The Office of the Secretary of Defense/Washington Headquarters Services (OSD/WHS) offers volunteer opportunities to students enrolled in an accredited high school, trade school, college and/or university. These opportunities allow students to explore career options in their field of study and develop personal and professional skills. Volunteer students are exposed to the work environment while learning about the Department of Defense missions and responsibilities. Student volunteer service is enriching and benefits include:
- Career exploration early in your academic studies.
- Exposure to new and emerging occupations and professions.
- Academic credit for the work you perform.
- Experience enhances your ability in future job endeavors.
Public law prohibits the Federal government from accepting volunteer service in most situations. No person may provide unpaid service to the Federal government or provide service with the understanding that he or she will waive pay. However, there are specific exceptions when this can be done, and the employment of students to further their educational goals is one example.
To qualify for consideration in this program, you must meet all five criteria:
- Student must be at least 16 years of age at the time of appointment.
- Student must be enrolled and attending, at least half-time, in one of the following: an accredited high school/trade school; a technical/vocational school; a junior/community college; a four-year college/university; or any other accredited educational institution.
- Students must obtain and maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- Students MUST be available to work a minimum of six (6) weeks in the program (work schedules vary).
- Students must be a U.S. Citizen or national and must be able to successfully complete a security investigation.
Once placed in the program, students may continue to volunteer as long as they meet program eligibility requirements. Participants in the Volunteer Student Internship Program must end their internship at the time of graduation or withdrawal from enrollment.
How to Apply
The Volunteer Student Internship Program is year round. Applications for summer internships are due by January 31. There are no specific deadlines for fall or spring internships; however, we recommend you apply at least three (3) months prior to your desired internship dates. In all instances, we will keep your resume on file for six (6) months. If you have not been contacted within that timeframe, we recommend you reapply with your updated cover letter and resume.
To apply for a Volunteer Student Intern appointment within the OSD/WHS or a Defense Agency, all applicants are required to submit:
- A current resume (no special format required). Please include your expected graduation date.
- A cover letter identifying yourself as an applicant for the Volunteer Student Intern Program. The letter should also contain your career area of interest and the timeframe(s)/dates you are able to intern.
- Unofficial transcripts clearly showing your grades/GPA.
E-mail the above documents to the Special Programs Team. If possible, please merge all three documents into ONE (1) file when applying. You should name your file with your last and first name (i.e. Smith, John.pdf).
While e-mail applications are preferred, you may mail all required application documents to:
Washington Headquarters Services
Attn: Volunteer Student Intern Program Manager
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-3200
It should be noted that, under 5 U.S.C 3111, a student volunteer is not a Federal employee for any purposes other than injury compensation and law related to the Tort Claims Act. Student participation in the program is on a voluntary basis, and there is no remuneration or other employee benefits provided by OSD/WHS. OSD/WHS does not provide housing assistance or support. Volunteer service is not credible for leave or any other employee benefits or monetary compensation.