As the United States still struggles with tough economic times, the Virginia Tech Department of Career Services is doing more to help students explore and pursue public service career options.
In 2009, Chris Ramos of Woodbridge, Va., a junior majoring in management in the Pamplin College of Business took a summer internship working for the National Nuclear Security Administration within the federal government. Because his experience working for a federal agency was so valuable, Ramos says he decided to become a Federal Student Ambassador. As an ambassador he has partnered with Career Services to inform other students about the public service job and internship prospects available in the federal government. He also says he wants his peers to have the same opportunity he had and to help them learn about the application process based on his first-hand experience.
Ramos’ partnership with Career Services began this past fall and in collaboration with Donna Cassell Ratcliffe, director of the Smith Career Center and other employees in Career Services, they petitioned Charles W. Steger, president of Virginia Tech to become an official supporter of A Call to Serve: Leaders in Education Allied for Public Service. A Call to Serve, sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service and the United States Office of Personnel Management, is a pledge signed by select college and university presidents around the country, vowing to educate students about public service careers.
By Steger’s endorsement, Virginia Tech now joins more than 600 other institutions in the country that are a part of the Call to Serve network. This network includes numerous resources, speakers, and possible grants to enhance programming and services on college campuses.
Ratcliffe says, “I’m thrilled that Chris has become a Career Services partner. His perspective as a student who has worked for the federal government is incredibly valuable for other students who wish to pursue a federal career. His insight and dedication to helping others is an inspiration. We’re also very pleased that Virginia Tech is a part of the Call to Serve partnership. What better way to complement our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) than with the Call to Serve program? Giving back to others is what Virginia Tech is about, and now thanks to Chris, Dr. Steger, and the Career Services staff, other students have the opportunity to take advantage of this program and learn more about how they can continue living the Virginia Tech motto through co-ops, internships, and in their careers, long after leaving campus.”
Beginning March 24 at 4 p.m. at the Smith Career Center, meeting room B, Virginia Tech Career Services will be sponsoring a Federal Job Search seminar series. The series, designed specifically for Virginia Tech students, is expected to be held weekly on Wednesdays and continue through April 24. More information about the seminar series can be found online or by visiting Career Services’ Federal Government Employment webpage.
Ratcliffe notes that even though a lot of sectors are not currently hiring, the federal government is. Opportunities exist for students to obtain a viable career with great benefits. Although the applying for federal jobs is a more in depth than a standard application process, the multitude, variety, and scope of opportunities could make the time invested well worth the effort.