In 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.gov. In 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 OCRJobs@ed.gov 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 www.usajobs.gov for OCR positions as well.
OCR seeks law students for part-time and full-time 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 Office of the Assistant Secretary, the Headquarters Enforcement Team, and the Program Legal Group, which are located in Washington, DC. A description of intern duties in each of these offices follows:
Regional 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. Enforcement offices also propose, investigate and resolve agency-initiated cases, typically called compliance reviews, which permit OCR to target resources on discrimination that appears particularly acute. 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 an enforcement office will work with attorneys and investigators on all aspects of our case processing, compliance, and technical assistance activities, including, for example, gathering information from complainants and educational institutions, interviewing relevant parties, performing on-site visits of educational institutions, and completing legal research and writing projects.
Headquarters Enforcement Team: The Headquarters Enforcement Team coordinates the program operations and resource management of OCR’s twelve regional enforcement offices. Interns in the Headquarters Enforcement Team will work directly with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and the national Enforcement Directors, who coordinate OCR’s national enforcement efforts. These interns will deal with cases as they rise in priority level, as well as particularly complex compliance reviews.
Office of the Assistant Secretary
The Office of the Assistant Secretary oversees all of the responsibilities for OCR, serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Education on civil rights matters, sets the priorities in OCR's strategic plan, provides program objectives for OCR's national enforcement docket, and manages OCR's Congressional liaison and public information activities. Interns in the Office of the Assistant Secretary will be asked to work on special projects regarding existing and emerging civil rights issues, including legal and policy research, communications, and stakeholder outreach. Interns work directly with national OCR leadership and will have the opportunity to attend meetings and events on a range of civil rights topics. Interns can expect to develop several legal and policy memos over the course of the semester as well as talking points and other briefing materials for the Assistant Secretary.
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. 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 the Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). In PLG, each intern 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. Interns who work on CRDC-related projects may also have the opportunity to conduct data analyses, review and comment on statistical reports, draft technical memoranda, and assist in preparing CRDC surveys, and technical and statistical reports for lay audiences.
Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) Team: Interns will work closely with program staff and statisticians 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 memoranda 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 first year at 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 knowledge and skills in a full range of statistical theories and techniques, including methods for collecting, computing, and analyzing large-scale data sets; and applying statistical techniques such as measurement of central tendency, dispersion, skewness, correlation, analysis of variance, and tests of significance, are preferred.
Compensation: Volunteer (without compensation). Course credit is available depending upon school requirements.
Application Deadline: OCR is currently accepting applications for summer 2022 legal internships. OCR is also accepting applications for summer 2022 CRDC internships.
To apply for a summer 2022 legal internship with the Program Legal Group, please email a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to OCRDCInterns@ed.gov by February 28, 2022 and include Program Legal Group – Legal Internship in the subject line. Additional application materials may be required at a later date. Although we will accept applications for summer 2022 legal internships until February 28, 2022, we may make hiring decisions on a rolling basis.
To apply for a summer 2022 CRDC internship with the Program Legal Group, please email a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to OCRDCInterns@ed.gov and include Program Legal Group – CRDC Internship in the subject line. Additional application materials may be required at a later date.
To apply for an internship in the Office of the Assistant Secretary, the Headquarters Enforcement Team, or the DC Metro Enforcement Office, please email a cover letter, resume, transcript, and writing sample OCRDCInterns@ed.gov with the name of the office where you would like to work in the subject line of the message (e.g., "Office of the Assistant Secretary").