REVIEW of REVIEWS

Public Service

In United States, Candidates For Government Jobs Serve as Internes, as in Hospitals

October 15 1938
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Public Service

In United States, Candidates For Government Jobs Serve as Internes, as in Hospitals

October 15 1938

Public Service

In United States, Candidates For Government Jobs Serve as Internes, as in Hospitals

IN THE United States, college graduates who desire a public service career are now able to gain experience in Government departments in the same way that a graduate in medicine gets experience in a hospital. In an article by Webb Waldron, which appeared first in Survey Graphic and then was reprinted in condensed form by Reader's Digest, we are told something about this system.

Fifty college graduates, boys and girls, are in Washington this autumn working in Government departments without salary. They are called “internes.” Like internes in hospitals, they learn by watching and doing. Some of them are paying their own expenses; some have fellowships from colleges; some are financed by the hometown folks. A Toledo girl, for example, is having her expenses paid by a group of Toledo clubwomen. Internes are busy, too, in many State and city governments.

Youth itself started this eager reaching toward public service. Four years ago a committee of delegates to the National Student Federation asked themselves why something practical could not be done to open Government careers to college graduates. Out of their demand grew the National Institute of Public Affairs, with headquarters in Washington. Its aim is the tie-up of college and Government by a system of Federal internes. The first year’s experimental work was so successful that the Institute obtained a Rockefeller Foundation grant for enlarged activities.

Each spring the leading colleges with courses in public administration send in a list of their most promising students who hope to get into public service. The director of the Institute, Dr. Frederick M. Davenport, then journeys through the country interviewing them.

“We demand not only prime scholarship.” said Dr. Davenport. “We want to know what the student has done outside of class. Has he taken a prominent part in the student council, athletics, journalism? Has he shown qualities of leadership? We want the type that makes things happen.”

In addition to the Federal Government, many State Governments have also set up a system of interneship.

The elders of our generation are beginning to realize that since government is interpenetrating our lives as never before, and is likely to go on doing so, whether we like it or not, we ought to look sharp to the quality of people who administer our laws.

Many of these young people step quickly into important jobs. A lad from Syracuse went as interne with the revenue department of Kentucky a year or so ago. Now he’s assistant director of the department, fighting with a reform group for the abolition of the fee system in county government.

In England, the Government for years has regularly picked exceptional university men and systematically trained them for top policy-determining jobs.