Pathways Internship (Soil Conservationist)
Department Of Agriculture - Smith Center, KS

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Be Remarkable, Make a Difference! Join the Natural Resources Conservation Service team and help us conserve our nation's Natural Resources!! N atural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is known worldwide for its accomplishments and innovations in conservation.

The employees of NRCS are recognized for their talent, dedication, and ingenuity in making the Agency's programs work as they take necessary steps to reduce erosion, protect wildlife, promote good land use, and other measures to preserve the Nation's natural resources for future generations. Join us in protecting and conserving natural resources on American's private land. Visit our web site ( ) to learn more and see why this is such a great place to work.

The Pathways Internship Program is a planned, progressive educational program that provides for the integration of a student's academic studies with target positions in the Federal workforce. Students selected under this Program gain real, paid work experience while pursuing a college degree in a particular career field. We are specifically seeking students who are interested in doing Soil Conservationist work after graduation from college, and have at least 2 summers available to work under the Pathways Program prior to graduation.

These positions are expected to begin in the Spring or Summer of 2013. Students must complete at least 640 work hours under the Program to be eligible for placement upon graduation. At the Agency's option, students who successfully complete all work, study, qualifications, and other eligibility requirements may be offered permanent positions with our Agency upon graduation.

We plan to fill up to 5 vacancies throughout Kansas. Positions are shown in Hays, Kingman, Ness City, Osborne, and Smith Center, Kansas, but may be moved if needed. Applicants must be mobile to all locations throughout Kansas for initial placement, for each summer placement, and also for final placement if offered a permanent position upon graduation from college.

Kansas NRCS is looking for students interested in long-term, permanent employment. Positions are full-time in the summer. Students are normally placed into non-pay status when they return to school each fall, then returned to work the following summer. Students pursuing their Bachelor's degree may be promoted up to the GS-4 level as they progress through the Program, and may be placed in permanent positions at either the GS-5 or GS-7 level (depending on qualifications) when they graduate. If converted to a permanent position after graduation, the full performance level for these positions is GS-09. However, progression to that level is neither guaranteed nor required. Advancement is dependent upon successful performance in the position and satisfaction of time-in-grade and qualification requirements.
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen at least 16 years of age.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • Must complete a background and security investigation.
  • Must have a current, valid State driver's license.
  • Cumulative GPA 2.5+; Higher GPA applicants will be given preference.
  • Must be enrolled/accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking student.

DUTIES: The purpose of the Pathways Program is to provide the intern with exposure to public service, enhance educational experience, and provide financial support to encourage and support educational goals. The program is formally structured to give interns the opportunity to work in positions related to their academic/career goals. Participants will complete assigned duties, tasks, readings, and developmental activities specified in the program. A written participation agreement is required between the Kansas NRCS and the intern. Within 120 calendar days after completing educational requirements and Pathways Program specifics, NRCS may non-competitively promote and convert an intern to a career/career-conditional or term appointment. Conversion is not guaranteed and is based on the need of the agency.

The trainee positions advertised are developmental positions designed to provide intensive and specialized training in the field of work related to the student's major field of study. Work will become increasingly more complex as the student masters skills and assignments and progresses through the program. Specific duties that will prepare you for becoming a professional soil conservationist include:
  • Shadowing soil conservationists to observe methods used in meeting resource conservation needs.
  • Gathering and assembling data for use in basic conservation plans.
  • Performing surveys used for design and preliminary layout work, participating in inspections of construction and making field notes.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: NRCS Pathways Program candidates will meet the qualification requirements consistent with OPM qualification standards applicable to the position being filled.

For GS-01: Current high school student, 16 years of age

For GS-02: High School Diploma or equivalent

For GS-03: Completion of 1 academic year of post-high school study

For GS-04: Completion of 2 academic years of post-high school study or associate's degree

Note: An academic year of undergraduate education is defined as 30 semester hours, 45 quarter hours, or the equivalent in an accredited college or university.

The required education must lead to a bachelor's degree with specialization in or directly related to the field in which the student trainee will particpate in the intern program. The degree of specialization in this field must satisfy on graduation the specific educational requirements in the qualification standard for the corresponding position.

Unofficial transcripts are required to verify educational claims. If a transcript is not provided, the applicant will be disqualified. All academic degrees and course work must be completed at a college, or univeristy that has obtained accreditation or pre-acceditation status from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools that meet this criteria, see .

Many NRCS positions have specific educational requirements, so we encourage you to provide a complete description of your educational achievements in your resume.

In order to be considered for non-competitve conversion upon graduation, applicants will be required to meet the following education requirements.

Soil Conservation, GS-0457, Education Requirements:

Degree: soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering. The study must have included 30 semester hours in a natural resource or agricultural field, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.

Course of Study closely related to Soil Conservation:
  • Agronomy
  • Soil Science
  • Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Natural Resource Conservation
  • Forestry
  • Other Agricultural Disciplines
  • Other Natural Science Disciplines

Pathways Program requirements for an internship with Kansas NRCS:
  • If a high school student, must be at least 16 years of age; or
  • A degree-seeking college student enrolled in at least a half-time courseload at an accredited institution of higher education in a qualifying degree field.
  • A student in good standing and maintaining at least a 2.5 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Available to work at least 2 summers and complete a minimum of 640 hours of work experience prior to graduation.
  • Must be mobile to all locations throughout the State of Kansas upon initial placement, subsequent summers, as well as upon graduation.
  • Must sign a formal Pathways agreement, and meet and maintain all eligibility requirements for the Pathways Internship Program throughout participation in the program.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: Your application will be evaluated based upon review of your entire application package, including the responses you provide on the Occupational Questionnaire.

We are specifically seeking and will be selecting students who:
  • Meet all Pathways eligibility requirements
  • Are pursuing degrees that will qualify them for our target positions (Soil Conservationist)
  • Have a demonstrated interest in Agriculture or Natural Resources
  • Demonstrate excellence inside and outside the classroom
Your opportunity for consideration may depend on how thoroughly you have prepared your application. If materials are not received, your application will be evaluated solely on the information available and you may not receive full consideration or may not be considered eligible.

Your application will initially be evaluated and rated under Category Rating and Selection Procedures. We will first review your resume and supporting documentation and compare this information to your responses on the Occupational Questionnaire to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for this position. If qualified, we will further evaluate your application package to assess the quality, depth, and complexity of your accomplishments, experience and education as they relate to the selection factors listed above. You will then be placed in one of the following categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Only those in the Best Qualified category will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration.

Veterans' preference is applied after applicants are assessed. Veterans' preference eligibles who meet the qualification requirements are placed in the appropriate category and are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles. Veteran preference eligibles that have (and document) a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent will be listed in the highest quality category.

BENEFITS: The Federal Government offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System. USDA/NRCS also offers Flexi Work, Tele-work, Transportation Subsidies and a family friendly work environment. The following web address is provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employee. To find out more click

Relocation expenses are not authorized.


Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement:

Veterans Information:

Legal and Regulatory Guidance:

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