Internship Program

The White House Initiative’s (WHI) Year-round Internship Program provides current undergraduate and graduate students with an opportunity to learn about Latino-focused education policy, communications, and outreach at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Collecting research and data on Latino education, institutions and communities for briefing materials;
  • Creating and/or updating presentations, fact sheets, one-pagers or talking points;
  • Participating in strategic planning and staff meetings and other Department policy briefings and meetings relevant to the work of the WHI;
  • Assisting with all planning and implementation needs for upcoming local and out-of-town events and meetings, which can include collecting/researching background materials, cold-calling Listserv members, cataloging attendees, escorting senior Administration officials and members of the President’s Advisory Commission; and more;
  • Assisting senior staff in preparing final reports and other materials for senior officials;
  • Transcribing Latino leader and President’s Advisory Commission meeting notes and/or participant feedback following WHI events;
  • Performing data entry and managing the office database/Listserv (Salesforce and govDelivery programs);
  • Responding to constituent inquiries verbally or in writing in English and/or Spanish;
  • Maintaining office media archives, which includes searching for any media coverage related to WHI events and speaking engagements;
  • Liaising between the WHI and local and national Latino organizations and federal agencies;
  • Providing social media updates to the WHI’s accounts as needed; and
  • Traveling (when necessary).

In addition, opportunities for developmental growth are encouraged, such as interviewing senior Department officials and officials from external organizations, and attending internal/external presentations and briefings related to Latino education. Duties also will vary slightly (more substantive work) for graduate students, particularly Ph.D. candidates.

Throughout the course of their internships, students will have the opportunity to attend meetings, briefings and other special events on the Hill, at the White House and in other federal agencies. Group tours and other social outings also are organized and include locations such as the Library of Congress, White House, U.S. Capitol, and the Smithsonian Institution museums.

Skills needed:

  • Able to work well independently and as part of a team
  • Able to organize and prioritize work
  • Carries fair share of the workload and completes projects on time
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access)
  • Takes the initiative and proactively tackles responsibilities
  • Arrives promptly to work and to all meetings
  • Knowledge of Spanish a plus, but not required

Note: Neither a degree in education nor fluency in Spanish is required. Students from all academic fields are encouraged to apply.


In order to apply to intern at the White House Initiative, students must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Attend an accredited educational institution, including but not limited to; high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, junior college, college, university, or graduate school.
    • A recent graduate is ineligible to apply unless he/she can provide confirmed proof of future enrollment.
  • Have permission from the institution at which he/she is currently enrolled to participate in internship program.
  • Be enrolled not less than half time in a course of study related to the work to be performed.

International/Non-U.S. citizen Applicants: Individuals who are not U.S. citizens, but who reside in the U.S., may volunteer (1) if they are lawful permanent residents; or (2) if they are non-immigrant aliens with F-1 or J-1 visa status, who are bona fide students residing in the U.S. solely to pursue a course of study at a recognized, approved institution of education, or (3) have deferred action (DACA) status.

All foreign national intern applicants will be required to meet the following criteria for consideration:

  • Must have resided in the United States for three (3) out of the last five (5) years. This ensures an adequate background investigation can be completed.
  • Must either be a Lawful Legal Resident of the United States or hold a valid F1 Visa.
  • Must be a citizen from a country that is allied with the United States.
  • A requisite investigation must be conducted on all non-U.S. citizen interns. All investigation materials must be submitted and approval granted by the OM Personnel Security Office prior to commencing the internship.
  • The following forms will be needed for a complete package: SF-85P, OF-306, Fingerprinting (Digital or Ink), and Fair Credit Release, Resume (if applicable)
  • Additionally, the Cyber Security and Privacy Awareness Training module must be completed, and certificate received, before approval to start will be granted.
  • Meet Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) and Federal Information Processing Standard 201 (FIPS 201-2) pre-employment requirements for PIV ID issuance.
  • Interns must present two (original) forms of identification, prior to badge issuance, for identity proofing. Acceptable documents are listed on Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (pg.9). At least one submitted document must be a valid State or Federal government-issued picture ID. Identity proofing may be completed at any time, prior to the commencement of work.

How to Apply

Step 1—Students submit intern application

  • A completed copy of the Internship Application Form.
  • One-page cover letter stating:
    • Student’s reasons for wanting to intern with the office;
    • Term to which he or she is applying (i.e., summer, fall, winter, spring);
    • Dates of availability (start and end dates of the internship); and
    • What the student has accomplished or plans to accomplish to improve the academic achievement and/or socioeconomic advancement of Hispanics;
  • An up-to-date resume.
  • 2-3 page Writing Sample

Packets can be submitted via the  SVIP Application System.

Step 2—Eligible students will be interviewed by WHI staff.
The White House Initiative evaluates the applications on the basis of academic achievement, quality of thought exemplified in the cover letter, and the strength of the candidate’s interest in improving education outcomes for Hispanics. Additionally, only completed application packets are evaluated. The White House Initiative will review application packages and interview perspective interns.

Step 3—Provide Internship paperwork for processing.
If you are tentative selected by an internship, you need to be cleared by Office of Management. You will be asked to provide the below paperwork:

  • U.S. Department of Education Student Volunteer Agreement
    PDF (1.1MB) | PDF, printed version (24KB)
  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management Declaration for Federal Employment (OF306)
    Please follow this link to the Office of Personnel Management website to fill out the Declaration for Federal Employment form.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security Employment Eligibility Form (I-9)
    A list of acceptable documents to bring your first day of employment can be found here under Instructions for Form I-9 (specifically pages 8-11).
  • U.S. Department of Education Emergency Contact form [PDF, 69KB]
  • U.S. Department of Education Cyber security awareness training [PDF, 1.5MB]
  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management Fair Credit Release form
    Please follow this link to the Drug Enforcement Agencies website to download and complete the Fair Credit Release form here.
  • Transcript
    Please obtain the transcript from your university/high school
  • Letter of good standing from your school (optional)
    Please utilize the online system to request the letter of good standing from your school

Step 4—Initiate background check
Once cleared by Office of Human Resources, we will need to initiate a background check. You will receive an email from ED’s personnel security office where you will be asked to submit fingerprints for the background check and complete a background investigation through ED’s e-QIP (security system).

Step 5—Finalize start date
Once you have been cleared by Office of Management your supervisor will work with you and Office of Human Resources to finalize a start date. On your first day you will go to the ID office and fill out paperwork for your badge and another round of fingerprints to obtain your badge. An internship welcome packet will be e-mailed to accepted interns. The packet contains information regarding reporting times, dress code, directions to the building, housing, and more.


  • Summer Semester: March 15
  • Fall Semester: July 15
  • Spring Semester: October 15

Other Considerations

This is an unpaid internship. Students selected to be White House Initiative interns will be required to secure their own housing while in Washington, D.C. A list of potential accommodations is made available on request.

In addition, the White House Initiative is able to provide a transportation subsidy to assist with the cost of travel to and from home/work. Students may register for this benefit once they are officially on board with the agency.