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    Duties

    Summary

    If selected for this position, you will perform a variety of specialized duties that provide a comprehensive approach to biosecurity minimizing the risk of biological and economic damage caused by exotic, non-native plant and animal organisms to agriculture, natural resources and U.S. trade initiative involving overall plant health activities. The successful accomplishment of these duties is critical to preventing or reducing potential biological, agricultural, economic and environmental losses. The duties and functions performed are vital to the mission of APHIS, the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) and its programs to safeguard US agriculture and natural resources.

    Salary Information:  First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.

    APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS. For details click: APHIS Emergency Response

    Learn more about this agency

    Responsibilities

    The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity.  The duties may include, but are not limited to:

    • Manages multiple program areas and/or a multi-faceted program (or areas for which a program will be developed), such as gypsy moth, biological control, grasshopper/Mormon cricket, biotechnology, noxious weeds, or other pests
    • Provides recommendations to the supervisor and staff on design and development of guidelines, operational standards, and procedures
    • Identifies or verifies identification of noxious weeds and plant pests, such as plant pathogens, insects or nematodes, and plant pest hosts and geographical distribution found within the assigned geographical area
    • Tracks the progress of the programs for which the incumbent is responsible in order to provide technical assistance in program operations
    • Serves as accredited certifying official regarding export certification, which includes interpreting foreign quarantine regulations to facilitate international trade, issuing Federal Phytosanitary Certificates, and ensuring proper maintenance of the fee collection process.
    • Provides specialized inspection, regulation, and clearance of high risk propagative plant material and plant products and pest diagnostic identification services at plant inspection stations and/or other facilities
    • Plans, conducts, and/or supervises various treatments and remedial measures, such as disinfection, sterilization, fumigation, cold treatment, hot water treatment, and irradiation of regulated articles for plant and animal pests and diseases
    • Has broad range or responsibilities under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), including review of permits, seizure of shipments without proper documents, safeguarding seized or forfeited property, and maintenance of all accurate files on CITES transactions

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Travel for training and work assignments may be required

    Supervisory status

    No

    Promotion Potential

    11

    Who May Apply

    This job is open to…

    US Citizens and Nationals; no prior Federal experience is required.

    Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

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    Requirements

    Conditions Of Employment

    • US Citizenship is required
    • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
    • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year probationary period.
    • Valid state driver's license is required at the time of application.

    Special Conditions:

    • Selection and retention in this position is contingent on a successfully adjudicated FBI National Criminal History Check (fingerprint check) and a background investigation
    • Successful completion of a 1 year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service)
    • Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses will not be paid. Any travel, transportation, and relocation expense associated with reporting for duty to this position will be the responsibility of the selected employee
    • This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the duty location of the position. Employee participation in telework is at the discretion of the supervisor
    • Field visits may require physical exertion, such as walking over rough or rocky terrain or climbing ladders on rail cars or grain elevators; loading, unloading, and carrying moderately heavy materials is sometimes necessary
    • May experience discomfort due to adverse weather conditions, high noise levels, pesticides, and working around agricultural or industrial equipment
    • May be required to maintain certification for the wearing of personal protective equipment, including respirators such as Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), and maintain a valid pesticide certification
    • MUST ATTEND BASIC AGRICULTURE SAFEGUARDING TRAINING (BAST).  The purpose of BAST is to provide relevant training to help PPQ Officers acquire new skills and knowledge to enable them to accomplish PPQ's mission.  Officers certified through BAST will be able to conduct plant health safeguarding activities authorized by the Plant Protection Act of 2000 and related regulations.
    • Work may involve driving long distances, occasionally in poor driving conditions
    • Must be able to travel on a routine basis and be willing to work at odd times, including overtime, weekends, holidays and shifts
    • Will be required to travel to remote locations at various facilities and may be required to spend extended periods of time at these locations, usually not more than 30 days

    Qualifications

    Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.

    BASIC REQUIREMENT
    A:  Degree
    in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position. 

    OR
    B:  Combination of Education and Experience:  
    Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
     
    TRANSCRIPTS are required.

    This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university.  

    FOR THE GS-07 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-05 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates

    • Knowledge of pertinent regulations, policies, and procedures of agricultural quarantine principles and biological and scientific principles, techniques of collection and identification
    • Experience in multiple program areas and/or multifaceted programs, such as post entry quarantine, gypsy moth, biological control, grasshopper/Mormon cricket, etc.
    • Drafting proposals or work plans and financial plans to be used for survey, sampling, control, trace back, regulatory methods development, etc.
    • Planning, conducting various treatments and remedial measures, such as disinfection, sterilization, fumigation, cold treatment, hot water treatment, etc., for plant and animal pests and diseases

    OR

    Superior Academic Achievement:   To qualify based on superior academic achievement, you must have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution AND must meet certain GPA requirements.  For more details click: Superior Academic Achievement

    OR 1 year of graduate-level education in the fields of biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines. 

