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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Pathways Student Intern (Soil Conservationist Trainee)
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Natural Resources Conservation Service
Job Announcement Number:  MT-779481-SH

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$9.74 to $15.00 / Per Hour
Monday, December 17, 2012 to Friday, March 15, 2013
Full Time - Internships
12 vacancies in the following location(s):
Baker, MT United StatesView Map
Billings, MT United StatesView Map
Broadus, MT United StatesView Map
Jordan, MT United StatesView Map
Plains, MT United StatesView Map
More Locations  (7)
Student/Internship Program Eligibles


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 ( to learn more.

Natural 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 America’s private land.  Visit our website at to learn more and see why this is such a great place to work.


Montana NRCS expects to fill approximately 12 student intern position (Soil Conservationist Trainee).  We expect to fill positions at the following locations; however, additional locations may be added:  Baker, Big Timber, Billings, Broadus, Chester, Forsyth, Hamilton, Jordan, Pablo, Plains, Ronan, and Shelby.  Applicants are encouraged to apply for all locations.  These positions are expected to begin summer 2013.   Note:  The close date of this postion has been extended to March 15, 2013.


These are Excepted Service Appointments.  The purpose of the Pathways Intern Employment 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 agreement is required between NRCS Montana 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.


Pathways Program requirements for an internship with Montana NRCS:


1.  Be a United States Citizen or National


2.  Be at least 16 years old (by closing date of this vacancy announcement)


3.  Have at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA; 3.0 or higher is preferred.


4.  Must be enrolled in an accredited high school, college or university on at least a half-time basis as defined by the school. 


5.  Must be pursuing a degree in one of the academic majors or related fields listed below.


6.  For college or university applicants must not be expected to graduate college prior to the fall of 2014.


7.  Must be available to work at least 2 summers and complete a minimum of 640 hours of work experience prior to graduation.


8.  Must be mobile to all locations throughout Montana upon initial placement and subsequent summers as well as upon graduation.  High school students are placed at the nearest field office to their home. 



  • U.S. Citizen
  • Suitable for Federal Employment, determined by Background Investigation
  • Must sign a Pathways Student Agreement
  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • Must have a valid Motor Vehicle Operators License


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Soil Conservationist Student Intern


As a Soil Conservationist student intern with the Natural Resources Conservation Service you will work with staff specialists to assist with various stages of conservation planning, surveying and carrying out resource conservation plans.  The internship provided intensified training in soil conservation and is qualifying for a professional position upon graduation from college.


Some travel is involved during the summer months.


The work involves regular and physical exertion related to conservation work in an outdoor environment.


The work required outdoor physical activities, such as walking and climbing for prolonged periods over rough terrain.


The work involves exposure to operating agricultural equipment and adverse weather conditions.


The work may involve travel on improved and unimproved roads.



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NRCS Pathways Program candidates will need to meet the qualification requirements consistent with OPM (Office of Personnel Management) qualification standards applicable to the position being filled.  The qualifications for this position are described below and are published in the Qualifications Standards for General Schedule Positions which is as follows:


This position requires the ability to use a personal computer, scanner, or other automated office equipment.


For GS-01:  Must be a high school student and will be 16 years old by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.


For GS-02:  Must have a 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 year of post-high school study or Associate’s degree.


For GS-05:  Completion of 4 academic years of post-high school study leading to a Bachelor’s degree.


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


NOTE:  Definition of qualifying educational institution means (1) A public high school whose curriculum has been approved by a State or local governing body, a private school that provides secondary education as determined under State law, or a homeschool that is allowed to operate in a State; (2) Any educational institutions or curricula that has been accredited by an accredited body recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (i.e.; a technical or vocational school; a 2-year or 4-year college or university).  For a list of schools that meet this criteria, see website


Unofficial transcripts are required to verify educational claims.  NOTE:  Your transcripts must be legible.  See the “How to Apply” section of this announcement.

The required education must lead to a bachelor’s degree with specialization in a directly related field to the position in which the student trainee will participate 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.


Courses of Study closely related to Soil Conservation:


·         Soil Science

·         Crop Science

·         Plant Science

·         Agronomy

·         Natural Resource Conservation

·         Range (Range Management/Range Ecology & Management/Range Resources)

·         Other Agricultural related disciplines

·         Other Natural Science related disciplines


The student intern also must complete at least 640 hours of work experience acquired through the Internship Program (agencies may waive up to 320 of the required 640 hours of work for Interns who demonstrate high potential as evidenced by outstanding academic achievement and exceptional job performance).  Must meet the requirements as specified in the Participant’s Agreement and perform their job successfully.

In order to be considered for non-competitive conversion upon graduation, the student intern will be required to meet the following education requirements:


Soil Conservationist – 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 plants science.


Candidates will meet the qualification requirements consistent with the OPM qualifications standards applicable to the position being filled.  Veteran’s preference applies to all selections made under the Pathways program authority in accordance with Part 302 of 5 C.F.R.  Candidates who meet the minimum qualification requirements need not be further evaluated; however, if no further evaluation is done, qualified veterans have preference.  If candidates are further evaluated using NRCS’s category rating process, qualified veterans have absolute preference within the appropriate category.



