Family Matters Blog: Internships Expand Child Care Options, Jobs
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2012 The Defense Department is taking internship applications for a program that expands the availability of child care and youth programs, while also giving a leg up to jobseekers in that field, especially military spouses.
DOD and the Agriculture Department formed the Military Extension Internship Partnership in 2010 in concert with a major construction project that started in 2008 to accommodate the growing requests for child care and youth programs, Barbara Thompson, director of DOD’s Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, told me recently.
“We thought the program up because we had huge child care growth,” she said. “We were going through a big construction program and increasing the number of child development spaces and we knew we needed to do something on the employment side. We wanted to be grooming our staff along the way so we would have experienced people to take on the role of management.”
The MEIP is taking applications for summer internships between Nov. 30 and Jan. 31 on its website.
More than 200 college students and recent graduates have completed internships through the program, and 25 percent of them have gotten federal jobs in child development and youth programs, Thompson said. Those management positions usually are at the general scale 9 to 11 pay grades and, with benefits, make them highly competitive against private-sector options, she noted.
As part of the department’s efforts to help with military spouse employment, spouses are encouraged to apply for the internships, she said.
“We think it’s important that spouses who are going back for their education … and we want to make sure there are jobs for them,” she said.
MEIP places interns from 10 weeks to six months in child care and youth programs on military installations around the world, Thompson said. “They are placed under a seasoned program director to learn our system from the bottom up,” she said.
The internships, like the child development jobs, are varied and include full training and the most up-to-date information in the child development field, Thompson said.
And, she added, the child development centers and youth programs on every installation – and multiple ones on the larger bases – the jobs are portable enough to move with spouses when they relocate.
Internship applicants must:
-- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
-- Have a GPA of at least 2.75;
-- Have completed at least four semesters of college classes by the beginning of the internship;
-- Be majoring in child development, youth development, recreation, management, or a similar program; and
-- Plan to pursue a professional career similar to one’s major, such as those within education, child or youth programs, or family services.
The application requires an original essay of at least 600 words, two recommendations, official college transcripts, and if applicable, an outline of the institution's mandates for the receipt of academic credit.
Compensation varies by military service, but all interns receive assistance to cover basic living expenses.