I have read a lot of posts that suggest eliminating the College intern program all together because College interns are lazy and useless. Having been a college intern myself I assure you, it is not that we are lazy or useless, but rather that we are treated as such.
Every summer when college interns come to work, we are thrown into a corner somewhere, given mindlessly menial tasks to complete, never properly training, viewed as incompetent morons because we’re new, treated as pariahs and viewed as threats by co-workers. We are never engaged by anyone in the office and never properly trained. As a result we end up dropping out of the program because we come to believe that Federal employment is a joke and a colossal waste of time and resources.
Ultimately, we end up pursuing private sector employment.
Note: during my 3rd summer, I was assigned alphabetize an MS Excel spreadsheet with 100k names, and was expected to take ALL summer. (if you’re not giggling, then you’re probably part of the problem)
The waste incurred from the current system is clear:
GS-3 Salary x 3 months of x (sake of example) 1,000 interns = Waste
$1967x3x1000 = $5,901,000.00
However, cutting the program is NOT a good solution. Doing so means that the workforce is never replenished by young and fresh ideas.
A much better solution is to have every agency coordinate their GS-5/6 training around the college year.
This way, instead of sitting at a desk and at a desk, being ignored and polishing up our skills on Angry Birds --- we learn an actual trade. After graduation, we are both ready and motivated to hop right into the government work force.
The only cost is a +1 to the training roster.
Because we feel that we are actually accomplishing something rather than wasting our time, the retention rate will be dramatically increased.
Aside from incidental savings, the added potential for gaining new and fresh ideas is priceless. (If you disagree, then check the rest of my entrees)