b'recognizes that the issues of the 21st century require a diverse workforce with a broader range of skills, education and experience than in the past. Of course, every member institution of the IC has its own specialized training programs for candidates, but coming into these with some experience, as noted above, can make a candidate more competitive in the hiring process. One excellent way to get some idea of work in the national security arena is through an internship in one of the government agencieseither in the Washington Metropolitan area or somewhere else around the nation. Many agencies offer internships, be they summer-only programs, graduate school part-time programs, or even programs lasting a year or longer. Internships, and the opportunity for networking that they provide, can be an effective means to get a foot in the door, gain some experience, and see what working in the government is all about. Some of these internships require a security clearance, although usually not a top-level one. Such clearances can provide a head start in what is usually a long process. The AFIO website (www.afio.com) lists some useful guidance regarding security clearances under the link to Careers. Another avenue to national security work is through employment with one of the many contractors who supply services to the government. Most of these companies require security clearances, and even if you start with the lowest clearanceconfidentialit is quite possible to work your way up to Secret and Top Secret. Many employees of contracting companies work within government spaces, affording a close look of what a government position might entail. Im looking for a career that wont be obsolete before my student loans are paid off11'