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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Public Affairs Intern (USDA Pathways Internship Program)
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Natural Resources Conservation Service
Hiring Organization:  United States Department of Agriculture
Job Announcement Number:  UT-14-1003427-EI-DE

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$11.16 to $12.53 / Per Hour
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 to Sunday, December 15, 2013
Full Time - Internships
1 vacancy in the following location:
Salt Lake City, UT View Map
Student/Internship Program Eligibles
Public Trust - Background Investigation


Be Remarkable, Make a Difference! Join the Natural Resources Conservation Service team and help us conserve our nation's Natural Resources!!


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 costshare 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!


Applications under this announcement will be accepted from United States citizens or nationals who are degree seeking students enrolled at least half-time in accredited institutions only.

HOW DOES THE PATHWAYS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM WORK? This 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. Student selected under this program gain real, paid work experience while pursuing a college degree in a particular career field. We are specifically seeking a student who are interested in doing Public Affairs work after graduation from college.  Placement will begin in Winter, Spring or Summer, 2014 (depending on student availability). Students must complete at least 640 work hours and 40 hours of training under the internship to be eligible for placement upon completion of degree requirement. 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. Available offers of permanent employment will be dependent upon budget and the availability of positions. Find out more information on Pathways program participation through the website:

Students are normally placed into non-pay status when they return to school each fall but may continue to work part-time at the discretion of the agency and then return to work full-time during 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. 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.

NRCS Utah is looking 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


  • Occasional Travel
  • You will be required to do some travel for workload, meetings, and training, and may be required to obtain, maintain, and use a government-issued charge card for your official travel.


  • No


  • U.S. Citizen
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by background investigation
  • Enrolled or accepted for enrollment as degree-seeking student
  • Must have a valid motor vehicle operators license
  • Must be available to work 640 hours prior to completing degree requirement


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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 public affairs specialist include:


  • Assist in coordinating Web page activities
  • Assist in writing, editing, photography
  • Reasearch and collect information for writing assignments
  • Assist in video production 




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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 Public Affairs, Public Relations, Journalism, Communication, Marketing, or another discipline closely related to and qualifying for the position being filled (i.e. Student Trainee Public Affairs).


  • A student in good standing and having a record as a student that is in all respects anticipating 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.


  • Must have at least one year of academic study reamaining toward completion of current academic degree.


  • Must be able to complete 640 hours of work experience (includes 40 hours of mandatory training) prior to completing degree course work requirement to qualify for potential conversion to a permanent position.


  • Interested in long-term permanent employment with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Utah.


  • Able to meet all physical, medical, security, and Federal eligibility requirements.


Students will be hired under the following GS levels that will determine salary:


·Applicants at the GS-3 level must have completed 1 academic year of qualifying 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 post high school study or have completed their Associate’s degree.

Note: Not all education is qualifying. Qualifying education is education that will be creditable towards and/or lead to a bachelor's or higher degree in a field directly related to the field in which the student trainee will receive training on the job (i.e. for this announcement education that will help qualify the student for the GS-1035 Public Affairs series).



Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit:  Note the processing of this vacancy announcement will not be held/delayed pending your evaluation of foreign education. You must adequately document that you meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.



  • Students must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • Must complete and pass a background and security investigation.
  • All requirements must be met by the closing date of this announcement Sunday, December 15, 2013
  • A post-secondary certificate program must have been completed at a qualified educational institution equivalent to at least 1 academic year or full-time study that is part of an accredited college-level, technical, trade, vocational, or business school curriculum.
  • Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. education programs to be accepted for Federal employment.  If you received a degree abroad, contact the agency to which you are applying for guidance regarding having your degree reviewed by a U.S. based credential evaluation service.
  • If you are a student veteran, complete the questionnaire and submit documentation (DD Form-214, SF-15 and proof of requested on the SF-15 if claiming 10-point Veteran's preference or DD-214 if claiming 5-point preference or VEOA eligibility (separated under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous service.  If you are currently serving on active duty: You MUST submit a certification from the armed forces that certifies the service menber is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed. If you supply a certification at this stage, your preference/eligibility will be verified prior to appointment.
  • Students 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).




What qualifies as an accredited educational institution?

A high school/GED whose curriculum has been approved by a state or local governing body, or a home-curriculum; and any accredited technical or vocational school, 2 or 4 year college or university, a graduate or professional, or a post secondary home school curriculum.


Applicants may refer to the U.S. Department of Education's Institutional Accreditation System to determine whether their school/program is accredited:



Before you submit an application for any of our vacancies, students should completely review the job description.  Students should not apply for positions, if they do not meet both the required minimum qualifications AND any selective factors described in the announcement.


If you have reviewed the announcement and believe that you can meet both the minimum qualifications and selective factors, you should document your experience and education in your resume.  Since traditional resumes do not provide all the information needed to determine your qualications for Federal positions, you should create a more detailed resume and or coverl letter to use when applying for Federal postions.  Your resume must include:

  • GPA
  • Complete course work (unit/credit hours)
  • Work and/or volunteer experience including employment dates (month/year to month/year), salary, hours per week and supervisor informaton.
  • References

Please ensure that your resume contains your full name, country of citizenship, permanent address, contact phone number and email address.

Salary will be determined based on academic classification using the general schedule (GS) grade levels.


Your application will be evaluated based upon review of your entire application package, including the responses you provide on the Occupational Questionnaire.   The questionnaire will help determine your level of compentency (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities) in the following areas:

  • Knowledge of grammar
  • Skill with written communications
  • Skill with oral communications
  • Knowledge of computer programs
  • Skill in organizing, control and file correspondence

Your opportunity for consideration may depend on how thoroughly you have prepared your application.


