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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Aug. 17, 2022: The U.S. Department of State is keeping US’ first black and Caribbean American Secretary of State Colin Luther Powell alive.

The Department today announced the new ‘Colin Powell Leadership Program,’ to further advance its “commitment and efforts to hire a workforce representative of all segments of society and in support of the Secretary’s modernization agenda.”

The program, according to a State Department statement, will provide individuals the opportunity to pursue careers at the Department of State.

“Colin Powell understood that diversity ‘is a source of strength, it is a source of our success,’ and exemplified his leadership values – both as a general and as Secretary of State – by putting people first.  The Colin Powell Leadership Program recruits highly motivated candidates from a variety of backgrounds who aspire to and possess the potential to become future civil service leaders at the U.S. Department of State,” the statement added.

Powell was born to Jamaican immigrant parents in the Bronx, NY.  He also served as the 15th United States national security advisor from 1987 to 1989 and as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.

In 1995, Powell wrote his autobiography, My American Journey, and then in retirement another book, It Worked for Me, Lessons in Life and Leadership (2012). He pursued a career as a public speaker, addressing audiences across the country and abroad. Before his appointment as Secretary of State, he chaired America’s Promise. In the 2016 United States presidential election, Powell, who was not a candidate, received three electoral votes from Washington for the office of President of the United States.

He won numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations. His civilian awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom (twice), the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award. Powell died from complications of COVID-19 in October 2021, while being treated for a form of blood cancer that affected his immune system.

The US’ first Jamaican American Secretary of State Colin Powell with a Jamaican flag at the start of the West Indian-American Day Parade September 7, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)


This program will provide paid fellowships to recent college graduates and paid internships to students who are enrolled at accredited institutions of higher education.  Both paths may lead to full-time employment opportunities at the Department and are focused on developing future leaders through training, mentoring, and on-the-job experience to provide them with the skills, tools, and resources needed for long-term success at the Department.

Internship opportunities will be in the Social Science Student Trainee (0199) and Administration and Office Support Student Trainee (0399) series.  Fellowship opportunities will be in the Foreign Affairs (0130) and Management Analysis (0343) series.  Applicants will apply via the USAJobs website and the first vacancy announcement is tentatively scheduled for mid to late September 2022. Subsequent announcements will be held annually in the spring.  All applicants must be U.S. citizens and able to obtain and retain a secret or top-secret clearance.  All positions will be located in the Washington, D.C. area.

To be eligible for the Colin Powell Leadership Internship Program, applicants must either be an enrolled or current student, on a part-time or full-time basis, pursuing their bachelor’s degree in a qualifying post-secondary educational program.  A cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 out of 4.0 is required.  The duration of the internship program will be determined by the participant’s anticipated graduation date and may not exceed four years from the initial appointment to the program.

Applicants for the Colin Powell Leadership Fellowship Program must have received a baccalaureate or graduate degree within the last two years with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 out of 4.0.  The fellowship program is a one-year paid developmental program.

For more information about this opportunity, visit the Department’s internships and fellowships page.

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