapply to the program before their one year of appointment eligibility ends, however, they will forfeit their status as a current Finalist upon accessing the on-line assessment.
For the recently announced Class of 2013, there were 663 finalists (individuals selected to be eligible for appointment as fellows) who were selected from over 12120 nominees. http://www.pmf.gov/media/47080/2013_official_list_of_finalists_for_website_04-10-2013.pdf
Fellows are hired at the civil service ranks of GS-09, GS-11, or GS-12 (or equivalent pay band, depending on agency) levels with Excepted Service appointment status at the beginning of their two-year fellowship. Following satisfactory completion of each year of the fellowship, Fellows are eligible for promotion to the next GS level (or equivalent pay band, depending on agency) but cannot be promoted higher than GS-13 during the fellowship. After successful completion of the two-year fellowship, the agency may non-competitively appoint the Fellow to a full-time, permanent position, granting the Fellow career or career-conditional status.
OPM previously sponsored a three-day PMF orientation program within the first year of the fellowship and a two-day PMF graduation program at the conclusion of the fellowship. Orientation now occurs online via webinar.
Training has always been considered a fundamental part of the PMF Program. Hiring agencies are responsible for ensuring that Fellows receive at least 80 hours of formal classroom training each year of the fellowship. For each Fellow, the appointing agency will provide a minimum of 80 hours per year of interactive training that addresses the core competencies required of the occupation or functional discipline in which the Fellow will most likely be placed upon completion of the Program and conversion to a full-time, permanent position.
Each Fellow should create an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP is an important part of the 2-year fellowship. The IDP process helps to make the fellowship a positive experience for both the agency and the Fellow. Each PMF is required to develop an IDP with assistance from a supervisor. The IDP must contain specific descriptions of assignments and learning objectives, and incorporate other elements of the program such as rotations, career development group participation, and training events. An IDP should be considered a vital and flexible planning document to be reviewed periodically and revised as appropriate.
Hiring agencies are also to provide Fellows with at least one developmental assignment of 4 to 6 months in duration in the occupation or functional discipline in which the Fellow will most likely be placed, with full-time management and/or technical responsibilities consistent with the Individual Development Plan.
New for the Class of 2013, all PMFs are to be assigned a formal mentor to help guide the fellow during his or her two years in the program. The mentor is a senior leader within the employing agency and ideally is someone from outside of the fellow's chain of command. Mentors assist the fellow with completing the IDP, identifying valuable developmental assignment(s), provide career advice, be a confidential sounding board, and act as advocate for the fellow, as needed.
As employees of the Federal government, PMFs earn annual leave and sick leave, and are entitled to paid Federal holidays. PMFs are covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Upon appointment, PMFs may elect life insurance, health insurance, and Thrift Savings Plan options.
Federal agencies are authorized to repay student loans under the Federal Student Loan Repayment Program, as provided for in part 537 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations. The amount paid by the agency is subject to the following "pre-tax" maximum limits: (1) $10,000 per employee per calendar year, and (2) a total of $60,000 per employee. Presidential Management Fellows are eligible to receive student loan repayments, but these programs are agency-specific.
The non-profit Presidential Management Alumni Group (PMAG) was organized in 1981 to advance the professionalism of public service and augment the education and career development of those who have served in or assisted the PMF Program. PMAG is not sponsored by OPM. The membership comprises former and current Fellows, and other individuals interested in recruitment and development of Federal Government career managers. PMAG sponsors professional and social activities, maintains a network among the over 3,500 former Fellows, and provides support to maintain the PMF Program as the Federal Government’s premier mechanism for recruiting future managers.