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 and questionnaire results to assess the quality, depth, and complexity of your accomplishments, experience, and education as they relate to the selection factors listed above.  We will then place you in one of the following categories, and only those in the Best Qualified category will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration.

Best Qualified:   Applicants possess all of the job related competencies identified as important for successful job performance.

Well -Qualified:   Applicants possess a majority (i.e., more than half) of the job related competencies needed for successful job performance.

Qualified:   Applicants meet the basic eligibility and minimum qualification requirements, but do not meet the definition of Well-Qualified or Best Qualified describe above.



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USDA - NRCS will provide the following benefits to their student hires:


Students hired under the USDA Pathways Internship Program for a period expected to last longer than 1 year are eligible for health and life insurance coverage as long as they are expected to be employed under this appointment for over 1 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.  The cost of premiums is split between the employee and the agency, as it is for all permanent employees.  (See 5 CFR 870.202 for life insurance and 5 CFR 890.102 for health benefits.). 


Students are also eligible for federal retirement benefits, Thrift Savings Plan, paid leave, Telework and flexible work schedules (upon supervisor approval), Commuter Transit Subsity (pending availability of budgeted funds/allocation) and other federal benefits.  Housing subsidies and/or transportation costs may be offered on a case-by-case basis.

To find out more click here



This job is being filled by an alternative (excepted appointment) hiring process and are not in the competitive service.


Applicants are advised that false answers or omissions of information on any application materials or inability to meet the following conditions may be grounds for non-selection, withdrawal of an offer of employment, or dismissal after being employed.  All information is subject to verification.


If not previously completed, a background security investigation will be required for all selectees.  Appointment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication.  Failure to successfully meet these requirements may be grounds for appropriate personnel action.  In addition, if selected, a background security reinvestigation or supplemental investigation may be required at a later time. 


Veterans' Preference (Category Rating):  If you are a veteran who is eligible under law for veteran's preference we encourage you to document your preference in your application materials.  Under Category Rating Procedures veterans who meet (and document) preference criteria are listed above non-preference eligibles within the same quality category (best qualified, well qualified, etc.) in which they are assigned based on job-related assessment tools.  Not all veterans are eligible for preference.  To learn more and find out if you qualify for preference visit the Feds Hire Vets website at You must provide acceptable documentation of your preference when you apply to this announcement or you will not be awarded preference.  This includes a Member 4 copy of your DD214 showing character of service (honorable etc.), and, if claiming 10 point preference, Standard Form SF-15 'Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference' with all applicable supporting information attached.  See the 'Veterans Information' link on the last page of this announcement for more information.



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Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin. 

To apply for this position, you must complete the occupational questionnaire and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below.

The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Sunday, December 15, 2013 to receive consideration.  You are encouraged to complete the application well before the application deadline to be assured of consideration.

  • To begin, click Apply Online to create a USAJOBS account or log in to your existing account. Follow the prompts to select your USAJOBS resume and/or other supporting documents and complete the occupational questionnaire.
  • Click the Submit My Answers button to submit your application package.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation is submitted prior to the closing date.
  • To verify your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account,, select the Application Status link and then select the more information link for this position. The Details page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application. Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.
  • To return to an incomplete application, log into your USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.





The following documents are required:

  • Cover letter (one-page maximum).
  • Résumé or application.  (We encourage you to use the USAJOBS resume builder to speed the application process. Although we do not require a specific format, certain information is required to determine if you are qualified, i.e. hours worked per week for each job list agency, salary, supervisor's contact information and indicate month/day/year employment began and ended).
  • College Transcripts or copy of High School Diploma to support Education requirements (photocopies or online printouts are acceptable). 
  • Proof of enrollment or acceptance for enrollment as a degree-seeking student at an accredited university.  Note if you are submitting current transcripts those can serve as proof of enrollment; no separate documentation is needed.  If you do not yet have transcripts (high school senior accepted for enrollment, etc.) or do not have transcripts from your current institution you must submit other proof (notice from school, registration receipts, etc.)
  • Responses to the online questionnaire
  • Veterans Preference documentation if applicable (DD-214 (Member Copy) or equivalent, SF-15 and VA Letter, etc, as appropriate)
  • If you are currently serving on active duty: You MUST submit a certification from the armed forces that certifies the service menber is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed.  If you supply a certification at this stage, your preference/eligibility will be verified prior to appointment.
  • Students with disabilities who require alternative means of communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).


Faxing Applications or Supporting Documents:

You are encouraged to apply online. Applying online will allow you to review and track the status of your application.

NOTE: If you applied online and your application is complete, do not fax the paper application (1203FX) as this will overwrite your prior online responses and may result in you being found ineligible.

If you completed the occupational questionnaire online and are unable to upload supporting document(s):

  1. To fax your documents, you must use the following cover page and provide the required information. The Vacancy ID is 1003427.
  2. Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

If you cannot complete the Application Package online, you may fax all of your materials. The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Sunday, December 15, 2013. to receive consideration. Keep a copy of your fax confirmation in the event verification is needed.

To complete the occupational questionnaire and submit via fax:

  1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire.
  2. Print the 1203FX form, follow the instructions and provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire items
  3. Fax all six pages of 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.


Edward Iser
Phone: (801)524-4265
Agency Information:
125 S State Street
Room 4402
Salt Lake City, UT


After all application packages have been received and reviewed we will notify applicants of their initial status (i.e. qualified or not qualified), then will notify all basically qualified applicants again after we have determined our Best Qualified applicants.  Human Resources and the selecting committee will then perform a secondary review of the Best Qualified applicants, and at that time may choose to interview select applicants.  If so, you will be contacted to arrange that interview. After making a tentative job offer, we will conduct a suitability and/or security background investigation if one has not been previously conducted. A final job offer for this position is typically made within 90 days after the deadline for applications.


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