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Student Trainee (Soil Conservation) - Incentives May Be Authorized

Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
This job announcement has closed

Summary

RECRUITMENT & RELOCATION INCENTIVES MAY BE OFFERED

Locations will be Negotiable: Applicants interested in locations not specifically listed on the announcement are encouraged to communicate/negotiate location availability during the interview stage.

Positions filled utilizing Pathways Student Internship Authority, providing students enrolled in a variety of educational institutions, from high school to graduate level, with paid work opportunities in federal agencies while in school.


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Overview

  • Hiring complete
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This job is open to

Clarification from the agency

WHO MAY APPLY: Students who are currently enrolled or accepted for enrollment on at least a half-time basis at a qualifying educational institution in a certificate, degree, or diploma program with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

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Duties

  • This position is designed to provide a career-oriented introduction to the background, philosophy, concepts, and scope of the NRCS Soil Conservation Management Programs and a practical understanding of the policies of the employing organization.
  • Assists in program and conservation planning for a variety of soil and water practices such as terraces, diversions, waterways, farm drainage systems, and others.
  • Learns to perform surveys and set construction stakes for a variety of practices. May operate rod or chain or other specialized instruments to lay out simple practices.
  • Assignments are developmental in nature and, in conjunction with formal education, the Intern will gain the necessary competencies leading to conversion to a permanent professional position in Soil Conservation.
  • Work assignments are selected to ensure that the Intern receives on-the-job training and exposure to one or more program functions.
  • Receives training in the principles, concepts, work processes, and regulations of one or more functional areas of Soil Conservation and Biological Sciences.
  • As training advances and proficiency is demonstrated, work assignment are increasingly more demanding, and are designed to provide experience in a variety of activities.
  • On a scheduled basis, following the Pathways Participant Agreement, receives assignments in various Soil Conservation and Biological Sciences functions.
  • Receives formal and on-the-job training in OPM, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resource Conservation Service policies, rules, regulations, and procedures
  • Is instructed on the use of personal computers, and file and data management.
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Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National or be lawfully permitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident or otherwise authorized to be employed. Must be a U.S. citizen at the time of conversion to the competitive service.
  • If you are a males born after 12/31/1959, certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System or are exempt from having to do so.
  • Must be in good academic standing as defined by USDA as a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Complete at least 640 hrs of work experience prior to completion of degree
  • Enrolled at least half-time at a qualifying educational institution
  • A signed participant agreement is required for employment under Pathways
  • Must be suitable for Federal employment as determined by a background investigation.
  • Direct Deposit: Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution
  • Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit https://www.e-verify.gov/
  • The incumbents of Internship positions may be reassigned/relocated to any geographical location where the employee's services are needed as determined by management. Mobility agreement may be required.
  • This position requires the incumbent to possess a valid state driver's license.
  • The candidate's academic and career goals must be related to the position that they are appointed to.
  • May be required to successfully complete a probationary/trial period.
  • **FOR ALAKSA LOCATIONS ONLY** This position requires that the incumbent meet initial and continuing qualifications in the use of firearms as outlined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, amended by the Lautenberg Amendment of 1996.
  • **FOR ALAKSA LOCATIONS ONLY** This position requires field work where dangerous wildlife are common. Passing courses in bear safety and firearms handling on an annual basis and the legal ability to carry a firearm, are required for this position.
  • **ALAKSA LOCATIONS** Some positions are designated for random drug testing under Departmental Regulation DR 4430-7922-2 dated April 2011. maybe require to pass Pre-Employment Drug Testing. Will be disclosed at Tentative Job offer phase.
  • **PUERTO RICO LOCATIONS** This position requires that the incumbent have language proficiency in both English and Spanish.

Qualifications

Program Eligibility Requirements

Applicant must meet the definition of a student that is, enrolled or accepted for enrollment, in an accredited technical or vocational school, two-year or four-year college or university, graduate or professional school. You must be taking at least a half-time academic course load leading to a degree or certificate. A certificate program is defined as a post-secondary education, in a qualifying educational institution, equivalent to at least one academic year of full-time study that is part of an accredited college-level, technical, trade, vocational, or business school curriculum.
  • Applicants must be enrolled at least half-time as defined by your educational institution;
  • Applicants must be in good academic standing (GPA of 2.5 or equivalent) to qualify for the intern program and to stay throughout the duration of their intern in, or related to, the internship opportunity being advertised.
  • Examples of relevant educational fields for this position include but are not limited to: Agriculture, Soil Conservation, Soil Science, Plant Science, Crop Science, Agronomy, Forestry, Rangeland Management, Ag Engineering, Natural Resources, Environmental Science, or other natural resource-related disciplines that will allow applicants to qualify for the conversion requirements listed below.
This internship is intended to last for more than one year in order for the selected applicants to gain the required experience and meet all the requirements of the pathways program.

