Sample Government Departments and Agencies
Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters
1111 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20526
The Peace Corps was established by Executive Order by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and authorized by Congress with the passage of the Peace Corps Act to promote world peace and friendship. The Peace Corps employs approximately 8,000 volunteers in developing countries in project areas such as agriculture, education, business development, health care (HIV/AIDS awareness), and information technology. Until recently, every assignment was a twenty-seven-month commitment, including accrued vacation. In 2010, however, short-term assignments became available. These Peace Corps Response assignments place individuals who either have ten years of work experience or have previously completed a full Peace Corp assignment on three-to twelve-month postings. The Peace Corps attempts to match country placement with volunteer requests, but placement in the country of choice is not guaranteed. Most assignments require a bachelor's degree and additional experience; knowledge of a foreign language is not required, and language training is provided. The minimum age for becoming a Peace Corps volunteer is eighteen—there is no maximum age. All expenses are paid during service, including complete medical and dental care and a variety of other benefits.
The Peace Corps offers a number of services for returned volunteers, including Hotline, a free, semimonthly, electronic bulletin of employment and educational opportunities. The organization also provides a variety of career resources, including job-hunting tips and techniques, a guide to graduate school programs that give special consideration to returned Peace Corps volunteers, and a list of job links highlighting government agencies that seem most appealing to and most interested in hiring returned Peace Corps volunteers.
See the profile of Karl Dedolph for more information. Karl served as a Peace Corp volunteer in Togo from 2001 to 2003.
US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20523
USAID is an independent federal government agency that advances US foreign policy objectives by supporting and implementing economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, democracy, conflict prevention, and humanitarian assistance. The organization receives its overall foreign policy guidance from the US secretary of state. For young professionals, USAID offers a Junior Officer program that gives entry-level candidates the opportunity to become tenured employees. The USAID website careers page lists position vacancies in several different areas, including the civil and foreign services, and describes opportunities in USAID's various fellowship and internship programs.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
The Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture works to improve foreign market access for US products, build new markets, improve the competitive position of US agriculture in the global marketplace, and provide food aid and technical assistance to foreign countries. FAS has the primary responsibility for USDA's international activities—market development, trade agreements and negotiations, and the collection and analysis of related statistics and market information. With approximately ninety-eight offices in 162 countries, the organization describes itself as a relatively small agency by US government standards. The FAS website provides various career services, including international development-related position openings in FAS, in the USDA as a whole, and in various international organizations concerned with agricultural trade.
US Department of Defense
International Military Exchange Training (IMET)
Defense Security Cooperation Agency 2800 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301 Telephone: 703-601-1646
The International Military Exchange Training Program began shortly after World War II with the goals of developing defense cooperation between participating nations and the United States and spreading American core values, such as civilian authority over the military. Every year, the program accepts approximately 7,000 students from more than 130 countries to study at American military education institutions. In these exchanges, students are exposed to both technical training and civilian education.
National Defense University (NDU) 300 5th Avenue, Building 62 Fort McNair Washington, DC 20319 Telephone: 202-685-4700 Website: ndu.edu Twitter: @NDU_EDU
The National Defense University works to educate the military and civilian leaders of tomorrow. NDU is comprised of four colleges: the National War College, with a focus on international security strategy; the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, emphasizing the management of resources; the Joint Forces Staff College, providing education on joint, multinational, or international initiatives; and the Information Resources Management College, with a focus on the information aspect of power.
National Security Education Program (NSEP) PO Box 20010 Arlington, VA 22209
This federal initiative, established in 1991, provides undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to gain critical area and language education, most notably through the Boren Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships and the National Language Service Corps (NLSC). Students who participate in these programs must work in public service for one year within three years of the completion of their education. This program has supported more than 2,000 NSEP award recipients who have served the US government.
US Department of Education
International Affairs Office (IAO)
400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Room 6W108
Washington, DC 20202
Telephone: 202-401-0430 Website: ed.gov/international
The International Affairs Office, located in the Office of the Secretary of Education, coordinates all international activities and acts as liaison to international organizations, ministries of education abroad, and the diplomatic community in the United States. The IAO focuses its efforts on three areas: "(1) improving education systems through international benchmarking and comparative research; (2) conducting education diplomacy; and (3) promoting foreign language and cultural studies." The IAO website offers information on partnerships with interagency, bilateral, and multilateral corporations, as well as a schedule of events.
US Department of Labor
Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room C-4325 Washington, DC 20210
Telephone: 202-693-4770 Website: dol.gov/ilab Twitter: @USDOL
ILAB is responsible for all internationally focused activities conducted by the US Department of Labor. It is a center for federal research and policy regarding global issues in trade, immigration, economic interdependence, human trafficking, and child labor. The mission of ILAB is "to create a more stable, secure, and prosperous international economic system in which all workers can achieve greater economic security, share in the benefits of increased international trade, and have safer and healthier workplaces where the basic rights of workers and children are respected and protected." The Bureau's international efforts are accomplished through liaisons, short-term travel, and grants to foreign organizations. The ILAB website contains links to employment information and opportunities throughout the Department of Labor, including the Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human
Trafficking (OCFT); the Office of International Relations (OIR); and the Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA), all of which are subdivisions of ILAB.
US Department of State
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)
2201 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20521
Telephone: 202-632-2805 (Academic inquiries) and 202-632-2805 (Private sector)
Website: exchanges.state.gov Twitter: @ECAatState
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs works to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. It sponsors such exchange programs as the flagship International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and the Fulbright Program, newer programs such as Sports Diplomacy and the National Security Language Initiative, and other exchange programs for students of various ages, as well as scholars, diplomats, and other professionals. Career opportunities in ECA can be accessed on the Department of State's main career page, careers.state.gov. The US Department of State also sponsors a number of internships, fellowships, and other programs. These opportunities provide highly qualified college or university juniors, seniors, and graduate students with the chance to gain firsthand knowledge of US foreign affairs. Available programs include the Fascell Fellowship Program, Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program (see the profiles of Sarah and Amit Mathur and Karl Dedolph for more information—all three were PMF fellows), Stay-in-School, Student Internships, and the Summer Clerical Program.
Office of Language Services 2401 E Street, NW Washington, DC 20241
This division of the Department of State maintains a roster of approximately 1,000 interpreters and English Language Officers, assigning them to accompany visiting international and American leaders on a freelance contractor basis for periods of up to a month. The office also provides interpreting services to many other government entities.
2201 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20521 Website: careers.state.gov Twitter: @doscareers
Foreign Service Officers help formulate and implement the foreign policy of the United States by serving as the frontline personnel at all US embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions—in 294 locations worldwide, including Washington, DC. Foreign Service Officers follow one of five career tracks: management, consular, political, economic, or public diplomacy. The Foreign Service also employs specialists in fields such as medicine, office and information management, and human resources.
To become a Foreign Service Officer, individuals must take the computerized Foreign Service Officer test, which includes questions on topics ranging from US government, society, and culture to world history and geography, to mathematics and English grammar. This exam is accessible several times per year in locations around the world. Those who receive a passing grade on the written test are asked to send in materials for the Qualifications Evaluation Panel. Success here will bring candidates to the final stage: the Foreign Service oral exam. Only after passing these tests is a candidate eligible to become a Foreign Service Officer. The number of yearly new appointments is based on position availability, funding, and the hiring needs of the Department of State.
See the profiles of Ambassador Kenton Keith and Sarah and Amit Mathur for more information. Ambassador Keith served in the Foreign Service for more than thirty years. Sarah and Amit have just begun their Foreign Service careers and are currently serving at the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea.