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Public Policy and Administration


Dianne Williams


In the U.S. federal government, low retention levels of minority millennial interns i.e., women and men of color, in the Honors Internship Program have reinforced a lack of diversity and the negative image associated with some federal organizations. Although researchers have examined aspects of this issue, they have not yet examined minority interns’ perspectives on why they chose not to accept a position with the federal government after completing the internship program. The purpose of this research was to understand the gap exhibited in low minority retention levels in federal organizations in relation to minority millennial inclusivity from the perspective of the individuals who completed the honors internship program. This gap was best explored using a qualitative approach and supported by Cox’s theory on creating the multicultural organization. Individual interviews were conducted with 10 minority millennial participants who had completed their internship program. The aim was to ascertain and analyze, through manual coding of the meaningful data, their perspectives on the diversity phenomenon. The data analysis revealed six themes: motivation to serve, expectations of interns, internship challenges, realized rewards, realities of finances, and beyond financial. This research has the potential to facilitate positive social change by informing policy makers and human resources (HR) professionals about recruiting policies that impact minority retention. Improving minority retention could result in a more accurate representation of the communities that host these federal organizations.

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