University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg will serve as a link to students as part of a new organization called the Partnership for Public Service, which hopes to recruit college students for government jobs.
Trachtenberg will sit on the board of the non-partisan organization begun this year to combat government “brain drain” – a lack of motivation to work for the government.
The organization, founded by Sam Heyman, a former Justice Department attorney, will operate on a $25 million budget over the next five years using an aggressive advertising campaign to reach students across the nation to restore honor and prestige to federal service.
Trachtenberg serves on the advisory board of governors for the association. He is among 51 others on the committee including Michael Eisner, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Hunter Rawlings, president of Cornell University, and John Hennessey, president of Stanford University.
More than 20 percent of federal civilian employees are expected to retire within the next five years, creating a shortage of federal workers. Openings will be in various fields including forestry, teaching, dietary studies and psychology. Max Stier, president and CEO of the organizations, said he hopes students will become aware of the opportunities available and become interested in working for the government.
“We plan to focus a fair amount of our resources on bringing students into the federal workforce,” Stier said.
Stier also emphasized the need to educate students across the country about the opportunities available in the federal workforce in a broad range of careers.
“The Partnership will serve as a catalyst and not a recruiter of choice,” Stier said, referring to the government’s active role in encouraging students.
Stier said the government will have to make federal jobs more accessible to talented students and speed up the hiring processes to increase interest among graduates.
In 1980, more than three-fourths of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government filled federal positions after graduation. Now, that rate is only about one-third of those students.
Stier said the alliance of influential members of the business and academic communities will allow the organization to achieve its goals.
Freshman Danielle Rubin said is considering government jobs.
“I am interested in possibly working for the government someday, because I have known several federal employees, and I realize the potential for success is incredible.”
The organization also plans to entice college graduates to join the workforce by offering student loan relief.
Stier said they will monitor public opinion polls concerning the general attitude towards federal service to measure their success. He also plans to compare statistics showing how many graduates pursue employment in the government now versus five years from now.