Student Trainee (Clerical)
Department Of Agriculture - Alexandria, VA

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Would you like to help serve fellow Americans while being exposed to the work of a Federal Career, including experience with solid work assignments that will help you grow professionally through training and mentorship? If your answer is YES , the Pathways Program is for you! This new program offers students the opportunity to be exposed to Federal Government work through exciting internship opportunities.

The mission of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is to increase food security and reduce hunger in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low-income people with access to food, a healthy diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence.

FNS provides excellent opportunities for specialized training through its own facilities and outside resources. Career guidance and on- and off-the-job training programs are tailored to an individual employee's needs. If you want to apply your knowledge and skills to food program activities that seek to strengthen America, there is a challenging and rewarding career waiting for you with FNS!

This position is located at 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria VA.

*FNCS is not metro accessible.

Key Information:
  • This position is a Temporary Internship position not to exceed one year.
  • Click "Print Preview" to review the entire announcement before applying.
  • We offer opportunities for flexible work schedules.
  • You must be at least 16 years of age.
  • You must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0.
  • You must be a US Citizen or *US National.
  • Click "Print Preview" to review the entire announcement before applying.
*Non-citizens may be hired in the USDA Pathways Programs provided that the individual is lawfully admitted to the United States as a permanent resident or is otherwise authorized to be employed and the agency is authorized to pay aliens under its annual appropriations or other applicable laws. Program participants must be United States citizens to be eligible for noncompetitive conversion to the competitive service. (Optional for applicable mission areas).

For more information please visit

Program Requirements:

If selected, you must 1) sign a Pathways Internship Program agreement; 2) provide official documentation of enrollment and registration; 3) provide verification of academic status (transcript) at the end of each academic semester/quarter; 4) participate in the mentoring program; complete 40 hours of professional development training; prepare and implement an Individual Development Plan; 5) maintain satisfactory performance; and 6) complete 640 hours of work experience in order to be considered for conversion to a Career or -conditional appointment. You may be made permanent upon graduation if you meet all qualifications, eligibility, and educational requirements and be recommended for conversion by your supervisor.
DUTIES: This position is located within Administration for Special Nutrition Programs and work with the USDA Farm to School Team. The USDA Farm to School Team, which is led by the Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) in concert with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) exists to support local and regional food systems by promoting, developing and cementing alliances between schools and regional and local food producers of all kinds. USDA endeavors to ensure that American school children have daily access to regionally sourced foods; the Farm to School initiative connects schools (K - 12) with regional or local farms in order to facilitate the delivery of healthy meals using locally produced foods.

As a Student Trainee (Clerical), you will:
  • Identify, analyze, and recommend solutions to problems in work processes or workload distribution.
  • Utilize fact-finding and investigative techniques to gather clear-cut factual evidence regarding the compliance with regulations.
  • Conduct position management studies of clerical, trades, technician, and administrative support positions within a single organizational component at the operating level.
  • Plan, coordinate, and carry out the successive steps in fact-finding and analysis of issues required to complete each phase of assigned projects.
  • Prepare narrative reports containing statements of the issues/problems, background, observations, options for change, and make recommendations for action.
In addition to the duties above, the you may perform a wide variety of tasks in order to support the USDA Farm to School Program in general. Such tasks may include: reviewing USDA Farm to School grant applications and identifying trends, data entry and analysis related to the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, research regarding local procurement practices and farm to school programs in general, routine technical assistance and support to state agencies, and other duties as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: You must meet all eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing of the announcement. Do not overstate or understate your level of experience and demonstrated capability. You should be aware that your ratings are subject to evaluation and verification based on the resume and other relevant documents you submit, as well as through verification of references as appropriate. Later steps in the selection process are specifically designed to verify your stated level of experience and demonstrated capability. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you or for dismissing you from the position following acceptance.

Basic Qualifications: You MUST meet the definition of a STUDENT for the duration of your appointment.

