Yes, you can attend that career event, says the U.S. government
Graduate students and postdocs: You now have official permission from the U.S. government to attend that career event.
That’s the message of a recent policy clarification from the Council on Financial Assistance Reform, which was created in 2011 by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The clarification states that graduate students and postdocs hold “dual roles” as both trainees and employees. As a trainee, not just an employee, you are authorized to spend time away from the lab to develop other important skills, even when you are supported by federal funds. We’ve included the OMB language, from this document, in a box at the end of this article, for your reference. Feel free to send a link to your adviser; apparently some advisers still aren’t convinced.