Process flexibility and staffing procedures are among the priorities that U.S. federal entities strive to achieve. To this end, Several online training programs have been launched that will enable students to work on government projects virtually, in cooperation with the Office of Information Resources Management and other entities including the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Agriculture, the US Space Agency and the Department of State. The idea for the federal virtual training service first originated in 2009 when Hillary Clinton spoke about virtual training programs during her speech at the NYU graduation ceremony.
The idea was to offer distance training programs run by federal agencies in Washington, D.C., Students can work from anywhere without having to travel there. For companies, The program offers the advantages of connecting with students from different backgrounds who offer new perspectives to solve challenges. On the other hand, The program contributes to reducing the administrative expenses of organizing actual training programs and thus reducing the costs incurred by federal entities.
The eight-month program targets US students aspiring to work in the public sector. It allows interns to work in the fields of research, analysis, application development, graphic design, and social media account management. To apply for the program, students are required to submit a statement of interest in which they express their goals and motives that pushed them to participate in this training program. The Department of State and other external entities supervise the work of the interns by email, phone, or video calls.
For now, U.S. federal agencies teach AI programs by engaging students in a range of important activities. One such activity is revolutionizing democracy by creating an AI-powered chatbot trained on a database containing press releases and statements by government spokesmen to answer any questions about U.S. foreign policy. They also intend to involve students in the exploration of AI applications in international politics and cross-reference comparison with other countries' uses of quantum language, blockchain, gene editing, and artificial intelligence technologies.
Several federal entities participate in the training program, including the United States Geological Survey, the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Office, the National Science Foundation, and many others.
A range of projects were implemented under the umbrella of the Federal Virtual Training Service between 2017 and 2018. One such project is the use of the program by the U.S. Department of State to improve the way employees use the data and resources at their disposal to accomplish their tasks to the fullest. The CIA also implemented the program using the identification of best academic, governmental, and private practices (such as cognitive and behavioral sciences, management and business theories). The Pentagon used the program to analyze open-source data to draw conclusions about the activities of rebels and international response forces in conflict zones in Africa. Last but not least, NASA has trained its employees in the logistics of organizing online events.
The Federal Virtual Training Service program has proven successful year after year, attracting thousands of interns who have worked on projects that support many missions in U.S. federal government agencies. In 2018, The program provided 1,500 online training seats in more than fifty federal entities while that number rose to 3,000 in the 2019-2020 cycle. By contracting with universities, The trainee can now adopt the training hours he completes.