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The complexity of issues facing the U.S. government has never been greater. It is imperative that we look at new and innovative ways to bring in the talent and knowledge of the private sector, in a collaborative effort, to face these challenges.

To tap into the knowledge of expert American citizens, the Department of State (DOS), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) created the Franklin Fellows Program.

The Partnership

Now, completely redesigned by the Department of State, the Franklin Talent Exchange Partnership (FTEP) is a partnership program between the Department and private sector entities that share an interest in advancing specific foreign policy priorities in areas such as economic growth, energy, agriculture, the ocean, the environment, and science and technology.

The program offers an opportunity for participants to embark in a collaborative two-way exchange program that brings in talented experts and consultants from a consortium of private sector partners and sends State employees on assignment to private sector partner organizations where assignments strategically align with the Department’s top foreign policy priorities.

Participants will return to their home organizations and communities with a much-enhanced knowledge of foreign and development policy and government operations and culture. If your organization has an international focus, allowing your employee to spend a year at the Department of State can be the ideal way to develop their talent and position your organization to excel.

The Opportunity

Participants contribute their knowledge, experience, and specialized skills while gaining first-hand insight into the world of foreign policy and development. Participants often work in areas of new and emerging concern where the Department lacks in-house expertise. On issues where State is already working, the Participants bring years of experience to bear, helping their colleagues to form a deeper understanding of the issues. The following examples show both roles.

  • An investment banker from a large international bank was instrumental in crafting and launching U.S.-ASEAN Connect, the new U.S. strategic economic framework in Southeast Asia.
  • A manager from the NGO community developed a systematic approach to monitor and evaluate international programs to combat trafficking in persons and modern slavery.
  • A retired public service executive helped to establish the State Department’s office for public-private partnership programs.
  • An environmental lawyer worked on policies to protect endangered species in Southeast Asia.
  • A Fellow with legislative experience led the development of the Department of State’s first International Cyberspace Policy Strategy.

From your first day as a Participant, you are a member of the Department of State. As an “uncompensated employee” you have many of the same privileges and responsibilities as a career employee. You will become familiar with regulations guiding ethics and accountability; you will receive training and orientation on security practices and IT systems. You are eligible to participate in official travel with per diem and receive awards. You will meet with your officemates, establish specific work objectives, and learn to become a valuable, contributing member of the Department.

Who Qualifies

Participants must be American citizens, able to get a security clearance, with a minimum five years’ experience that qualifies them as:

  • An expert — a person who is specially qualified by education and experience to perform difficult and challenging tasks in a particular field beyond the usual range of achievement of competent persons in that field. An expert is regarded by other persons in the field as an authority or practitioner of unusual competence and skill in a professional, scientific, technical, or other activity.
  • A consultant — a person who can provide valuable and pertinent advice generally drawn from a high degree of broad administrative, professional, or technical knowledge or experience. When an agency requires public advisory participation, a consultant also may be a person who is affected by a particular program and can provide useful views from personal experience.

FTEP is not a path to employment at the Department of State. After their year at State, “sponsored” Participants return to their private-sector organizations. FTEP can be utilized as a partnership development program for the private and public sector.

How to Become a Participant

Participants are nominated by their employer to participate in the program. Companies and other non-governmental organizations that want to participate in the program must be a part of the partnership consortium of private sector companies.

During the announcement period, State will notify the private sector organizations in the partnership consortium of the opportunities identified by the Department. The announcement will include the qualifications, the applications process, and the deadlines for submission.

If you or your organization are interested in the Franklin Talent Exchange Partnership or would like additional information, contact the Office of Global Partnerships (GP)

U.S. Department of State

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