Press Release

Voinovich, Gillibrand Introduce Bill To Attract Students To Public Service

Nov 18, 2009

Washington, D.C. – Last night, U.S. Senators George V.
Voinovich (R-OH) and Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Roosevelt
Scholars Act, a bill to
encourage outstanding undergraduate and graduate students in mission-critical
fields of study to pursue a career in the federal government. Individuals
possessing the specialized skill sets required by many mission-critical
occupations – such as medicine, law, or information technology – are in short
supply. As a result, the federal government is often unable to effectively
compete with the more attractive salary and benefits packages available to such
high-skilled individuals in the private sector. Yet the public sector hiring
need is greater than ever. In fact, through September 2012, federal agencies
will be required to fill 273,000 mission-critical positions.

The Roosevelt Scholars Act would help address this hiring
challenge by establishing a scholarship program to provide tuition assistance
and a small stipend to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students in mission-critical
degree programs. In return, Roosevelt Scholars would fulfill three to five
years of service with a federal agency in a mission-critical position. 

“I have long been concerned about the ability of federal agencies to
fulfill their assigned mission,” Sen. Voinovich said. “Too often, agencies lack
the most important resource in getting the job done – the right people with the
right skills. The Roosevelt Scholars Act would provide the federal government
with another tool to use in competing with the private sector for the next
generation of top-flight talent.”

“This act provides opportunities to help more young people, particularly
those in mission-critical fields, enter public service,” Sen. Gillibrand said.
“In this time of grave economic uncertainty, so many people feel the need to
contribute to the greater good and work to help the most vulnerable among us.
We must inspire our best and brightest to enter public service to help address
the critical issues facing our economy and serve those most in need.”

Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Michael Castle (R-DE) have
introduced similar legislation, H.R. 3510, in the House of Representatives.