The U.S. Department of State is no longer accepting applications for cohort six.  The next application submission time frame is projected for Spring of 2020 for cohort seven (Class of 2021).  

This program aims to serve America’s veterans and separating service members’ transition to diplomacy and development careers through a yearlong paid professional fellowship at State.  Fellows are exposed to career opportunities, gain valuable skills for working in the public or private sector, and receive mentoring from experienced professionals and support from other high achieving fellows.

-VIP Fellowships are open to U.S. Armed Forces Veterans and Transitioning U.S. Military who are honorably discharged and have completed a Master’s degree program or higher in the preferred fields of International Business, International Relations/Affairs, Political Science, Public Policy, Public Administration, Global Affairs, or a related field within two years of the application submission dates.

-An applicant’s cumulative master’s degree GPA should be 3.2 or above on a 4.0 scale.  If applicants went to a foreign university, they must provide a certified letter of GPA equivalent in English signed by a senior official in student records.  Official transcripts may be required at a later time.

-Interested candidates may submit applications for the 2020-2021 time frame by searching “Veterans Innovation Partnership” on https://www.usajobs.gov/ during the official application time period next year.  There are two position descriptions, Foreign Affairs Officer and Program Analyst.  Veterans can apply for one or both job announcements.  The applications may close earlier if 250 applications are received per individual position description.  Interested veterans should not delay in applying and prepare starting now.

-Applicants must be able to claim a Secret or Top Secret security clearance and pass a suitability review.  The hosting agency initiates and pays for the background investigation and clearance review.  However, applicants must cover fingerprinting, document preparation, and mailing costs.  While having a previous security clearance can assist and expedite the review process, a new or re-validated clearance that is specific to the fellow’s position is required.

-Contingent upon successful completion of a security investigation and granting of a clearance, the fellowships will last 12 months from each individual start date.  This is considered a full time position as a one year (365 days) Civil Service (CS) Temporary Excepted Appointment.  On boarding occurs in waves due to differing personal situations.  Most fellows on board 2-6 months after receiving an offer letter.  Veterans must be available to start on boarding 2 months after the initial application process has been completed.

-Eligible veterans must apply within two years of graduate degree completion, except for those precluded from doing so due to their U.S. Military service obligation, who will have up to six years after degree completion to apply.  Exception for service time extends to six years from graduation, not from military discharge or retirement.  Veteran status should be confirmable through Veterans Affairs and requires at least three years of service before discharge.

-U.S. Armed Forces Reservists and National Guard Members are eligible, provided they have completed a minimum of two years of time in service.  Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic developmental program.  Military Leave (ML) as stipulated in the program’s Civil Service (CS) Temporary Excepted Appointment hiring authority, however acquired Annual Leave (AL) may be used for required military duty days, weekend drills and necessary travel time.  This is subject to change as we investigate more options.

-All positions will be in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  The expected duration of the Fellowship will be one year.  No fellowships are held outside the DC Metro Area at this time.  Lodging, moving costs and travel are not included.

-This program is not designed to lead to permanent federal employment and does not convey preference in seeking such employment.  Nor does it convey the ability to convert non-competitively to a competitive service Federal position automatically.  Full time employment slots must be sought out individually.

-Fellows will be provided with career development resources and job search support while actively in the program as well as the ability to rotate across the Department.  Pay grade salaries are centrally funded and directly deposited starting three weeks after on boarding, but include back pay from day one of orientation.  Each fellow is paid the same level and step on the General Schedule for Federal Employees, currently a GS-9-01 upon arrival.  Any requests to increase to a higher step will require extra documentation and proof of pay cut.

For more details about the program, visit the FAQ.