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The US Office of Personnel Management announced a rule change for the Pathways Program taking effect Tuesday, June 11, 2024, expanding opportunities for AmeriCorps members and alumni. Now, individuals with or without degrees who have completed their AmeriCorps term of service are eligible to participate in the Pathways Recent Graduates and Interns programs, providing opportunities for paid work in agencies to kickstart their careers in the federal government.

Joey Heavner, a former pathways program presidential management fellow at AmeriCorps, shares how the Pathways Program can benefit AmeriCorps members during the agency’s 30th anniversary pathways to employment month. 

1. What is the Pathways Program?

The federal government uses the Pathways Program to hire individuals in the early stages of their careers. Participants receive a variety of benefits, including noncompetitive conversion to a term or permanent job in the federal civil service upon completion of their program. The Pathways Program offers opportunities for training, mentorship, and temporary assignments with other agencies—all of which can help you grow as a professional. 

2. How did you first learn about the Pathways Program?

I first heard about the Pathways Program from my classmates while completing my Master of Public Policy degree at the University of Maryland. While I wasn’t initially considering a career in the federal government, the idea grew on me throughout my education program. I worked for a few years in nonprofit organizations, so the opportunity to serve and make a positive impact appealed to me.

3. How has your career advanced since you started the program?

I used to work as an accountant, and my days were monotonous. I felt disconnected from the impact of my work. So, I went back to school to pivot to a more dynamic and relationship-oriented position. I couldn’t have imagined a better fulfillment than my experience with the Pathways Program. 

Through the program, I developed a passion for helping others find their own path to a successful career. A key part of my fellowship was my temporary detail at AmeriCorps, which focused on the intersection of national service and workforce development. My supervisor invested a tremendous amount in my professional development. I was able to attend a conference where I learned much more about national service programs and co-presented a workshop. That experience deepened my passion for helping others find the right career path for themselves. 

After completing the program, I secured a permanent position as a program analyst in the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

Joey Heavner - AmeriCorps 30: Creating New Pathways to Employment
Joey Heavner - AmeriCorps 30: Creating New Pathways to Employment

4. What do you need to succeed in the Pathways Program?

A dedication to public service is essential. Traits like patience, hard work, and creativity are also crucial to success. People who can bring diverse backgrounds and strengths to the Pathways Program make the federal civil service stronger and our country a better place.

5. Do you have any advice for people looking to enter the Pathways Program?

I would cast a wide net when searching for a role. Take the chance to learn about different federal agencies, even ones that are tangential to your core interests. You might find a perfect role on an amazing team in a place you weren't expecting. 

6. How can national service kickstart careers?

My Pathways Program experience helped me get to where I am today. I love the work I get to do supporting the development of registered apprenticeship programs, providing opportunities to individuals from diverse backgrounds and helping employers in a wide array of industries. Just like AmeriCorps members, individuals who complete their apprenticeships are eligible to participate in the Pathways Program.

AmeriCorps programs are integral to developing meaningful career pathways for AmeriCorps members. To learn about the benefits of AmeriCorps, and to become involved in one of AmeriCorps’ programs focused on career building, visit the Pathways to Employment Fact Sheet.


Joey is a program analyst at the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. He serves in the Strategic Partnerships and Industry Engagement Division in the Office of Apprenticeship.

Joey previously served in the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration's Office of the Assistant Secretary with a focus on workforce development policy and programs, providing communications, external engagement, and project management support to agency leadership. He supported the Employment and Training Administration's “Investing in America” and place-based development portfolios, including the “Good Jobs, Great Cities” initiative.

Prior to joining the Department of Labor, Joey completed a Master of Public Policy program at the University of Maryland, gaining experience in climate and sustainability work, impact investing, and communications. Before entering graduate school, he worked in the private and nonprofit sectors. In the nonprofit sector, he worked on international economic development through financial inclusion programs in low-resource contexts – microloans, small and medium enterprise lending, and savings groups. In the private sector, Joey was a certified public accountant and served as an internal and external auditor.

Joey lives in Baltimore, Md., with his wife and two-year-old daughter. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, reading, running, cycling, exploring cities, and watching soccer.