Position Qualifications: Applicants must meet position qualifications requirements as shown below at the time of appointment. The agency must be able to verify that the education was completed successfully before the applicant can be appointed.

Below is the education requirement to be qualified for this position:
  • GS-02: Completion of high school or possession of a GED diploma.
  • GS-03: Completion of 1 full academic year of post-high school study.
  • GS-04: Completion of 2 full academic years of post-high school study or an associate's degree.
One full academic year of undergraduate education is defined as 30 semester hours, 45 quarter hours or the equivalent as defined by the accredited college or university.

One full academic year of graduate education is defined as 18 semester hours or the equivalent as defined by the accredited college or university.

Conversion Information: Candidates selected from this announcement may be eligible for non-competitive conversion to the entry-level for the target occupation within 120 days of successful degree completion. Non-competitive conversion is to a permanent position in the competitive service, provided that all terms of the Internship Program are met and there is an available position. Entry level for these positions are typically at the GS-05, GS-07 or GS-09 level. The actual grade level at the time of conversion depends on academic achievement and other factors. Conversion is not mandatory or guaranteed and is at agency discretion.

Pathways Interns may convert to a permanent position for which they qualify for (e.g., GS-457). Upon conversion to the competitive service, this position will have a career ladder up to the GS-09 full performance level. To be eligible for conversion, you must satisfactorily complete all Pathways Program requirements:
  • Complete at least 640 hours of work experience prior to graduation, typically one summer of full time work (40 hours per week) is equivalent to 320 hours;
  • Complete all mandatory training requirements;
  • Meet performance expectations and be recommended for conversion;
  • Meet suitability requirements; and
  • Meet the position's Qualification Requirements of the associated occupational series as outlined in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, General Schedule Qualifications Standards. See the link below:
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=0400-ndx

After conversion to a permanent position in the Competitive Service, progression from the entry-level to the full performance level for this occupation will depend on successful completion of all requirements for promotion to the next higher grade level. Promotions may be considered after a year at each grade level, but are not guaranteed to occur on a specific time schedule.

The GS-0457 Basic Requirement is:

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 plant science.

The duty station for these positions will be at one of the duty locations listed in this announcement. Final determination of the duty station will be made by the selecting official at the time of the job offer. Salary range as shown is the locality pay area of Rest of U.S. (RUS). Pay rates vary depending on location and may be higher or lower than the amount shown.

If selected you must report no later than June 2024 to begin the internship. Student Trainees assignments will be under direct supervision, developmental in nature and assist in gaining the competencies necessary for the duties listed below.

This paid internship may offer additional Recruitment and Relocation incentives. This internship may allow for Student Load Repayment Program opportunities. Please see additional information in the announcement below.

Education

College Transcripts: You must submit a copy of your college transcript or high school diploma/GED certificate as proof that you meet the educational requirements for the grade to which you are applying. You may submit unofficial copies of transcripts at the initial phase of the application process; however, if selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entrance-on-duty. See "Required Documents" section for more details.

MUST PROVIDE all transcripts/proof of enrollment/acceptance, and/or current class schedule.

All academic degrees or course work must be completed in an educational institution that has obtained accreditation from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. For a list of schools that meet this criteria, see http://www.ed.gov/

Additional information

  • Student Interns must continue to meet the Pathways Program requirements throughout the duration of the appointment. Incumbents will be required to provide proof of continued enrollment and good standing (cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale) each semester or grading period throughout the internship program. Failure to do so will result in termination of the appointment.
  • Locality Pay: The salary for each location may vary depending on locality. Locality tables my be found at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/.
  • For Hawaii Locations only: In addition to salary, compensation will also include a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) of 9.28%. COLA is subject to change. COLA is not subject to Federal income tax and is not calculated as salary for retirement.
  • Applicants will be limited to 5 locations.
  • Promotion Potential: If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you will be placed under a career development plan, and may be non-competitively promoted if you successfully complete the requirements and if recommended by management. However, promotion is neither implied nor guaranteed.
  • Physical Demands: The work requires regular and recurring physical exertion related to conservation work requiring walking on rough terrain, jumping ditches and furrows, or climbing steep banks and similar activities.
  • Work Environment: The work involves regular and recurring exposure to operating agricultural equipment including tractors, caterpillars and a wide variety of attached implements such as cultivators, discs, plows, etc. There may be exposure to snow and ice conditions, and herbicide and chemical spray operations requiring safety precautions. Protective gear and clothing such as hard hat, boots, and gloves may be necessary.
  • PLEASE NOTE: In the interest of filling these positions as efficiently as possible, we are requiring the following:
    • If called for an interview, applicants must be available to interview within 3 business days of being contacted.
    • If a tentative job offer is extended, selectee will have 2 business days in which to accept or decline.
  • This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the position and other flexible work arrangements. Other flexibilities are possible dependent upon availability and/or the position and its associated duties. Employee participation is at the discretion of the supervisor.
  • Additional Selections: Selecting Officials may consider applicants in locations not listed in this Job Opportunity Announcement (JOA). Applicants should apply to the locations in each state(s) that is listed in this announcement, location will be discussed during interviews to assess interest in other area's within the state(s) of interest.
  • Recruitment and Relocation Incentives may be offered.
  • Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) may be authorized upon meeting Pathway Conversion eligibility requirements, if SLRP policy requirements are met and as Agency funding allows.

