As a mentor, you are the foundation of a successful education program. We commend you for undertaking this important role of contributing to the education and training of the next generation, as well as advancing the mission of the MLEF program and DOE. Below you will find information we hope will be helpful as you prepare for the arrival of your Participant.

The MLEF provides an educational experience and is not a job or form of employment. The Participant is not an employee, and thus the types of projects for which you can arrange are restricted. For example, the project should not include work activities that are reserved for federal employees, nor should the project require the Participant to provide expert advice; supervise, mentor, hire or fire anyone; have budget, program management or signature authority; carry an official job title; or function in any way as a representative of the federal government.

Participants are expected to perform to the highest level of expectations of the signed agreement to participate in the MLEF program. They agree to the time schedule and the level of professionalism that is expected at their assigned facility. The MLEF Program provides an opportunity for hands-on experience that complements a Participant’s academic course of study. Please encourage your Participant to attend seminars, professional meetings, staff meetings, and other functions that will provide insight into the ways in which professionals interact within your facility and with others.

Program Participants make a full-time commitment and should avoid obligations that will interrupt the appointment. Your Participant should be provided with a project that entails full-time attention (based on 40 hours per week).

Participants do not earn annual or medical leave, but may be allowed occasional absences without a reduction of their stipend. All absences must be approved in advance by you, the mentor, and should be allowed on a limited and as-needed basis only. Be sure to check with the MLEF site coordinator and program manager if you have any questions.

Every effort should be made to make up any missed time. If the missed time cannot be rescheduled or is not permitted without reduction in stipend, ORISE should immediately be informed (either by you or through the MLEF site advisor or program manager). It is imperative that ORISE be quickly notified of any change in a Participant's schedule that will result in a different stipend than regularly received.

For holidays and emergency closings, the Participant follows the same schedule as your facility. Holidays and emergency closings do not affect the stipend amount Participants receive.

Should your Participant choose to end the appointment early, it is essential that you immediately notify ORISE of the Participant’s intent to withdraw before the official end of the program. Your cooperation in making sure that ORISE is always informed (with as much notice as possible) of any schedule changes that may affect the stipend the Participant receives is essential.

  • Before your Participant arrives, provide them with information and reading materials related to the specific project.
  • Work with your program coordinator to ensure your Participant has access to the facility. Arrange for orientation to the facility and its procedures.
  • Be on site the first day of appointment, or designate a substitute to welcome your Participant on your behalf. Introduce them to the appropriate staff members.
  • Provide a nurturing and stimulating intellectual atmosphere.
  • Encourage your Participant to continue their education.
  • Encourage them to work on the written report and any other required deliverables throughout the appointment period and not wait till the end.
  • Leave instructions for your Participant for times when you are unavailable and designate a substitute mentor to serve in your absence.

Because we believe that good mentoring is the cornerstone of quality educational programs, ORISE has developed an online mentor orientation module. The purpose of this module is to provide mentors with information about how to make the most of their mentoring experience. The MLEF program will host a Mentor Orientation in mid-January.

The module addresses the following topics:

  • Deciding to Host a Participant
  • Identifying an Appropriate Project
  • Selecting the Best Person for Your Project
  • Preparing to Host Your Participant
  • Orienting Your Participant on the First Day
  • Providing a Quality Experience
  • Preventing and Solving Problems

To access the orientation module, please visit ORISE Mentor Orientation.

Mentors should:

  • Develop a training plan for your Participant, including the areas of participation in the project, attendance in meetings, conferences, special courses, etc.
  • Clearly define the activities in which your Participant will be involved. Let your Participant know your expectations for progress, professional behavior, compliance, attendance, etc.
  • Assist your Participant in getting settled at your site and in becoming a productive member of your community.
  • Provide the appropriate materials, equipment, safety training, technical and clerical support, and office space for your Participant to conduct the project.
  • Provide ongoing technical guidance and advice.
  • Be accessible.
  • Periodically review the status of your Participant's activities and give appropriate feedback.
  • Approve appropriate absences by your Participant.
  • Make sure that ORISE is immediately informed if a stipend payment needs to be adjusted due to an adjusted schedule, an unpaid absence, or an early termination.
  • Immediately involve ORISE if your Participant demonstrates an inability to function effectively within your environment.
  • Immediately involve ORISE if any concerning incidents occur or if your Participant registers a serious concern.

Mentors should NOT:

  • Consider your Participant an employee for any purpose. Participants receive no salary or fringe benefits, but receive a stipend during their educational experience.
  • Consider your Participant to be performing work.
  • Consider them as rendering advisory or personal services.
  • Consider them as providing expert advice.
  • Consider the appointment as a commitment to future employment by MLEF or others.
  • Consider the appointment as dependent upon the performance of any specific work or the delivery of a product.
  • Assign program management authority, signature authority, or official job titles to your Participant