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Best places to be a fed

Sequester be damned: 4 cities where the government is hiring now

Jul. 22, 2013 - 01:08PM   |  
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You’re getting out, the military is going to pay you for one more move, and the world is your oyster. Even during the government’s budget crunch, those seeking work in the federal government have plenty of options for their next landing pad — especially given the retirements currently sweeping the federal corps. And with special hiring preferences available to them, veterans are among those best positioned to grab one of those coveted spots. Four fed-friendly cities where agencies are looking to expand their local footprint, according to

Washington, D.C.

Who’s hiring

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Secret Service

Army Medical Command

Defense Intelligence Agency

What it offers

Living and working around Washington, D.C., puts the world at your fingertips. With foreign delegations from all over, the city delivers a broad international and ethnic population, with all the diverse restaurants you’d expect (Latin American, Thai) and a few you wouldn’t (Ethiopian, Nepalese). There’s a vibrant arts scene and enough free Smithsonian museums to fill many a wintry weekend afternoon.

As the hometown of the U.S. government, you’ll rub shoulders with fellow feds from every conceivable agency, as well as plenty of former military comrades. And after decades of suburban flight, downtown D.C. is experiencing a strong resurgence, with new housing, entertainment and nightlife blooming in various neighborhoods.

However, your vote won’t count any more — Washington, D.C., has no voting member of Congress — and it’s hardly an inexpensive city. But D.C. has a lot to offer, and it’s within easy driving distance of some of the most interesting destinations on the Atlantic seaboard, from big cities to beach towns to majestic national parks.


Who’s hiring

Veterans Health Administration

Coast Guard

National Institutes of Health

What it offers

Charm City has grown up in recent years. Once a port town in decline, Baltimore now is home to a passel of Fortune 500 companies. Beyond its downtown towers, the city exists as a series of more than 225 distinct neighborhoods, such as Canton, where factories have given way to condos, artist studios, restaurants, bars and shops; and Hampden, which has transcended its 19th-century industrial roots to become a hub of kitschy cool. On The Avenue (36th Street), shops and cafes invite leisurely visits, while barbershops and pharmacies help keep it real.

The spring Honfest celebrates all things Baltimore.

San Diego

Who’s hiring

Veterans Health Administration

Naval Medical Command

Food Safety and Inspection Service

Forest Service

What it offers

Seventy miles of coastline. Endless sunny weather. Museums, food, theme parks, a world-renowned zoo, theater, shopping and a historic downtown. You’ll also find comrades in arms in a city dominated by the presence of the Navy.

But wait, there’s more: In 16 square blocks, the Gaslamp Quarter packs in 100 restaurants, pubs and clubs, making it the hub of San Diego nightlife. Famous La Jolla offers a different take, as one of California’s top beach draws. Surrounded by the sea on three sides and backed by steep slopes, the weather here rarely drops below 50 or tops 90 degrees. With its Mediterranean undertones and upscale casual vibe, “the jewel,” as it is known, has long been a centerpiece of those seeking the eye-popping natural beauty and the mellow groove that are the quintessence of the SoCal experience.


Who’s hiring

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Veterans Health Administration

Internal Revenue Service

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

What it offers

What an underrated city: See the Liberty Bell, grab a cheesesteak and head home? You’ve missed it all.

Nestled into downtown is a quaint and kitschy Chinatown. Interlaced throughout the city is the 9,200-acre Fairmount Park, encompassing 63 neighborhood and regional parks. The Franklin Institute highlights science on a big scale, while the compact Mütter Museum offers case after case of anatomical oddities. (See President Cleveland’s malignant tumor!)

When it comes to living space, diverse neighborhoods offer historic architecture, commercial main streets, loft apartments and ethnic enclaves. You also get D.C., New York and Baltimore within an easy drive.

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