350 Colleges and Universities, 36 Federal Agencies Launch National Campaign to Promote Federal Service

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, MA - April 22, 2002 - The Partnership for Public Service today issued a call to public service that will be heard on college and university campuses around the country. Worcester Polytechnic Institute has joined the partnership. Director of Career Development and Cooperative Education Yvonne Harrison represented WPI at the kick-off events in Washington D.C.

"A Call to Serve: Leaders in Education Allied for Public Service," a joint project of the Partnership and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a campaign of 350 founding-member schools whose leaders have promised to educate their students about federal employment opportunities. In addition, 36 federal agencies and a number of higher education associations have signed on as founding partners in the initiative.

"In today's post-9/11 world, there is a new activism on college campuses around the country," said Partnership President Max Stier. "This is a generation that feels truly connected to their nation, and many of these students are looking for opportunities to make a difference. Through A Call to Serve, we will show them that the government offers ways to do just that."

The "Call to Serve" campaign was launched on the campus of The George Washington University by U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Partnership President Max Stier, and college presidents Stephen Joel Trachtenberg of GWU and Judith Rodin of the University of Pennsylvania.

"One of the largest barriers blocking bright people from entering the federal workforce is a simple one - a lack of information," said OPM Director James. "With the support of over 300 institutions of higher education, the Call to Serve initiative is a crucial step in the right direction, arming college students with the knowledge and resources they need to fully consider the opportunities available in federal service."

In her speech, Chao challenged young people to "consider a career in federal service - not simply as a way to help society, but an invitation to become a 'stakeholder' in this great joint venture called 'America.'"

"For all that is wrong with our system of government, and there is much that needs repair, it remains a place where one can truly and uniquely make a difference, where one can help improve our country and even, occasionally, the world," Lieberman said.

The launch event also saw the unveiling of the Partnership's new website, www.calltoserve.org, which offers job seekers and students practical advice and information about finding and applying for government jobs and internships.

OPM Director James and Partnership President Stier also announced a new customer-service initiative - a Pledge to Applicants - that aims to improve the user-friendliness of application and hiring procedures government-wide.

Participating schools in the "Call to Serve" campaign will undertake a series of educational and outreach programs supported by the Partnership and OPM to inform students about ways they can make a difference through internships and jobs with federal agencies across the country.

The need for the Call to Serve campaign is urgent. In the next five years, more than half of all federal workers could be eligible to retire, including over 70 percent of senior managers. At the other end of the employment pipeline the picture is equally troubling. Studies show few college-educated Americans are interested in working for the federal government at any point in their career. If nothing is done to reverse this trend, service to the American people will suffer.

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WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education, and is recognized as one of the leading outcomes-oriented undergraduate programs preparing people for success in our technological world. Since its founding in 1865, WPI has broadened and perfected an influential curriculum that balances theory and practice.

This innovative and unique combination of educational methods, learning environment and a worldwide network of project centers is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, WPI supports the academic and research pursuits of over 2,500 students and 200 faculty pursuing opportunities to blend technological research and practice with societal needs, delivering meaningful real-world benefits.

For over a century, WPI has awarded advanced degrees in the sciences and engineering disciplines, as well as the management of technology and business. Our alumni include Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry; Harold Black, inventor of the principle of negative-feedback; Carl Clark, inventor of the first practical airbag safety system; Dean Kamen, inventor of the first wearable drug infusion pump; and many others who contribute to the transformation of our technological world.