Internship Opportunities

The White House Initiative’s Year-round Internship Program provides current students with an opportunity to learn about African American-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 and compiling research and data on African American education, institutions and communities;
  • Performing data entry and managing the office database;
  • Greeting and escorting visitors to meetings;
  • Participating in strategic planning and staff meetings and other Department policy briefings and meetings relevant to the work of the Initiative;
  • Responding to constituent inquiries verbally or in writing;
  • Assisting and creating and/or updating presentations, fact sheets, one-pagers or talking points;
  • Assisting with all planning and implementation needs for upcoming local events and meetings, which can include collecting/researching background materials, creating promotional materials, cold-calling Listserv members, cataloging attendees;
  • Maintaining office media archives, which includes searching for any media coverage related to Initiative events and speaking engagements;
  • Liaising between the Initiative and local and national African American organizations and federal agencies;
  • Contributing to the creative efforts of the Initiative; and
  • Providing social media and blog updates to the accounts as needed.

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 African American education. Duties also will vary slightly for students pursuing terminal degrees such as Ph.D. or Ed.D. candidates.

Throughout the course of their internship, students will have the opportunity to attend and potentially lead in the planning and management of meetings, briefings and other special events on the Hill, at the White House and in other federal agencies.

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 research skills
  • Excellent oral, written, and editing communication skills
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access)
  • Takes initiative and proactively tackles responsibilities
  • Arrives promptly to work and to all meetings


  • Must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Must complete background investigation and fingerprint check.

Applicants must meet the definition of a “Student” at the time of appointment and throughout the duration of the appointment.

Student means an individual who has been accepted for enrollment or enrolled and seeking a degree (diploma, certificate, etc.) in a qualifying educational institution, on a full or half-time basis (as defined by the institution in which the student is enrolled).

At the time of appointment, applicant must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an accredited institution.
  • 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.
  • Have permission from the institution at which he/she is currently enrolled to participate in the internship program.
  • Must be enrolled on a, at least, half-time basis in a course of study related to the work to be performed.

How to Apply

Step 1—Students submit intern application via USAJobs

Summer 2020

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 African Americans. 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 tentatively selected for an internship, you will be subject to a background investigation/fingerprint check, and you will also be required to provide the requested documentation listed below:

  • 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 or school schedule.
  • Letter of Recommendation from your school (optional).

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 19
  • Winter/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.