Veterans Innovation Partnership Fellowship Program

History / Mission

On November 9, 2009, Executive Order 13518 established the Veterans Employment Initiative. The Initiative is a strategic approach to helping the men and women who have served our country in the military find employment in the Federal Government. In support of this initiative and in recognition of a veteran’s natural potential as a source of talent for diplomacy and development, the U.S. Department of State launched the Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP) Fellowship, a public-private alliance platform aimed at serving America’s veterans and preparing them for diplomacy and development careers.

The Focus

The VIP Fellowship focuses on three elements of engagement to support veterans’ transition to diplomacy and development careers:

  • Education
    Provides hands-on learning through work in a U.S. Government foreign affairs agency
  • Fellowship
    A talented cohort of fellows forms the foundation of the fellowship class
  • Employment
    Facilitates exposure to career opportunities in diplomacy and development

The Call for Partnership

The U.S. Department of State invites private sector companies, foundations, and civil society organizations to continue to join us in providing broadening career opportunities for American veterans who are interested in foreign affairs and development careers.

The VIP Fellowship provides partners with opportunities to engage with like-minded businesses and organizations in helping veterans transition into careers in international relations. Partners benefit from engaging with a talented cohort of veterans who are placed in various agencies in the federal government.

Eligibility Requirements

VIP Fellowships are open to veterans who have completed a master’s degree in international business, international relations, public policy, public administration, or related fields. Applicants must apply within two years of graduate degree completion, except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who have up to six years after degree completion to apply. Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic developmental program.

How to Apply

To apply to the VIP Fellowship, please provide the following information to

  • A current resume highlighting your education, expertise, achievements and honors, extracurricular activities/community service, language skills, and any leadership experience. The resume should not exceed two pages.
  • A cover letter not to exceed 450 words, which includes your areas of focus i.e. economics, regional affairs, technology, etc.
  • Declaration of Graduate Degree GPA.
  • DD-214 Certificate of Release or Discharge.
  • Please provide, if applicable, your VA Service Connected Disability Rating Letter.

Applications are accepted during certain time frames of the year only. Applications received outside of these dates will not be eligible for consideration. For more details on the application process, visit


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the structure of this program?
Key components include: Twelve-month full-time employment, beginning in the fall each year, alongside mentorship and professional development opportunities throughout the year.

What are the selection criteria?
Criteria include: outstanding leadership and life experiences, as well as demonstrated excellence in academic, cross-cultural, and communication skills.

What is the minimum GPA?
An applicant’s cumulative master’s degree GPA should be 3.2 or above on a 4.0 scale.

Will I need a security clearance?
Participants must receive a Secret security clearance and pass a suitability review. The hosting agency initiates and pays for the background investigation and clearance review. However, applicants must cover fingerprinting, document preparation, and mailing costs. While having a previous security clearance can assist and expedite the review process, a new or revalidated clearance that is specific to the VIP fellow’s agency and position is required.

What is the timeframe of the fellowship?
Contingent upon successful completion of a security investigation and granting of a security clearance, the fellowships will last 12 months from the start date. Please keep in mind that the selection process is competitive since the number of fellowship positions available per year is limited and based upon available funding.

FEDERAL HIRING FREEZE INFORMATION: As a result of the federal hiring freeze, applications for the 2017-2018 Veterans Innovation Partnership Fellowship are not being accepted at this time and the timeline for the selection process has been indefinitely postponed.

Any new guidance or changes to the application process will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

What is the timing of the program?
Applications for a new class are generally accepted in the Spring. Selections are expected to be made within two months for an expected start date in the Fall, pending the granting of a secret level security clearance.

Will compensation be provided?
Fellows are paid as federal employees at the GS-9 level. Salary ranges from $54,972-$71,467 (dependent on previous experience) over the twelve months of VIP Fellowship employment. Relocation expenses are not covered.

Will benefits be provided?
Fellows are offered the opportunity to enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHB). However, these fellowships do not provide life insurance or similar benefits. Housing is also the responsibility of the fellow to obtain.

What are the options for conversion to a Federal job?
The VIP Fellowship is designed to provide experiential learning opportunities and skills that build on a completed Master’s degree. Fellows may pursue careers in the private, as well as public sector, upon completion of the program. This program is not designed to lead to federal employment and does not convey preference in seeking such an appointment, nor does it convey the ability to convert non-competitively to a competitive service federal position. For participants seeking a federal appointment, however, the VIP Fellowship experience may improve their ability to compete for such positions.

To learn more about the VIP program, please visit or contact the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP) at the U.S. Department of State at State Department hiring managers who wish to have a VIP Fellow serve in their Bureaus or Offices should also contact