Monthly Archives: June 2009

Career resources for government opportunities

Looking on job search sites and general internet search engines for government jobs and internships doesn’t always offer the best results. Here is a list of several US Government-related websites that offer career opportunities and internship programs:

  • USAJobs.gov
    Official job site of the US Government. You can search with keywords, by agency, salary level and job type. The system also enables you to set up an account to upload your resume, apply to Federal jobs using your account information and receive automated job alerts.
  • Department of State – http://careers.state.gov
    The US Department of State’s career page lists opportunities for people interested in foreign service positions (officer an specialist), student programs and civil service. There are several tools that offer more information about the various programs and career tracks.
  • US Commercial Service – http://www.ita.doc.gov/cs/employment.asp
    The Foreign Commercial Service offers opportunities domestically and overseas to support the export of US goods and services and defending US commercial interests abroad. A more extensive list of positions with the Department of Commerce is available at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov.
  • US Agency for International Development (USAID) – http://www.usaid.gov/careers
    USAID has a wide variety of programs throughout the world for supporting agriculture and environment, expanding education and training, fostering democracy and governance, advancing global health, promoting economic growth and trade, cultivating global partnerships and providing humanitarian assistance. USAID also offers opportunities for volunteer student interns – http://www.usaid.gov/careers/studentprograms.html
  • Department of State Student Programs – careers.state.gov/students/programs.html
    The Department of State has several options for students seeking to work with in the field of international affairs including programs for internships abroad, US-based opportunities and graduate-level fellowships.
  • USDA-APHIS – http://www.aphis.usda.gov/career_opportunities/index.shtml
    “Protecting American agriculture” is the basic charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS provides leadership in ensuring the health and care of animals and plants. Student programs are also offered through USDA-APHIS – http://www.aphis.usda.gov/career_opportunities/student_programs.shtml

With the diversity of US government programs, there are likely additional resources that can be added to this list. Suggestions for other websites or online references are welcome!

Increasing study abroad in the Arab world

A recent report entitled “Expanding U.S. Study Abroad in the Arab World:  Challenges and Opportunities” was prepared and published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with contributions from the Hollings Center for International Dialog. The document offers insights for both students and administrators who are interested in the opportunities and challenges connected to study abroad programs in the Arab world.

“Expanding study abroad to the Arab world is a timely and complex issue, and one that is important for educators who wish to prepare their students to succeed and prosper in a global economy and an interconnected world,” said Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President of IIE (read his bio).

The report provides an assessment of the current state of study abroad programs based upon the input of a multinational panel of senior-level administrators and faculty from U.S.- and Arab-world-based higher education institutions, program provider organizations, and Arabic language centers.They discussed issues that will impact the future of study abroad programs in the region including:

  • Credit transfer and academic standards
  • International partnerships
  • Cross-cultural issues
  • Safety and security
  • Resources and marketing capacity of host institutions
  • Arabic language study

One of the interesting details that the report mentions is that “nearly 2,200 American students studied abroad for credit in the Arab world in 2006/07, the most recent academic year for which data are available.” The students were concentrated in four Arab countries – Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The report goes on to highlight that a growing number of students from others countries have been participating in study abroad in the Arab countries in recent years.

Most of the study abroad programs that the report considered were characterized by a partnership-style arrangement between a US institution and the university or institution in the Middle East. When clarfying the reason for these types of program structures the study found that language is a significant barrier, which visting students need to overcome or be prepared to with.

It is still rare for American undergraduates to enroll directly in Arab universities without American partnerships because few such students have the Arabic fluency required to take all courses in Arabic and because support services for foreign students are often lacking. (p. 13)

The report includes contact details for study abroad programs and links to application guidelines. The program list spans several pages and includes online and direct contact details for the program coordinators and institutional contacts. Among the schools mentioned in the report are Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Alexandria University (Egypt), American University of Sharjah, Damascus University along with several others.

The broader directory of study abroad programs from IIE is found on their website. Their database includes the option to browse through the program listings on several web pages or visitors can use a search form to narrow the focus more efficiently.

You can learn more about the report and the organizations involved in its development by in the full article on Going Global.

Economic stimulus and H-1B visas

Work permits and H-1B visas are a critical issue for US-based employers who seek to employ non-US employees and the economic downturn has has a particularly visible impact on their personnel issues.  The U.S. economic stimulus package, as passed by Congress, includes an amendment (the Sanders/Grassley H-1B Amendment) whereby recipients of stimulus money must abide by strict regulations in the hiring of foreign workers under the H-1B program.

“The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is greatly disappointed that Congress chose political expediency over sound policy by allowing this amendment to stand. The misguided signal it sends is that immigrants are part of the problem rather than an integral part of the solution,” said Charles H. Kuck, President of AILA.

By making it harder to bring in highly skilled employees to work in the United States, the impact could be a reduction of business effectiveness for companies that use the H-1B program. If companies received stimulus money, they must demonstrate that the H-1B positions in their companies are not replacing out of work US citizens with guest workers.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association issued a press release about the amendment and continues to actively monitor issues connected with the H-1B program. It is also important to note the perspective of other parties who viewed the amendment in a more positive manner. One example is the post found on the NumbersUSA blog. There is also an article and associated comments on BusinessWeek’s site.

The topic of visa levels continues to be an active discussion and is worth following especially if a person is seeking long-term employment opportunities in the United States or is looking for more information about immigration rules when planning an international relocation.

You can read more about the economic stimulus packages and the provisions impacting the H-1B visa program on Going Global’s website.