Campus Executive order

Published on April 18th, 2017 | by Danika Thiele

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Hiring freeze frustrates soon-to-be graduates

Though President Trump’s federal hiring freeze is slated to be lifted Wednesday, college students are feeling the shift in prioritization away from specific federal departments and away from possible future endeavors.

According to USA Today, White House officials expect agencies will staff up only in areas slated for expansion under last month’s budget proposal, slimming down on government-funded agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. The budget proposal would shed some 3,200 positions or roughly 20 percent of the EPA’s workforce.

“All of the roles I applied to were under the title ‘Public Affairs Specialist,’ and I applied for jobs within the Pathways Program and NPS,” UCF graduate Mary Lesperance said. “I was actually really excited about the applications and had my heart set on working for the NPS for a while, but once Trump came into office I knew it was a lost cause.”

Funding will be cut from the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the Agriculture Department to pay for an increase in defense spending, a down payment on the border wall and school voucher programs among other things. The proposal also eliminates funding for 19 agencies, including the African Development Foundation and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

“What we’re doing tomorrow is replacing the across-the-board hiring freeze that we put into place on day one in office and replacing it with a smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan,” Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney said. Trump’s hiring freeze exempted military personnel and hiring for national security and public safety.

“This does not mean agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly,” Mulvaney said.

This new plan is a slap in the face for soon-to-be-graduates hoping for jobs within federal agencies that are now being substantially cut.

In Lesperance’s opinion, the freeze is “entirely unnecessary, just a useless move from Trump to pander to his smaller government supporters.” Politico.com calls the order the “first shot in a war” on federal jobs.

For graduating collegiate-level seniors, these budget cuts come as an unwelcome challenge in an already competitive job market. In addition to potential new jobs being cut extraordinarily, many agencies will be forced to downsize and leave many current employees jobless.

FSC senior Nathaniel Schriffert applied to over ten different healthcare networks and has yet to receive a response, as his applications have been frozen.

“Now I’m foregoing the work force and just trying to get my masters immediately now…but that wasn’t my original plan,” Schriffert said.

 

A screenshot of a FSC senior's current application status for various federal jobs.

 

Nearly every president in modern history has attempted to overhaul the federal government after Congressional resistance. President Barack Obama in 2012 proposed merging parts of six agencies and cutting over 1,000 federal jobs but the proposal never got past Capitol Hill.

This latest move will be similarly limited by lawmakers, according to NPR.org, as Congress maintains ultimate approval for setting spending levels for federal agencies.

“All it does is hold back federal agencies doing important work from provided their much needed services to the public,” Lesperance said.

 

Learn more:

Read: Trump administration lifts hiring freeze, gives future budget direction

Read: What Trump’s hiring freeze means (and doesn’t)

Watch: Trump’s federal hiring freeze has been lifted. Here’s what’s next.

Read: 9 things Trump flip-flopped on this week

Read: A thaw in Trump’s hiring freeze, but reaction remains chilly

Featured image courtesy of The Hill. 

This story was produced for COM 4300 News Media Projects. Any comments regarding this story can be directed to the course instructor, Beth Bradford (mbradford@flsouthern.edu).

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