Presidential Department Descriptions
The Office of Cabinet Affairs
This office is the primary liaison between the President and his Cabinet. The office coordinates communications, policy, and logistics between the White House and the Cabinet, as well as managing issues that affect multiple federal agencies. Staff in the Cabinet Affairs office are in daily communication with members of the Cabinet and senior agency staff. The staff includes the Cabinet Secretary, the Deputy Cabinet Secretary, three Deputy Directors, and a Special Assistant. Interns will work with staff to facilitate office operations and implement all activities.
—Office of Cabinet Affairs Intern
The White House Communications Department
The Communications Department crafts the message that the President delivers to the country. Through speeches and even newspaper articles in your hometown paper, the Communications Department keeps the country informed. You will learn about and work with different areas of the media – speechwriting, regional press, surrogate press, and message/event planning. Interns should possess an interest in media, speechwriting and researching, or communications. The work in the department is fast-paced, challenging, and diverse, and it is an exciting place to learn!
—Communications Department Intern
Domestic Policy Council
The Domestic Policy Council supervises the development, coordination, and execution of domestic policy in the White House. The Domestic Policy Council also offers advice to the President and represents his priorities to Congress. Policy teams within the Domestic Policy Council include:
- Education: This team helps formulate and implement the President’s education agenda with the goal of realizing his commitment to providing every child access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career.
- Energy and Climate Change: This team works to support President Obama’s energy and climate change agenda by working closely with a variety of government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of the Interior. In addition, the team works closely with a broad array of stakeholders to identify new opportunities to create green jobs, reduce dependence on oil, and transition to a new clean energy economy.
- Health: This team provides leadership to the executive branch as it implements the Affordable Care Act, the health reform legislation signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. They also coordinates the executive branch activities on public health issues with the American public, stakeholder groups, and state and local governments.
- Immigration: This team helps to develop strategies and policies to carry out President Obama’s commitment to fixing our broken immigration system through comprehensive reform. The team is also focused on strengthening border security, developing smarter, more effective enforcement strategies, improving our legal immigration system, reforming our detention system, promoting immigrant integration, and supporting our immigration courts.
- Native American Affairs: This team helps develop and implement federal policies related to the President’s commitment to strengthen federal-tribal relations, and to assist American Indian and Alaska Native communities throughout the United States on issues including health care, education, energy, criminal justice, housing, natural resources, and transportation.
- Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships: This office works with 12 affiliated centers in federal agencies to address priority areas: making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery; supporting women and children, addressing teenage pregnancy, and reducing the need for abortion; supporting fathers and encouraging responsible fatherhood; and fostering interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
- Office of National AIDS Policy: This team coordinates the continuing efforts of the government to reduce the number of HIV infections across the United States. The Office of National AIDS Policy emphasizes prevention through wide-ranging education initiatives and helps coordinate the care and treatment of citizens with HIV/AIDS.
- Rural Affairs: This team takes the lead in coordinating federal policy with respect to rural issues. These include farming and agriculture policy and focus on improving the economic and quality of life of rural areas. The Rural Affairs team also works in collaboration with federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture.
- Social Innovation and Civic Participation: This team helps catalyze action by citizens, non-profits, foundations, and the private sector to lead change in communities across America and make progress on several key priority areas, including health care, education, poverty, and energy conservation. Social Innovation and Civic Participation does this through a social innovation fund and partnerships with federal agencies, public-private partnerships that catalyze action, and new media tools that increase civic participation, and by expanding national service.
- Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity: This team works to advance the President’s Ladders of Opportunity agenda. The President believes that everyone should have a fair chance at success — that, no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to find a good job, feel secure in your community, and support a family. Tying together issues in criminal justice, civil rights, labor and employment, housing and community development, and human services, the Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity team is working to make sure that everyone in America has a fair shot.
Domestic Policy Council interns are assigned to a specific policy team or office. Interns complete daily substantive research projects on current policy and legislation. Interns write background briefings, policy memos, and fact sheets for senior policy staff. Interns collect and analyze news clips and track websites relevant to the team to which they report. Domestic Policy Council interns also assist with administrative functions, including responding to outside inquiries, managing meeting requests and invitations, assisting in the drafting of correspondence, and helping plan and organize logistics for meetings and events.
Domestic Policy Council interns come from a variety of backgrounds with many skill sets. Excellent writing, research, and interpersonal skills are essential. Previous policy experience and quantitative analysis experience are pluses. Candidates with organizing and outreach experience are also encouraged to apply.
