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News Release

Monday, April 19, 2004
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James tells Harvard University Students to Consider a Rewarding Career in Public Service

Harvard Students Gain Valuable Exposure to the World of Politics and Public Service in the Nation’s Capital with First Stop at OPM

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James challenged juniors and seniors from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics to consider the noble call of public service. The students are visiting the nation’s capital as part of a week-long intensive seminar in non-partisan politics and public service. In addition to their first meeting at OPM with Director James, the students will spend time on Capitol Hill in extensive meetings with Senators, meet with Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and a panel of top journalists covering politics in Washington D.C.

Director James discussed why the American civil service is the envy of the world and why the Federal government is becoming the employer of choice for the younger generation.

“You are a generation looking for challenging work that enables you to make a difference in the world, and the opportunities to honor your responsibility to serve your country continue to grow,” James said. “There are few greater opportunities to make such an impact than the one found in serving man and your country through the noble call of public service.”

As a memento of their visit to OPM and Washington D.C., each student received a copy of OPM’s recently updated Biography of an Ideal, which chronicles the establishment of the American civil service system.

The students were also given information and publications on the OPM USAJOBS website,, the one-stop location where over 17,000 jobs in the Federal government are currently available. Additionally, e-Scholar, the main portal where students can find hundreds of Federally-funded educational scholarships, internships, grants, and cooperative programs was highlighted. The e-scholar website,, currently has a total value of over $1 billion in educational programs available.

"There are no limits to the kind of work you can do in public service and your skills are desperately needed now and in the coming years,” James remarked. "Every possible career available in the private sector is represented in the civil service with equal opportunities for training and advancement."

James reminded students that a season in public service will benefit their community, nation and ultimately the world. "Each an every day, men and women make great sacrifices to serve their country, but the rewards of such service is invaluable. Your education is a valuable asset to you and your country; consider investing some season of your life and career to answer the call to public service."

The OPM lecture was part of a week-long hands-on study project sponsored by the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The Institute offers a wide-range of programs for students which provide opportunities for interaction with the men and women who shape politics and public policy while encouraging student political involvement. Today's session at OPM focused on the great legacy of public service and employment opportunities in the Federal government.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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