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Disappointed With Government? Pump Up the Pipeline

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It's election season, and now more than ever we find ourselves embroiled in a national debate about the role of government - whether it's too big or too small, what services it should or shouldn't be providing, and how we're going to control spending and decrease the deficit. Add a pinch of hyper-partisan politics and a dash of negative press and it shouldn't surprise us that the public lacks trust in government.

Though we may not agree on the ideal size or role of government, we can all agree that we want better, more effective government - government that works.

One way to create more effective government is to expand the pipeline of prospective public sector professionals through programs that attract promising graduate students. That's exactly what OPM's new Pathways Program and, specifically, the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program, aim to do. Established in 1977, the PMF Program has evolved over the years, becoming the premiere program introducing our nation's top talent to a career in government. While the PMF Program has averaged 10,000 applicants in the past, changes in the requirements this year are projected to lead to almost triple that number of applications for the Class of 2013.

To help usher these rising stars into a government career, the Robertson Foundation for Government, a nonprofit family foundation dedicated to helping government meet its talent needs, and GovLoop, the leading knowledge network for government, recently launched "Path to PMF", an interactive website and guide that provides information and assistance to prospects applying to the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) Program.

"PMF is the premier federal program for recruiting the nation's most talented students into the public service. The Program has undergone substantial revision in recent years and students often struggle understanding the process. That's why I'm excited about PathtoPMF.com," said Dr. Paul C. Light, Professor of Public Service at New York University Wagner's Paulette Goddard School and founding principal investigator of the Global Center for Public Service.

"If the federal government is to meet the many future challenges it faces," he said, "it must have the very best leaders. The PMF Program is the gateway. PathtoPMF.com is the tour guide through the gateway and beyond."

PathtoPMF.com is designed to be the "go-to" resource for prospective applicants, helping them navigate the PMF process from application to job placement. It offers advice to applicants based on video and podcast interviews with more than 60 current and past PMFs, nearly a dozen career advisors, and several federal agency program coordinators. The site also hosts discussion forums where applicants can ask questions and support one another throughout the application process.

Andrew Card, Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A & M University and former White House Chief of Staff under George W. Bush, says the site will be an "invaluable resource to every future applicant. PathtoPMF.com...breaks down the barriers that deterred applicants from pursuing one of the most prestigious fellowships our government has to offer."

The PMF Program is one way for current and recent students of advanced graduate degree programs to begin a career as a public servant in the federal government. The application process is often long and intense but the resources on PathtoPMF.com should take some of the mystery out of applying and provide useful information to applicants.

The site offers resources for every stage of the application process, including details about the program and its history; tips on the application process and sample questions; practical advice on the online and in-person assessment; data on popular graduate degrees, top universities, and top hiring agencies; and tips on successfully navigating the job fair and placement process. GovLoop also has some great resources to help with the application process, including an infographic on creating a federal resume.

To download the guide and get all of the details, please go to PathtoPMF.com.