—Domestic Policy Council Intern
National Economic Council
The National Economic Council was established in 1993 to advise the President on U.S. and global economic policy. The National Economic Council has four principal functions: to coordinate policymaking for domestic and international economic issues, to coordinate economic policy advice for the President, to ensure that policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President's economic goals, and to monitor implementation of the President's economic policy agenda. The work of the National Economic Council covers various fields including healthcare, energy, housing, agriculture, commerce, financial markets, fiscal policy, labor, and Social Security. Interns will help with research, scheduling requests, administrative support, and meeting coordination. Interns will enjoy the opportunity to work closely with staff doing in-depth research and logistics.
—National Economic Council Intern
Office of Digital Strategy
The Office of Digital Strategy uses digital platforms to amplify the President’s message and engage with citizens around the country online. From WhiteHouse.gov and the “We the People” petitions platform to White House social media presences on sites including Twitter and Facebook, the Office is engaged on a range of key issues. Interns in the Office of Digital Strategy generally focus on one the following areas:
- Content: Drafts and copy edits content for the White House blog and other online properties with a Content Management System (CMS)
- Engagement: Drafts material for the web and social media properties, produces analytics reports, helps setup and test outgoing emails
- Video: Assists in the production and editing of White House video content, including feature videos and the weekly series “West Wing Week”
- Development: Works with development team to update WhiteHouse.gov pages and other properties, including mobile apps and Facebook.
The work in the Office of Digital Strategy is fast-paced, challenging, and creative.
—Office of Digital Strategy Intern
The White House Office of Legislative Affairs
The Office of Legislative Affairs serves as the President's primary liaison to the United States Congress, and is responsible for advancing the President’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill. Every day, the Legislative Affairs team is on the front lines, working with Senators, Representatives, and their staffs to promote the President’s priorities. Since President Obama came to office, the Legislative Affairs team has helped spearhead the effort to pass several critical bills, including legislation to turn around our economy, expand children’s access to health care, protect consumers from mortgage fraud, ban abusive credit card fees, ensure equal pay in the workplace, and protect children from the dangers of smoking. Interns will work alongside staff members in our Senate and House liaison offices by helping notify Senators and Representatives about Administration initiatives, assisting with research on legislation and floor activity, staffing legislative events, and serving as an initial point of contact for Members of Congress.
The Office of Management and Administration
White House Management and Administration offers important operational and administrative support for the President of the United States and the White House Office and administrative oversight to components of the Executive Office of the President. An internship in White House Management and Administration presents unique insights and learning experiences for future public service executives. Interns in this department will have the unique opportunity to perform a function or supporting role that touches a wide range of offices and staff. Management and Administration interns are assigned to a specific office within the department. Because each office provides a distinct opportunity, we encourage applicants to note interest in a particular office.
- White House Photo Office: Programming in the White House Photo Office is geared toward candidates who are looking to build leadership skills in photography and photo journalism. This office is responsible for photographically documenting and capturing the history of the Presidency. Specific intern responsibilities include photographing open press events, editing photos, maintaining the photo database, and assisting with various logistical and administrative tasks.
- White House Visitors Office: The Visitors Office is driven, motivated, and inspired by the core principle of carrying out President Obama and Mrs. Obama’s vision of making the White House the "most open and accessible in history" and truly making it the People’s House. This office hosts events that are open to families across the country and heads up all tours inside the Residence. Interns in the Visitors Office will play a key role in seasonal events, Garden Tours, and sporting events on the lawn, as well as aiding in the day-to-day functions of the office. Candidates with great organizational skills and event experience are encouraged to apply.
- White House Operations: Also known as "Room One," White House Operations facilitates the needs of staff members and departments from the President on down. From organizing programming, to answering questions generated by staff, to improving on existing processes such as recycling and renovation, we help the White House run! As an intern in White House Operations, you will gain an excellent understanding of what goes on within the White House on a day-to-day basis as well as the role each department plays.
- White House Personnel: The White House Personnel Office strives to foster connectivity, communication, leadership, and development at the White House. This office also works with new hires, other government employees, and interns at the White House to ensure they have a successful experience when they arrive, while they’re here, and as they leave. Interns who are placed in the White House Personnel Office will have the opportunity to work with many departments and employees in the White House on projects related to these goals.
- White House Management and Administration Front Office: The Management and Administration Front Office is the hub of the department. This office fosters the growth of the other offices within Management and Administration and throughout the White House by facilitating modernization, assisting with special projects, conducting research, setting and communicating policies, and implementing programs that foster connectivity and community. The Front Office also houses White House Services, which oversees security and access to the complex, as well as the management of the White House telecommunication system. Programming in the Front Office is geared towards building leadership skills in project and program management.
—Office of Management and Administration Intern
Office of Political Strategy and Outreach
The Office of Political Strategy and Outreach provides the President and Senior Staff with information about the political environment to help advance the President’s agenda and coordinates constituent outreach efforts on behalf of the President. Interns in this office will assist in editing draft memos, compiling data for presentations, and assembling news clips from various outlets and newspapers.
