Penn, whose real name is Kalpen Modi, campaigned for Barack Obama during the 2008 election, and then went to work for the newly elected president in 2009. He took time off this year to shoot "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas."
ABC News said Penne returned to work as a political aide Monday.
"The White House is pleased to have Kalpen Modi join the Office of Public Engagement as an Associate Director," White House spokesman Shin Inouye said in a statement. "While OPE works collectively on conducting outreach to the American public and various organizations, he will be the point person for those in the Arts, Youth, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities."
Penn's previous political job was also in the OPE, ABC said.
The actor attended a performing arts high school before going to UCLA to study film and sociology. He has said he started taking online international studies classes through Stanford University in 2006.
Newt Gingrich fires back at Mandela backlash
N.J. man wakes up from 10-hour sleep with knife in back