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    This is a temporary Pathways Internship Program appointment not-to-exceed one year and may be extended based on program needs and if the student meets program requirements.  The Student Trainee (Public Affairs) serves on the Executive Communications or Public Affairs staff of Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA) located within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and provides support for a wide range of LPA's communication activities while developing his/her professional communication skills. 

    These positions are located in Riverdale, MD.  To be eligible, you must be able to attend school and physically report to the duty station in Riverdale, MD on a full-time schedule year round in order to carry out work assignments. 

    The Pathways Internship Program is designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and while getting paid for the work performed.

    Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service.  The target position upon graduation would be to a qualifying position as a GS-9/11/12/13 Writer Editor or Public Affairs Specialist position.

    Please note:  Spring 2018 graduates who have not been accepted into another academic program will not be able to complete the requirements of the Pathways Internship program, and are ineligible to apply.

    Housing and travel expenses WILL NOT be paid.

    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


    The duties described are for the GS-9 grade level.  At the GS-7 grade level,  assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity. The duties may include, but are not limited to:

    • Posting congressional information on the APHIS internal web site. 
    • Assisting with routine postings of Agency weekly reports and other information on that site, as needed.
    • Keeping industry contact lists up to date and gathering information from the Internet to build new contact lists in preparation for certain announcements.
    • Searching correspondence files for relevant records in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, Congressional inquiries, and other Agency/USDA staff requests.
    • Consulting with Agency subject matter experts to obtain accurate and appropriate information to draft a variety of communications materials targeted to the intended audience.
    • Drafting written responses to public inquiries received via the Department’s “Ask the Expert” web link and to correspondence from members of the public to the Agency Administrator, Under Secretary, and/or Secretary. 
    • Drafting internal communications materials, including newsletter articles and content for the internal APHIS web site. Assisting with basic photo editing (resizing, cropping, lighting adjustments, adding text to photos) and posting internal web content (text and photos).
    • Drafting informational outreach materials for the public and the media, including press releases, factsheets, blogs, tweets, and others. Participates in the planning process for public affairs outreach efforts.
    • Assisting with writing, clearing and executing rollout plans for announcing Agency actions or regulations. These plans include an overview of and public messaging around an Agency action that is being announced publically.
    • Assisting with writing and posting Agency external web content.
    • Coordinating closely with supervisor to develop and provide response to specific media inquiries in a timely manner with sensitivity to deadlines.
    • Serving as a back-up customer service agent for the APHIS Call Center, providing direct assistance or referrals to the public on a variety of APHIS issues.
    • Establishing and maintaining effective working relationship with Agency program contacts, as well as State and industry officials and the media.

    Travel Required

    Not required

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


    Who May Apply

    This job is open to…

    Students who are currently enrolled on at least a half-time basis at a qualifying educational institution in a certificate, degree, or diploma program.

    Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/492907900. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.