The Office of Presidential Correspondence
The Office of Presidential Correspondence plays a key role in facilitating an open dialogue between the President and the American people. The office’s mission is to listen to and understand constituents’ views, experiences, and ideas, and coordinate a response on behalf of the President. Members of the Office of Presidential Correspondence receive and reply to: letters and email; calls coming into the White House Comment Line; gifts sent to the First Family; requests for Presidential proclamations, messages, and greetings; and requests for assistance throughout the Federal Government. The office also provides the President with a daily sample of 10 letters to help keep him in touch with the diverse ideas and experiences of Americans across our country.
—Office of Presidential Correspondence Intern
The White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs
This office is responsible for building relationships with advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, and all currently elected state officials. The Office of Public Engagement is also the primary channel through which the general public relates to the White House. Staffers in OPE/IGA consistently work with elected officials and advocates to ensure the President's agenda is supported and continually pushed not only inside the Beltway but in all areas of the country. Interns with this office will work alongside staff members to build new and maintain current relationships with state elected officials and national advocacy leaders, prepare for presidential trips around the country, prepare for elected and advocacy group briefings in the White House, and assist in all other facets of advancing the President's agenda.
—Office of Public Engagement Intern
The Office of the First Lady
The Office of the First Lady aids Mrs. Obama in all aspects of her public life. The staff is divided into six departments: Chief of Staff, Policy, Communications, Scheduling, Correspondence, and the Social Office. As an intern you could work with staff to develop Mrs. Obama's role in important policy issues, help manage the First Lady's hectic schedule, respond to the many letters she receives, or assist in planning the many events hosted by the First Lady, ranging from musical events to State Dinners. Interns should look forward to policy research, managing and executing events or projects, and assisting a team of correspondence volunteers.
—Office of the First Lady Intern
The Office of the Vice President
Each of the departments housed within the Office of the Vice President supports the Vice President’s work as an advisor to the President, a diplomat, and the President of the Senate. The Office of the Vice President maintains solid relationships with the members of the United States Congress to promote the administration’s legislative priorities on Capitol Hill. The Office of the Vice President also develops policy options on a wide range of issues from foreign policy and national security to economic recovery and housing. Additionally, the Office of the Vice President handles all of the Vice President’s correspondences, speechwriting, events, scheduling, and travel.
- Office of Dr. Biden in the Office of the Vice President
- The Office of the Counsel to the Vice President
- National Security Affairs in the Office of the Vice President
- The Vice President's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Communications Office in the Office of the Vice President
- Advance Office for the Vice President
- Department of Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Vice President
- The Office of Scheduling for the Vice President
- Economic Policy Department in the Office of the Vice President
- Domestic Policy Department in the Office of the Vice President
- Office of Administration in the Office of the Vice President
- Office of the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Vice President
—Office of the Vice President Intern
The Office of White House Counsel
This office advises the President, the Office of the President, and the White House staff on all legal issues pertaining to the President and the White House. It is often said that the office sits at the intersection of law, policy, and politics. The office advises on investigations, litigation, legislative and administrative proposals, policy initiatives, and judicial nominations, as well as providing legal advice on the myriad of questions that arise in the day-to-day work of the Executive Office of the President.
—Office of White House Counsel Intern
The White House Office of Presidential Personnel
The Office of Presidential Personnel oversees the selection process for Presidential appointments. Presidential Personnel staff members work to recruit qualified candidates to serve the President in departments and agencies across the government. Interns in Presidential Personnel will work with staff to respond to candidates, communicate with departments and agencies on personnel matters, and ensure that the personnel priorities of the administration are being addressed. Long-term projects will involve recruiting and researching potential candidates.
—Office of Presidential Personnel Intern
White House Department of Scheduling and Advance
The Office of Appointments and Scheduling, the Office of Advance, and the Travel Office compose the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance, which coordinates the travel itineraries for President Obama and the White House Press Corps, as well as the planning and preparation that go into supporting the President at events around the country and world. Interns can expect to work within all three components of the department and will contribute to the coordination of Presidential travel, the execution of events, and the review and consideration of scheduling invitations addressed to President Obama. Preparing the President's schedule and ensuring a successful Presidential visit requires frequent interaction with the full range of White House offices, federal agencies, and local, state, and media entities. Interns for the Office of Scheduling and Advance join a committed and efficient team that plays an immediate role in the functioning of the Presidency.
—Department of Scheduling and Advance Intern
White House Fellows
Founded in 1964, the White House Fellows program is one of America's most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. White House Fellowships offer exceptional young men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government.
Selected individuals typically spend a year working as a full-time, paid Fellow to senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors, and trips to study U.S. policy in action both domestically and internationally. Fellowships are awarded on a strictly non-partisan basis.