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How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Your application will be reviewed to determine if you meet the Position Qualifications and Pathways Intern Program Eligibility Requirements listed in the "Qualifications" section above. Applicants who meet these requirements will be placed on the certificate of eligibles per the grade qualified and forwarded to the selecting official for further review and consideration. Selections will be made from the certificate of eligibles. Interviews may be conducted but are not guaranteed.

Veteran's preference applies in the arrangement of qualified applicants for all USDA Pathways Programs positions (5 CFR 302.101(a). Qualified applicants eligible for veteran's preference will be referred and considered ahead of non-veterans.

NOTE: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you provided false documentation, you will be removed from consideration.

Clicking the link below will present a preview of the application form; i.e. the online questionnaire. The application form link below will only provide a preview and does not initiate the application process. To initiate the online application process, click the "Apply" button to the right.

To view the application form, visit: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/12159546

If you are graduating in the same semester or term in which you are appointed, you must be able to complete 640 work hours prior to graduation. Spring 2024 graduates will be required to provide proof of continued enrollment for Fall 2024. If no proof of continued enrollment is provided, you will be deemed ineligible for an internship.


Before you submit an application for any of our vacancies, you should completely review the announcement and requirements. You should only apply for positions you meet the required minimum qualifications AND program requirements described in the announcement. Do not apply to a duty location if you are not willing to accept or travel to that location.

If you have reviewed the announcement and believe that you meet both the minimum qualifications and the program requirements, you should document your experience and education in your resume. Since traditional resumes do not provide all the information needed to determine your status, you should create a more detailed resume to use when applying to Federal positions. Please ensure that your resume contains your full name, permanent address, contact phone number and email address.

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

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Required Documents

The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.

  • Resume that includes:1) personal information such as name, address, contact information; 2) education; 3) detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) other qualifications.
  • Transcripts: A copy of your most recent transcripts is required showing field of study, school name, student's name, current GPA or academic standing, past and current course work, degree program, and major/concentration. Please be sure to submit all available transcripts to help ensure that you are properly evaluated for the qualification requirements of this position. Note: An unofficial copy of your transcripts is sufficient with this application; however, if selected, official college transcripts will be required prior to entering on duty.
  • Enrollment Verification: If your transcripts reflect current/in-progress enrollment, separate enrollment verification is not required. If your transcripts do not reflect current/in-progress enrollment, you must provide proof of current enrollment or acceptance in the form of letters, records, or statements issued from an authorized source (i.e. University Registrar's Office).
  • Academic Verification: If your transcripts do not reflect current Academic Standing/GPA, please provide proof of your academic standing in the form of letters, records, or statements issued from an authorized source (i.e. University Registrar's Office).
  • 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 not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. 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 visit FEDSVISITVETS.

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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How to Apply

Please read the entire announcement and all instructions before you begin. You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.

Applying online is highly encouraged. We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00a.m. - 4:00p.m., Monday - Friday). If applying online poses a hardship, contact the Agency Contact listed below well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages must be complete and submitted no later than noon ET 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; contact the Agency Contact to request this.

To begin, click "Apply Online" and follow the instructions to complete the Assessment Questionnaire and attach your resume and all required documents.

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. You must verify that uploaded documents 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. Applicants may combine all like required documents (e.g. SF-50s or veteran docs) into one or more files and scan for uploading into the application. Each file must not exceed 3MB. Grouping like documents into files will simplify the application process. Documents must be in one of the following formats: GIF, JPEG, JPG, PDF, PNG, RTF, or Word (DOC or DOCX). Uploaded documents may not require a password, digital signature, or other encryption to open.

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Agency contact information

Barry Culbreath
Address
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1400 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20250
US
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Next steps

Your application will be reviewed to verify that you meet the eligibility and qualification requirements for the position prior to issuing referral lists to the selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. Log in to your USAJOBS account to check your application status.

Multiple positions may be filled from this announcement .

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