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OCR: Office for Civil Rights!
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Working At OCR

image title: Answers to common questions + our FOIA reading roomIn the Office for Civil Rights, we are proud to work on behalf of the nation’s students -- to foster educational excellence and ensure equal access by enforcing federal civil rights laws in our nation’s schools, which serve almost 80 million students annually. As one of the premier civil rights enforcement offices in the federal government, OCR champions the promise of the Department of Education’s mission to promote student achievement and prepare students for global competitiveness. By working at OCR, you will be joining a team of dedicated experts: our attorneys and investigators are on the front line of civil rights enforcement and policymaking, working to remove barriers to students’ full participation in every facet of educational life. Our work touches every school or educational institution that receives federal financial assistance – approximately 97,000 public schools and 7,000 or so colleges and universities – through our offices in the Department’s Washington, DC Headquarters and in 12 regions across the United States.

OCR seeks to recruit, hire and retain a diverse workforce, reflective of the diverse population we serve, in order to best meet the needs of the nation’s students, families, and schools; does not discriminate in its hiring on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, (including transgender status, gender identity and pregnancy), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor; and does not retaliate against applicants for opposing discriminatory practices and/or participating in the discrimination complaint process. Additionally, OCR seeks to foster a diverse and inclusive working environment that accommodates individual differences so that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to merit. For information about career positions currently open, please see “Current Vacancy Announcements”. To submit your resume for consideration for future openings, please read the instructions under “Resume Bank”.


The Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) at the Department of Education maintains a resume bank from which candidates may be selected for consideration to fill vacancies for positions in OCR as they arise. OCR accepts resumes from individuals who are eligible for consideration for noncompetitive hiring via:  Schedule A Persons with Disabilities appointments (5 CFR 213.3102(u)); Veterans’ Recruitment Appointments; Excepted Hiring Authority for Attorneys; and former Peace Corps and Americorps appointees (22 USC 2506).

If you are interested in working at OCR and are eligible for consideration under any of these hiring authorities, please send your resume to OCRJobs@ed.govIn your email, please indicate the type of position as well as the regional office or offices for which you would like to be considered (Enforcement Offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and/or Washington DC; the Program Legal Group in Washington DC, or the Resource Management Group in Washington DC). Office descriptions can be found here.

After submitting your resume, you will receive an email confirming that your resume has been received. OCR will keep your resume on file for possible consideration for 365 days following the date of submission. Please note, however, that the account is not staffed to respond to questions. Should you be selected for consideration, you will be contacted by OCR to confirm your continued interest.  Candidates are also encouraged to check for OCR positions as well.

OCR seeks law students for legal internships throughout the year. OCR offers internships in offices across the country. Most internship opportunities are in OCR’s twelve regional enforcement offices. Some interns also work in the Program Legal Group, which is located in Washington, DC. A description of intern duties in each of these offices follows:

Enforcement Offices
OCR’s twelve regional enforcement offices are located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, the District of Columbia, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and Cleveland. Enforcement offices are primarily responsible for investigating and resolving the thousands of civil rights complaints OCR receives each year, as well as agency-initiated cases, typically called compliance reviews. Enforcement offices also provide technical assistance to help students, advocates, and educational institutions understand their rights and responsibilities under the civil rights laws.

Interns with a regional enforcement office will work with attorneys and investigators on all aspects of our case processing, compliance, and technical assistance activities and will be invited to do many of the same things that OCR’s attorneys do, with appropriate levels of supervision. Interns may help evaluate cases to determine whether OCR has jurisdiction, conduct interviews, request and review data, monitor recipients' implementation of previously signed resolution agreements, shadow mediations, conduct on-site visits, and more.

Program Legal Group
OCR’s Program Legal Group (PLG), located in Washington, DC, develops legal policy guidance on the laws enforced by OCR. One of PLG’s functions is to provide direct legal and policy support to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. PLG also regularly coordinates with and provides direct case-specific legal and policy guidance to the Office of the Assistant Secretary and OCR’s twelve enforcement offices on cases of first impression, cases that raise controversial issues, or matters of nationwide significance or interest. PLG also has responsibility for developing and providing technical assistance to individuals, schools, and other members of the public. Furthermore, PLG is responsible for administering the Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC).

PLG legal interns will work closely with civil rights attorneys and staff on a variety of assignments and special projects. This may include conducting legal and policy research on laws governing civil rights and education, drafting legal memoranda and responses to public inquiries, reviewing and commenting on the Department’s and other agencies’ draft regulations and guidance, and assisting in developing and drafting non-regulatory substantive guidance.

Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC)
The CRDC Team, located in Washington, DC, carries out the administration of the CRDC, a mandatory, biennial survey of the nation’s public schools that gathers information on student access to courses, programs, staff, and school climate factors, such as student discipline. Interns will work closely with statisticians and other program staff on a variety of assignments and special projects related to the CRDC. Interns work directly with CRDC staff and leadership and will have the opportunity to attend meetings and events on a range of topics.

Interns can expect to conduct research on education issues and policies related to civil rights laws and enforcement, conduct data analyses, review and comment on statistical reports, draft technical documents and responses to public inquiries, and assist in developing and drafting technical and statistical reports for lay audiences.

For legal internships -- completion of at least the first year of study at an accredited law school prior to commencement of the internship, and in academic good standing at the time of application.

For CRDC internships -- currently matriculating at an undergraduate or graduate institution, working towards a degree, and in academic good standing at the time of application. Candidates with strong skill sets in research, data analytics, communication, and writing are preferred.

Compensation: Volunteer (without compensation). Course credit is available depending upon school requirements. OCR is unable to host paid internships at this time.

Internship/Externship Opportunities:
OCR accepts internship applications on a rolling basis and reviews them year-round. Application deadlines for each office and office-specific notes are indicated on the table below. Unless otherwise specified, application windows close on July 14th for fall positions, November 1st for spring positions, and March 21st for summer positions.

Please note that OCR offices, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary and regional enforcement offices, may accept internship applications through different or additional channels than listed below.

Application Materials: 
To apply for a non-legal CRDC internship with Program Legal Group, please email a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to by the dates outlined above and include “Program Legal Group – CRDC Internship” in the subject line. Additional application materials may be required at a later date.

To apply for a legal internship with Program Legal Group or an Enforcement Office, please email a resume, cover letter, unofficial transcript, and writing sample to each office in which you are interested in a position and include “[Office Name] – [Term] Legal Internship” in the subject line. Additional application materials may be required at a later date. Although we will accept applications for legal internships until the dates outlined above, we may make hiring decisions on a rolling basis.

Email Address
Application Timelines/Office Specific Notes
Program Legal Group
Summer: Rolling until January 31st

Fall: Rolling until April 30th

Spring: Rolling until October 31st
Kansas City
Summer: Rolling until January 2nd

Boston does not host interns during the fall or spring semesters.
Summer: Rolling until March 1st
Washington, D.C.
San Francisco
Summer: Rolling until January 31st

Cleveland does not host interns during the fall or spring semesters.
New York

Last Modified: 11/28/2023