So one of our readers posted the below comment

Hi! Just another friendly reader interested in becoming a JFSO. Wanted to also say thanks for the blog, it's a lot of great information. Just wondering, you said hiring is starting to dwindle. Do you know if USAID is still planning to hire junior officers in 2012? Is hiring down because of funding, if so, will it pick back up if funding increases? Thanks! Faith

This type of comment or question has not been uncommon lately.  First of all, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling whenever I get to answer questions from people who are interested in the Foreign Service or USAID.  I primarily get this feeling because there were several bloggers and people out there who did the same for me, but it also makes me happy that there are people out there interested in my line of work.

Now here comes all the caveats and disclaimers I must state before I answer your question, Faith.  1) I do not work for Human Resources and I am not even based in Washington, where the real decision-makers sit.  2) I am a lowly, lowly Junior Officer DLI who has no influence on the staffing patterns at USAID and the below response is solely based on my observations.  I do not have any "inside knowledge" and I am not even necessarily "in the loop."  Ok, now that I have sufficiently covered my behind, here is my answer:

For those of you who do not know, the Development Leadership Initiative (which I discuss more in this posting) was launched in an effort to restaff the Agency.  At the same time, it was meant to bring in a great deal of young and enthusiastic employees.  The funding for this though, in my opinion, was kind of wonky.  The DLI program was funded from 2008-2012 to bring in around 300 FS officers per year.  From 2009-2011, USAID has done just that.  I think the number of new Junior and Mid-Level DLIs combined is close to 800 (I am sure a more informed DLI will correct this if it is wrong).  However, 2012 has become more difficult for the agency.

As we all know, funding cuts are all the rage in DC, and since foreign aid is always contentious, USAID has scaled back their planned hiring for the end of 2011 and 2012.  That being said, if there was a need in a certain backstop, I am sure they would bring in more DLIs, but based on my limited knowledge, if you aren't currently in the hiring pool it might be very difficult to come in under the DLI program.  They are only looking to bring in a couple more DLI classes in 2012 (40 people or so in a class).  Even the USAID website, which is generally up to date,, is advertising no JO vacancies.

But what is the future?  I hope the Agency will figure out that the way to avoid having to bring in these mass amounts of people is to continue to slowly bring on JOs and Mid Level FS officers.  However, based on my understanding, there isn't a plan at the moment.

So Faith, if I were you, I would keep an eye on the USAID site for FS positions, but also scour the web for Personal Service Contract posts.  These are all over the world and they are ALWAYS looking for well qualified people.

I love USAID!  I also love what we do and stand for, and I heavily encourage anyone who wants to get in to have patience and keep applying.!


  1. Thanks a lot for this post Whitney! It's good to know the background of DLI funding and its current situation. I'm also happy to read that you are so positive about USAID, that is definitely not always the case with government workers and their "parent organizations."

    The Personal Service Contract posts idea is a good one that I hadn't considered before, so I'll have to start keeping an eye out for those. I'm also considering taking the FSOT for an Econ Officer spot at State since it appears that their hiring is perhaps a bit more consistent.

    Whatever happens I'll keep an eye out for when USAID starts to hire JOs and Mid Levels in the future.



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