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Center for Leadership Development Presidential Talent Program



Throughout multiple Administrations, the White House has been a strong sponsor and advocate of recruiting and developing exceptional talent to work in federal agencies on a wide variety of missions that significantly impact our nation and the rest of the world. Since 1964, the White House has recognized the need to create and foster talent programs to encourage the brightest minds and experienced change-agents to work with colleagues within agencies to drive results.

As the demand and complexity of agency missions have increased, so too has the need for more types of experience and knowledge across multiple industry sectors. In response, many agencies added time-limited “tour of duty” term appointments to bring in exceptional talent to work on specific, high-impact projects for shorter periods of time, which has enhanced government’s ability to recruit top talent across industry sectors into Federal service.

Many White House talent programs have been created to help fuel the talent pipeline for current and future leaders, especially the best and brightest from technology and other industry sectors. 

Below is a brief summary of each of the Presidential Talent Programs, including the type of talent they recruit and whom to contact to learn more.

Presidential Management Fellows Program

Since 1977, the Presidential Management Fellow Program (PMF) has matched outstanding graduate students with exciting federal opportunities. It is a leadership training ground where attendees can jump-start their careers through challenging assignments, training, and mentoring.

Fellowships are full-time paid positions with benefits and last two years. Apply to PMF.

Learn more at the PMF website.

  • Federal Government’s flagship leadership development program for individuals with advanced degrees (masters, JD, PhD, etc.) across a wide variety of academic backgrounds, industry sectors, including diverse disciplines in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). 
  • Designed to recruit current graduate scholars and those shortly out of graduate school (within two years of graduating.
  • Two-year program where Fellows work full-time at agencies, along with completing 160 hours of training requirements in addition to experiencing at least one rotational opportunity for 4-6 months (can be inside or outside the agency). At the end of the two years, agencies have the ability to non-competitively convert Fellows into career employees (not required).
  • Depending on the degree and the positions, Fellows are paid between the GS-9 and GS-12 levels, with the capability to receive grade increases during the fellowship.
  • Fellows are recruited once a year; there are typically 400-600 finalists each year who have 12 months to find a PMF placement at a federal agency. OPM runs the selection process, and then works with agencies to hire finalists into PMF positions.
  • Fellows are hired into agencies using Pathways Schedule D authority for the PMF program. Each agency who utilizes Pathways has an MOU with OPM. Additionally, agencies usually have a PMF coordinator to help find candidates for positions, assist with providing information about the PMF program, and explain requirements to Fellows and their managers.
  • To find out more and learn how to hire a PMF, please contact
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