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    Five years ago, President Obama signed an Executive Order that created Pathways, a group of internship programs that serve as a clear expression of the value the Federal government places on recruiting and retaining students and recent college graduates for public service careers. These programs are also shining examples of one of my highest priorities as Director of OPM – to create a skilled federal workforce that reflects the diversity of the American people.

    On Monday, OPM hosted its first Pathways Programs Day, a comprehensive training event held at NIH for current Pathways participants.  We brought them together to discuss the future of the Federal workforce and to receive information about skills training and continuing education opportunities. These young people also heard from some remarkable public servants who credit their success, in part, to their participation in Pathways.

    Pathways includes three programs:  an internship for current students; the Recent Graduates Program for people who have graduated within the past two years, and the Presidential Management Fellows Program for people who have received an advanced graduate or professional degree in the past two years.

    One of our panelists Monday was Nigel Simon.  Nigel began his Federal service as a Pathways intern and is now a member of the Senior Executive Service. He works at the EPA. Raised in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Nigel’s 17-year Federal career began when he went to and applied for the forerunner of Pathways, the Student Career Experience Program.

    Nigel said the skills he developed in Pathways helped prepare him for his career. He has worked for a variety of offices at the EPA, including in the New York City region, which covers his home in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. When Nigel spoke with Pathways participants on Monday, he urged them to follow one of his early mentor’s advice: Soak up as much as you can from each experience you have.

    Today Nigel pays forward that early mentoring he got by serving as a mentor himself, to students and young hires just entering public service. “I do one shadow assignment every six months,” Nigel said.

    Channing Martin, a native of Washington, D.C., started her Federal career as an intern at OPM. She used Pathways to rise to the next level, securing an apprenticeship working with our SES team, the CHCO and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  “I had a rotation set up and got a lot of experience that way,” she said.

    After she received her graduate degree, Channing became a Presidential Management Fellow. Today, she still works at OPM, helping to recruit and award applicants to that Pathways program. She specializes in recruiting from the STEM disciplines -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

    I think I will give Channing the last word about Pathways for those just starting their careers in public service or preparing to go to the next level.

    “From my grad school, the Big Five consulting firms are coveted,’’ Channing said. “I want the Federal government to be regarded that way.”

    So do I Channing. Showcasing our successful and talented public servants like Nigel and Channing will help us get the word out about our remarkable employees and the terrific Pathways programs that provide an entry to the satisfying work of public service.

    Director Archuleta speaking on a stage to a room of pathways program participants

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