    FOR THE GS-09 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-07 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

    • Planning, coordinating and conducting plant pest surveys and anticipating and providing solutions for problems in program areas
    • Planning, conducting and/or supervising various treatments and remedial measures such as disinfection, sterilization, fumigation, cold treatment, hot water treatment, etc., for plant and animal pests and disease

    OR 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master’s degree in the fields of biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines.

    FOR THE GS-11 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-09 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

    • Planning, coordinating, and conducting all aspects of operational activities, including special programs, newly emerging programs or operational functions with cooperators, other government entities, industries, etc
    • Independently planning, coordinating and executing containment facility inspections
    • Independently planning, coordinating and issuing Phytosanitary certificates
    • Preparing and making formal presentations to internal and external audiences 

    OR 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a PH.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in the fields of biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

    COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-7/9/11 GRADE LEVELS

    Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify for that grade level. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following:    Combining Education and Experience for Professional and Scientific Positions

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

     

    Education

    Additional information

    • This position is subject to unscheduled overnight details of undetermined lengths in the event of animal health emergencies or other conditions requiring immediate response, as required by the Agency. (Extensive periods of time may be designated for overnight details.)
    • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): For information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible see http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
    • More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles.
    • Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDAs TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
    • Direct Deposit – Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
    • E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS E-VERIFY system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
    • It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at: http://www.chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=6465

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures using category rating. The category rating procedure is used to rank and select eligible candidates. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories:  Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified.  Within these categories, applicants eligible for veterans preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans.  Category placement will be determined on applicants' quality of experience and the extend they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:

    • Ability to perform entry and development level pant protection and quarantine work as a plant health safeguarding specialist
    • Ability to conduct inspections and/or surveys to detect existing or potential threats to U.S. agriculture or other interests
    • Knowledge of the methods and programs used to control, treat, eradicate, and manage native and exotic pest populations and/or disease in U.S. & ability to perform regulatory & complex treatment duties
    • Knowledge of Federal Plant Protection and Quarantine programs pertaining to plant pests and the related importation and/or exportation of products
    • Ability to carry out permitting and compliance activities
    • Ability to manage program and organizational effectiveness and efficiency
    • Oral, written and interpersonal communication

    Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions.  Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position.  Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.

    Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to and including removal from the Federal Service.


    To view the application form, visit: https://aphis.usda.ntis.gov/cp/?event=jobs.previewApplication&jobid=1ADD9F5E-3FA2-4CD5-8A1D-A839009D563F

    Background checks and security clearance

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    Required Documents

    The following documents are required for your application to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in mail service, your system failure or downtime, etc. Encrypted and digitally signed documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

    • Resume that includes the following information: 1) job information for which you are applying; 2) personal information; 3) education; 4) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 5) supervisors phone number for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) other qualifications.
    • College Transcripts If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the education was evaluated by a credential evaluation service as being equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit http://www.naces.org/members.htm . All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation. 
    • DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) If claiming veteran’s preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions that is signed no later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. The certification must be on the letterhead of the appropriate military branch and include the dates of military service. Veteran’s preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran’s preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted. 
    • If claiming 10-point veteran’s preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans’ preference see http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/
    • CTAP/ICTAP Documentation:  Reduction-In-Force: Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, or Notice of Proposed Removal; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 demonstrating your separation or the position you will be separated from.
    • Worker's Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50.
    • Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from a military department or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held.

    NOTE If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the Human Resources Office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing a previous submission, you must upload both the old document and the new document. Please verify that documents you are uploading from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency's staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded resumes must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (DOC or DOCX).

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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    Benefits

    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    The Federal Service offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at:  https://www.usa.gov/benefits-for-federal-employees

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin. The following instructions outline our application process.

    • You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
    • We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
    • This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.

    Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not already have one) at www.usajobs.gov. It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.

    Step 2: Create a Resume with USAJOBS or upload a Resume into your USAJOBS account. You may want to customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. In addition, your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).

    Step 3:
    Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required. You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Simply log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue.

    Agency contact information

    Human Resources

    Address

    USDA APHIS MRPBS
    250 Marquette Avenue, Suite 410
    Minneapolis, MN, 55401
    United States
    Learn more about this agency

    You can make a difference! The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) needs bright, energetic and committed professionals to facilitate the domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and to protect the health and care of animals and plants in the United States. MRP offers an array of occupations and is committed to diversity in the workplace. We operate in domestic and global markets. Be part of an organization that protects the health and agriculture of the American people. Join our team!

    USDA is a great place to start or continue your career. USDA is ranked as one of the top 10 "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" by the Partnership for Public Service (http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/overall/large). Rankings are based on employee feedback regarding satisfaction with their work experience.

    Next steps

    If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the closing date of the announcement.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) must provide reasonable accommodations:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/485466300. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.