Student Trainee Recruitment Notice
Department Of Agriculture - Spokane, WA

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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!! Visit our web site (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov) to learn more.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Washington State expects to hire up to 5 Student Trainees under the Pathways Intership Program in 2013. The Pathways Intership Program is a planned, progressive education program that provides for the integration of a student’s academic studies with target positions in the Federal workforce. These internships allow students to gain real, paid work experience while pursuing a college degree in a particular career field. Washington State NRCS is specifically seeking students who are pursuing at least a 4-year degree in Soil Science, Plant Science, Crop Science, Agronomy, Forestry, Rangeland Management, or other closely-related Agricultural or Natural Resources fields; who are interested in doing professional Soil Conservationist work after graduation from college; and who have at least 2 summers available to work under the Pathways program prior to graduation.

THIS IS A RECRUITMENT NOTIFICATION ONLY, NOT A JOB ANNOUNCEMENT. We are posting this notification to let students learn whether NRCS is a good fit for them, and to notify potential applicants of our upcoming recruitment activities. An actual job announcement will be posted on USAjobs in late December; we encourage all interested students to apply at that time.

WHAT IS THE NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE? The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is a Federal agency under the Department of Agriculture. Our mission is to help private landowners conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment. We deliver technical assistance based on sound science and suited to a customer's specific needs. Participation in our programs is voluntary, with cost shares and financial incentives available in some cases. Most work is done with local partners, and our partnership with local conservation districts serves almost every county in the nation, plus the Caribbean and Pacific Basin. Find out more through our website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/ !

HOW DOES THE PATHWAYS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM WORK? These positions will provide hands-on experience for students that is in the specific discipline for which hired and is related to the student's academic program and career goals. Most placements will begin in Spring or Summer, 2013 (depending on student availability). Students must complete at least 640 work hours under the internship to be eligible for placement upon graduation, so we will consider only those students who have at least 2 summers available to work with NRCS prior to 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.

Students must be willing to work in any location in Washington State. Each selected student's initial work location will be determined at time of selection, and work locations will vary each summer as students return to work in the program. Applicants must be mobile to all locations throughout Washington State for initial placement, for each summer placement, and also for final placement if offered a permanent position upon graduation from college.

Positions are full time in the summer and full-time upon successfully meeting the requirements for graduation and the qualifications for the target position. Students are normally placed into non-pay status when they return to school each fall, then returned to work the following summer. Paid leave, life insurance benefits, health benefits, retirement benefits, and other federal benefits are available depending on work schedule. Housing subsidies and/or transportation costs may be offered on a case-by-case basis. 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. The full performance level for these positions is GS-09. If converted to a permanent position, at management’s discretion students may be non-competitively promoted to that level when eligible. 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.

This program is intended for students interested in long-term, permanent employment only . If you are interested in short-term employment or summer employment, please check for other opportunities advertised on the USAjobs website at http://www.usajobs.gov . Because of the 640-hour work requirement, t his program is also not appropriate for college juniors or seniors or those who have already graduated.

KEY REQUIREMENTS

U.S. Citizen

Suitable for Federal Employment, determined by Background Investigation

Enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking student

Mobility is required to all locations in Washington State

Must have a valid Motor Vehicle Operators License

Must have 2 summers available to work prior to graduation

DUTIES:
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.

Soil Conservation Duties

As a Soil Conservationist Student Trainee you will spend time in both the office and in a field environment assisting other NRCS employees in offering conservation planning and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, tribes, and other land users . You will learn about NRCS conservation activities and programs, and the many ways we work to conserve the soil, improve air and water quality, manage nutrients, restore wetlands, and protect and improve wildlife habitat. Some of your duties will include gathering and assembling data for use in basic conservation plans; performing surveys used for design and preliminary layout work; utilizing technical tools to achieve conservation objectives; and participating in the inspection of existing construction projects.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:
To be eligible for this program, applicants must be:
  • A degree-seeking college student enrolled for at least a half-time courseload at an accredited institution of higher education. Major field of study MUST be in Agriculture, Agronomy, Botany, Forestry, Natural Resources, Plant Science, Rangeland Management, Soil Conservation, Soil Science, or another discipline closely related to and qualifying for the position being filled (i.e. Student Trainee Soil Conservationist).
  • A student in good standing and having a record as a student that is in all respects predictive of graduation. Student must maintain at least a 2.0 overall grade point average on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent, and maintain a grade of “C” or better at all times in the major field of study.
  • Graduating from college no earlier than the Fall of 2014;
  • Available to work at least 2 summers and complete a minimum of 640 hours of work experience prior to graduation;
  • Mobile to all locations throughout Washington State upon initial placement, subsequent summers, as well as upon graduation;
  • Interested in long-term permanent employment with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Washington State.
  • Able to meet all physical, medical, security, and Federal eligibility requirements.
In addition to the above program requirements:
  • Applicants at the GS-2 level must have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • Applicants at the GS-3 level must have completed 1 academic year of qualifying/applicable post high school study (1 academic year equals 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours);
  • Applicants at the GS-4 level must have completed 2 academic years of qualifying/applicable post high school study or have completed their Associate’s degree.
Student trainee positions may be made permanent upon graduation if the student meets all qualification, eligibility, and educational requirements and is recommended for conversion by their supervisor. To help you determine whether your degree will be qualifying for conversion, we are listing the educational requirements that must be met by graduation. These educational requirements are absolute. Only students who will meet all qualifications for the Soil Conservationist series by the time they graduate should consider applying to our Internship opportunity:

GS-457 Soil Conservationist

Basic Requirements :
Completion of a 4-year or higher degree in soil conservation or a 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 be in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.

See our December announcement for a complete list of all requirements

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
Not applicable

BENEFITS:
Not applicable

OTHER INFORMATION:
Not applicable

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