Joe Davidson's Federal Diary

By Joe Davidson
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Luis E. Arreaga got right to the point.

"We are hiring.

We are hiring.

We are hiring."

Arreaga, director of the State Department's office of recruitment, examination and employment, was speaking to a large room full of hopefuls at a job fair last week at the Ronald Reagan Building. It was sponsored by Devex, which provides recruiting services for international development agencies.

Arreaga's message essentially was repeated in a cable that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent to Foreign Service officers on Saturday, as my colleague Karen DeYoung reported yesterday. But while Clinton's cable spoke about the need to "surge" the number of officers in Afghanistan, Arreaga is trying to find people to go all over the world.

And he's not alone.

Officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the government's Millennium Challenge Corp., which provides services in targeted poor countries, also were there to recruit people who can help define President Obama's foreign policy.

USAID, Uncle Sam's foreign assistance agency, plans to double, to 2,200, its ranks of foreign service officers by 2012.

"We have never hired like this before," Tom Davis, USAID's outreach and marketing chief, told a panel discussion at the fair.

Davis said his agency is looking for people in many areas, including health, finance and contracting. USAID plans to hire more than 300 people this year.

"We do not have enough officers to administer all those programs," he said. "We do not have enough foreign service officers overseas."

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