Wednesday, August 25, 2010

UW's Making the Difference Campaign Featured by the National Initiative


Since receiving the Partnership for Public Service’s Call to Serve Innovation Grant in February 2009, the University of Washington has made incredible strides towards building and expanding upon existing relationships with federal agencies.

In May 2009, the Partnership came to campus to train over 30 career counselors and faculty from across our three campuses, representing most of the 16 colleges and schools on campus which reach over 92,000 students per year. At the training, there were 13 representatives from nine different federal agencies in the Seattle area, ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Since launching the program, we have gone from hosting 10 federal events in 2008-09, to 45 events in 2009-10! This includes a successful “Find and Apply for Federal Jobs” workshop series offered by the career center, two panels of speakers on federal internship programs, a large government jobs fair and several employer panels focused on federal opportunities.

Additionally, we have create a Steering Committee of staff across campus, presented at the Northwest Career Educators and Employers Association conference, had a brief spot on local television about federal careers and a front-page article in the campus newspaper about the initiative. Based on the successes of last year, we are already organizing our federal events for the upcoming year.

One of the most significant achievements of our program is the increased awareness of federal hiring programs such as the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) program. In September 2009, we held the first university-wide PMF presentation, with several PMF finalists in attendance as well as agencies seeking to hire PMFs. This led to an incredible increase in the number of finalists—UW went from having four finalists in 2008-9, to 22 finalists in 2009-10, a 550% increase!

In addition to these increases, we have launched two outreach initiatives to make students aware of federal careers and to engage federal agencies in the region: our Federal Student Ambassadors Program and our Making the Difference Blog. The Federal Student Ambassadors program is modeled on the Partnership’s Federal Service Student Ambassadors, and utilizes a group of 14 students who have already conducted internships in the federal government. These students serve as our team of promoters for federal events, as well as a bridge to the agencies where they have worked. They also contribute to our Making the Difference Blog. This blog has been an excellent way to make students aware of internships and student programs as well as federal careers in general. We also created outreach initiatives including a Facebook page and a poster campaign highlighting federal job opportunities. The secret behind our success is Elizabeth Streett, the Lead Federal Student Ambassador, who has worked to coordinate many events and programs. Her background as a Human Resource Specialist for the Army for three years has been incredibly helpful in this work.

Participation in the Call to Serve program has also helped one of the grant coordinators, Heather Krasna, Director of Career Services at the Evans School of Public Affairs, with her new book, Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service. This new book covers careers in federal, state, local and multilateral government entities, as well careers that benefit the public in the nonprofit and corporate sectors.

Heather worked with staff at the Partnership to identify two of the professionals who are profiled in the book, Cathleen Berrick, Managing Director, Homeland Security and Justice at the Government Accountability Office and a Service to America Medals medalist, and Kristen Taddonio, Lead, Strategic Climate Projects, Climate Protection Partnerships Division of the EPA. Heather also had the great privilege of working with the Partnership’s CEO, Max Stier, as he wrote the forward to her book. Max’s summary of Jobs That Matter? “Reading this book is a smart step on the journey to both finding a fulfilling job and serving the nation.”

Check out Heather’s book, Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service, on