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Working for NRCS 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. Additionally NRCS offers FlexiWork, Telework, 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 employees.  To find out more click here: or


Students appointed under the Pathways Program are eligible for both health and life insurance coverage as long as they are expected to be employed under this appointment authority for at least one year and are expected to be in a pay status for at least one third of the total period of time from the date of their initial appointment to the date of the completion of the program requirements.  Costs of the premiums are split between the employee and the agency.


Students are also eligible for federal retirement benefits, Thrift Savings Plan, paid leave, flexible work schedules and other federal benefits.



Housing Subsidy:  NRCS Montana may authorize a housing subsidy of $1,500.00 while working full time during the summer depending on budget.  May also provide reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses necessary to get the student from school to duty station and return to school at end of work period.


Promotion Potential:  Pathways Student Interns who continue to meet eligibility requirements may be promoted to higher-graded trainee positions based on completion of portions of the education and student trainee work experience as follows:


To GS-02:  Upon high school graduation.


To GS-03:  Completion of one full semester or the equivalent of post-high school study and one period of student trainee work experience.


To GS-04:  (a) Completion of 1 academic year of study and two periods of student trainee work experience; or (b) completion of 1½ academic years of study and one period of student trainee work experience.


To GS-05:  Completion of 4 years of academic study leading to a Bachelor's or higher degree and completion of 640 work period hours.


To GS-07:  Completion of 4 academic years of study (or all the requirements) for a Bachelor's degree with superior academic achievement.  See the following website for more information:


Upon completion of all the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field, student trainees may be reassigned or promoted in the appropriate target series to GS-05 or GS-07 if they meet the qualification requirements of the target occupation, including minimum education requirements.


Veterans’ Preference:  If you are entitled to veterans’ preference, you should indicate the type of veterans’ preference you are claiming on your resume and submit documents to support your claim.  Your veterans’ preference entitlement will be verified by the employing agency.


·         For 5-point veterans' preference, please provide your DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), official statement of service from your command if you are currently on active duty, or other official documentation (e.g., documentation of receipt of a campaign badge or expeditionary medal) that proves your military service was performed under honorable conditions.


·         For 10-point veterans' preference, please submit a Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference and the required documentation.


Selective Service:  If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under Selective Service Law.  See


NRCS provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities.  If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify us.  The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program.  (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc., should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).  To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:


1. Your Résumé or application (must show dates and hours per week worked for each period of employment)

2. A complete Occupational Questionnaire

3. Additional Required Documents (see Required Documents section below)


The complete Application Package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, March 15, 2013.


To begin the process, click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account. Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire. Please ensure you click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.


Note: To return to a previously Saved or Incomplete application you may use the following link:


To fax supporting documents you are unable to upload, complete this cover page using the following Vacancy ID 779481. Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.


If you cannot apply online:


1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire,

2. Print this 1203FX form to provide your response to the occupational questionnaire, and

3. Fax the completed 1203FX form along with any supporting documents to 1-478-757-3144. Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.


Faxes or documents mailed to the local Human Resources Office will not be considered.


The following documents are required:


1.  Current resume


2.  Completed Questionnaire


3.  Transcripts – copies of your transcripts, “unofficial” transcripts are acceptable as long as they are legible.  If selected, official transcripts will be required.


4.  Acceptance Letter of Enrollment – if you are a graduating high school senior or just enrolling for your 1st year of college, you must provide proof of enrollment or acceptance for enrollment at an accredited institution of higher learning. Please include major, classes, and semester/quarter hours information if available. 


5.  Veteran’s Preference – if you have prior military service and qualify for veteran’s preference, you must include copies of all your DD-214s or proof of service (must show type of discharge).  Applicants claiming preference based on service-connected disability, or based on being the spouse or mother of a disabled or deceased veteran, you must also complete and submit a SF-15 along with supporting documentation (i.e.; letter from the Veterans Administration).  Note:  not all veterans are preference eligible, for more information, see the Vet Guide at:


Sharon Huber
Phone: (406)587-6937
Agency Information:
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC


Once your Occupational Questionnaire and resume have been received, you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. All information provided may be verified by a careful review of your resume, questionnaire responses, reference check, background check, and/or verification of education. After a qualification review of your complete application package, you will be notified of the status of your application. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempt to conceal information may disqualify you for consideration. A job offer is typically made within 45 days after the deadline for applications. You can track the progress of your application package in Application Manager at .

Additional Duty Location Info

12 vacancies in the following locations:
Baker, MT United StatesView Map
Billings, MT United StatesView Map
Broadus, MT United StatesView Map
Jordan, MT United StatesView Map
Plains, MT United StatesView Map
Ronan, MT United StatesView Map
Shelby, MT United StatesView Map
Big Timber, MT United StatesView Map
Chester, MT United StatesView Map
Forsyth, MT United StatesView Map
Hamilton, MT United StatesView Map
Pablo, MT United StatesView Map

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