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The need for multilingual workers in roles across the government sector—from national security and intelligence to diplomacy and the military—is both urgent and growing. Language-proficient professionals make a difference protecting justice, saving lives, and promoting peace.

The Need: Communicating to Better Serve

Despite the constant presence of other languages and cultures in their assignments, we continue to see a lack of robust language skills across government positions, including those in the CIA (reporting about 13 percent proficiency in another language in 20131) and Department of Defense. Furthermore, nearly a full quarter State Department overseas language-designated positions are filled by Foreign Service Officers lacking the requisite language2.

For those seeking to enter the government workforce, language skills have become more than a resume-boosting asset. They are of vital importance to the safety and effectiveness of both the professionals themselves and the citizens they protect and serve. Additionally, when culturally competent and multilingual government workers are able to improve communication between individuals and nations, they play a vital role in shaping our international image and promoting trust and good diplomacy.

Not only will strong language skills help you secure an interview for your dream job, but many times agencies offer hiring bonuses for those proficient in other languages.

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Resources for Getting Started

Many opportunities exist to help fund your preparation for a future career in government service—including support for language learning and study or internships abroad. In addition to funding available through your school or local community, check out federal scholarships.