Energy Department Staff and the 2010-2011 Class of Student Ambassadors.

The traditional college recruitment model usually involves a recruiter swinging through campus, collecting resumes and meeting with a blur of students – mainly those who went out of their way to meet with the recruiter in the first place. And while this one day recruitment system has been sufficient for many organizations, the Department of Energy’s Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer is determined to do better.

Their desire to enhance the recruiting process led them to create the Student Ambassadors program, a program in which college students learn about the Department directly from their own peers over the course of an entire academic year instead of from an outside recruiter during a one day blitz.

An Ambassador’s purpose is to educate, engage, and eventually recruit proactive students into the many office fields within the Department of Energy. This year, Ambassadors are exploring four additional objectives to more effectively brand the DOE on their particular campuses. The first two are energy and environmental conservation, where Ambassadors team up with current student organizations on campus and manage events ranging from presentations on energy-saving tips to emission-free bike rallies. The other two targets focus on green jobs and market transformation, where Student Ambassadors can offer tours of local green businesses and showcase the benefits of shopping green. By changing their purchases in a small way, students can collectively shift whole markets in the economy and help consumers realize their own potential to influence the market.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), has been one of the key contributors to the program’s success. According to Cathy Zoi, the Assistant Secretary for EERE, in order for the Department of Energy to lead the way in energy innovation, one of our core goals must be to recruit young talent that will transition us into a clean energy economy. The Student Ambassadors program uses the power of peer-to-peer social networking to build the DOE’s “talent pipeline” so we can recruit and hire the best and the brightest.

The eight members of the 2010-2011 class of Ambassadors recently underwent a one day orientation session at Department of Energy headquarters in Washington, DC, where they learned how to begin establishing those connections and building that pipeline. Foundations that will only be expanded in the years to come.

If you’d like to follow in their footsteps or simply want to learn more about how college students can get involved with the Department of Energy, look out for a DOE Student Ambassador on your campus or in your region.

Rachel Blazucki is an Intern with the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer at the Department of Energy