The definition of a student is : an individual accepted for enrollment or enrolled and seeking a degree (diploma, certificate, etc.) in a qualifying educational institution, on a full or half-time basis (as defined by the institution in which the student is enrolled), including awardees of the Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship Program under Public Law 93–842. Students need not be in actual physical attendance, so long as all other requirements are met. An individual who needs to complete less than the equivalent of half an academic/vocational or technical course-load immediately prior to graduating is still considered a student for purposes of this Program.

In order to qualify for this position, you must also meet one of the following requirements:

To qualify for the GS-9: Completion of all requirements for a master’s degree or equivalent degree.

Specialized Experience: You must have one year of specialized experience which includes:
  • Experience researching projects related to farm to school initiatives where you had primary responsibility for collecting and analyzing data related to farm to school programming;
  • Working with programs or services directly relevant to local and regional food system theory and practice;
  • Creating white papers or summary reports related to local or regional food systems;
  • Researching regulations and policies related to local and regional food systems;
  • Providing oral presentations to a large audience; and
  • Managing large amounts of data; proficient with database management.

Education: Two years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or master's or equivalent graduate degree or LL.B. or J.D., if related to the position being filled. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent one year of full-time study. If that number cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will satisfy an academic year of graduate study.


Combination of Education and Experience: A combination of qualifying education and specialized experience described above may be used to meet total qualification requirements at the GS-09 level.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: Your application includes your:
  • Resume,
  • Responses to the online questions, and
  • Transcripts - Proof of enrollment (REQUIRED)
  • Cover Letter (RECOMMENDED)
  • We use a multi-step process to evaluate and refer applicants:
    1. Minimum Requirements : Your application must show that you meet all requirements, including the education and/or experience required for this position. You will be found "not qualified" if you do not possess the minimum competencies required for the position. If your application is incomplete, you will not be considered.

    2. Rating : Your application will be evaluated in the following areas:
    • Written and Oral Communication
    • Analytical Skills
    • Technical Skills
    3. Application Review : The hiring manager may review the application of all qualified individuals and make selection(s). We recommend that you preview the online questions for this announcement before you start the application process.

    Veteran’s preference is applied after applicants are assessed. Veterans awarded preference are required by law to be considered before non-preference-eligibles in the applicant pool. Qualified veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or more will be placed at the top of the highest quality category. For more information on veteran’s preference, please click here

    We recommend that you preview the online questions for this announcement before you start the application process.

    To preview questions please click here .

    BENEFITS: We offer a workplace that is respectful, fair, and values diversity. Our comprehensive benefits are very generous - helping you to reach your personal goals by supporting your professional growth, health, well-being, and your family needs. Our benefits package includes:
    • For full-time employees -Ten paid holidays, 13 days of sick leave, and 13 to 26 days of vacation time each year, part-time employees leave is pro-rated;
    • Flexible work schedules;
    • Training and Mentoring opportunities.
    Our comprehensive benefits are some of the most generous. Explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees at:

    • We may select from this announcement or any other source to fill one or more vacancies.
    • Relocation expenses are not authorized.
    • This is a non-bargaining-designated position.
    CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT: If selected for this position, you will be required to:
    • All candidates will be considered without regard to any non-merit reasons such as race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, lawful political affiliation, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, protected genetic information, parental status, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factors.
    • Provide proof of education (transcripts) prior to the job offer; you will be required to submit official transcripts verifying your qualifications prior to a job offer being issued.
    • Complete a probationary period (unless already completed).
    • Complete a Declaration for Federal Employment to determine your suitability for Federal employment.
    • If you are a male applicant born after December 31,1959, certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so.
    • Have your salary sent to a financial institution of your choice by Direct Deposit/Electronic Funds Transfer.
    • Go through a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) process that requires two forms of identification from the Form I-9 . Federal law requires verification of the identity and employment eligibility of all new hires in the U.S.
    • Successfully complete a background investigation. - 17 months ago - save job - block
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