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USDA Creates On-site Application Acceptance Program to Recruit Highly Talented and Diverse Candidates

Posted by Deputy Associate Administrator Karen Comfort, Agricultural Marketing Service in Initiatives
May 29, 2015
Marcus Peebles, a Procurement Technician with the Agricultural Marketing Service
Marcus Peebles, a Procurement Technician with the Agricultural Marketing Service, joined the agency through its Pathways program. AMS photo.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is driven to recruit and hire new and diverse talent into our workforce. Recently, our agency participated in USDA’s innovative on-site application acceptance events targeting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), 1994 Tribal Land-Grant Colleges and Universities and veterans as part of USDA’s overall recruitment strategy in which all were welcome to apply. USDA’s on-site application acceptance events use the federal Pathways Programs, which offer students and recent graduates a path to federal careers.

We kicked off these events early this year during the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Ga., the world’s largest annual poultry, meat and feed industry tradeshow. IPPE drew hundreds of students for its career fair from about 30 colleges and universities from around the country, including numerous HBCUs and HSIs. Many students came to AMS’ on-site application acceptance event at the nearby Sam Nunn Federal Building, where we received dozens of applications from a highly diverse and talented group of students. Among the applicants that AMS hired at that event was Marcus Peebles, who is now a Procurement Technician with our Commodity Procurement Program. We also learned from this experience and made several process improvements for our next on-site application acceptance event, which occurred at the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) student conference in Albuquerque, N.M.

AMS joined a larger USDA team that collectively brought 87 job vacancies to fill at the event. Fourteen positions were with AMS, which included poultry Agricultural Commodity Graders, Agricultural Marketing Specialists and Market News student interns. The result: AMS filled three Fruit and Vegetable Marketing Specialist Recent Graduate positions and four Livestock, Poultry and Seed Market News Reporter intern positions. We plan to continue expanding on this program’s success.

In addition to our on-site application acceptance events, AMS has a multitude of other recruitment initiatives that target under-represented populations and socially disadvantaged youth. Through some of these initiatives AMS is providing the following professional training opportunities to students during the 2015 summer months:

We encourage all high school and college students interested in an agricultural career to visit the Pathways Program website to find internships and recent-graduate jobs. AMS will make every effort to use the Pathways Programs to hire dedicated and talented employees who reflect the diversity of our nation.

Category/Topic: Initiatives