This post was originally published on the Digital.gov blog.
I am thrilled to announce that, on Monday, November 8, GSA’s Technology Transformation Services is opening applications for the inaugural cohort of the U.S. Digital Corps (USDC). The Digital Corps is a great opportunity for early-career technologists to come and join us in creating a more effective, equitable government.
I came into the federal government as a student engineering intern for the Department of Energy at the Oak Ridge National Labs, working for the Spallation Neutron Source. As someone who always felt a pull towards high-impact work, I was thrilled to be contributing to projects that could drive big change. However, without a clear, direct path to full-time employment, I pivoted into private industry after my undergraduate studies to continue my career as a technologist. It was only after many years of experience and a slew of different roles that I came back into the federal government as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF).
My career trajectory is a common one, as there has long been a gap in early-career tech hiring in government. Until now. The U.S. Digital Corps believes that the most effective government reflects the experiences and backgrounds of the very people that we serve. This is why we are recruiting diverse cohorts of mission-driven, early-career technologists and providing unprecedented access to high-impact public work—work that will be directly aligned to the administration’s priorities of coronavirus response, economic recovery, racial equity, and streamlining government services.
So, before you apply, you may be asking, “What is it like to work in the federal government?”
The U.S. Digital Corps program is modeled after sister programs, including PIF, 18F, and the U.S. Digital Service, and my personal experience as a PIF serves as a roadmap of what a U.S. Digital Corps fellowship may look like for you.
In my first year as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, I was detailed to GSA’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS). Two things stood out during my tenure:
- Innovation is a priority in the federal space.
- There is an active community of mission-driven technologists.
Working at TTS, I learned that a key conversation across the federal space had been around how to solve for the immediate and critical talent gap for early-career technologists. To be frank, I wasn’t sure what it would take to build out a net new program internal to the federal government. What I quickly learned, however, is that with the right leadership, support, and team, it is possible to innovate and effectively build a start-up from within. Having identified the need, the U.S. Digital Corps was formed and launched within just a few months! Talk about breaking barriers!
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn what a tight-knit community I entered into as a fellow. The PIF program provided cohort activities and events for us to engage in, such as weekly PIF small group discussions and social hours (even remotely!). Additionally, the fellows were directly plugged into the broader TTS community, including some of my favorite programming:
- Diversity Guild and Accessibility Guild: revolving themes of discussion around DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility)
- Stretch Sessions: stretch with yoga mat or blanket to end the work day on a high note
- Someone Talks About Something: fun presentations about random & interesting topics from employees As a U.S. Digital Corps Fellow, you will similarly be a part of a diverse cohort of early-career technologists working on high-impact innovative projects, and be plugged into a community of like-minded mission-driven individuals.
I have extended my PIF term to continue building the Digital Corps program—a program I would have loved when I was starting out my career—and I hope that you consider joining us as a Fellow!
Applications for the U.S. Digital Corps will open on Monday, November 8 and close on Monday, November 15th. We encourage you to apply on the day applications open, as they may close before the deadline.