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College students return to hybrid summer internship

  • Published
  • By Toni Whaley
  • Air Force’s Personnel Center Public Affairs

College students across the continental United States are back on the books learning and honing skills that could lead to a permanent position with the Department of the Air Force.

Civilian personnel staffs across the Air Force enterprise are mentoring and giving 496 college students the opportunity to assist in special projects under the Air Force’s Personnel Center Premier College Intern Program, or PCIP.

PCIP interns are college sophomore, junior or senior students who participate in a 10-12 week paid summer internship. The program feeds the Air Force’s Palace Acquire (PAQ) and Copper Cap programs.

“The Department of the Air Force depends on this summer internship to produce candidates for our Palace Acquire and Copper Cap programs, ensuring we are able to meet future demands in STEM, Cyber and other critical specialties,” said Dave VanSteenburg, director, Civilian Personnel Operations. “PCIP is vital to ensuring the Department remains relevant today and long into the future providing talent trained and equipped to adapt to changes in the strategic environment.”

The internship provides a two-way interview with the organization interviewing the intern and the intern interviewing the organization, so both parties can determine whether a good fit exists.

Last year’s COVID pandemic brought some challenges and changes to how the program operates. As things return to normal in 2021, so is the program.

“Our interns are working in a hybrid environment this summer – some telework and some in-person,” said Ty Parker, Human Resources Career Field administrator. “This year, HQ AFPC brought on three new PCIPs and converted nine to PAQ Interns. We initially met in March to take care of their administrative items, e.g., CAC issue, computers, etc., so when they returned in June they would be ready to work.”

PCI authorizations vary each year depending upon mission, projected workforce increases or reductions, skill requirements, funding, and other operational considerations.

The program’s success is dependent upon several factors: careful planning of program activities, management’s commitment to developing the intern, exposure to and mentoring by higher-level management personnel, and the intern’s initiative, choice of challenging assignments, performance and conduct.

For more information about the PCIP, go to


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