11/17/2014 11:25 am ET Updated Jan 17, 2015

Problems and Fixes for the Presidential Management Fellows Program

The government deeply needs to attract a new generation to federal service as well as groom future leaders, which happens to be the dual purpose of the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program. But this prestigious program, which annually provides two-year paid fellowships at federal agencies to several hundred outstanding young applicants with graduate degrees, could use some fine-tuning.

The Partnership for Public Service, with as­sistance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), conducted two surveys of members of the PMF class who began work in 2011. The aim was to assess their views and the program's strengths and weaknesses.

The surveys, conducted at both the beginning and end of the fellowship, revealed some lessons for how managers can better ensure that this important pathway to federal service for high-achieving individuals remains successful.

This is critically important. The young generation can bring fresh and innovative ideas to government, but today only 7 percent of full-time permanent federal employees are under the age of 30. As a comparison, they make up about a quarter of the total U.S. workforce.

This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.