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From Internship to Public Service Career: A HACU Success Story

I never thought I could ever work in the U.S. government. One day, when I was applying for my U.S. citizenship at a local Hispanic nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., I saw a flyer about the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ (HACU) National Internship Program (HNIP). This seemed unbelievable for a student coming from a low-income family to know that there were paid internships that could also help me grow in my career. I was pursuing an undergraduate education at George Washington University. Being the first generation to attend college in the U.S., I often had to let go unpaid internship opportunities that could have helped my career, and instead get side jobs to pay for college.

NRCS Volunteers Gain Experience and Help Further Conservation Efforts

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance (INCA) have partnered in a pilot project to provide new opportunities for Native American high school students across the west.

Morgan Boggs, a high school senior in Browning, Montana, was one of three Montana high school seniors selected by INCA. Through this pilot program, students sign up as NRCS Earth Team volunteers to work side-by-side with NRCS professionals. This on-the-job training increases the students’ qualifications for the USDA Pathways Internship Program, which employs college students working toward a degree in natural resources.

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

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.

USDA Kentucky Staff Encourages Students to Pursue Careers in Agriculture

Middle and high school students from across the state gathered on the University of Kentucky (UK) campus earlier this month, to learn about potential careers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

UK’s College of Agriculture hosted the group, Jr. Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), with the intent of getting the students interested in pursuing a college education.

Representatives from a variety of USDA agencies – including Rural Development, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – talked with students about their respective agencies, explaining their missions and what career fields were available throughout USDA. They also were interviewed by students about their job, explaining job responsibilities and how they came to work in their career field.

Looking for an Internship? USDA Provides Outreach to STEM Students in Arizona

STEM – the fields of study in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

No one had trouble communicating despite the acronym overload at a STEM Internship Expo hosted recently at Phoenix College in Arizona.

Several USDA agencies gathered under the shade of a canopy with tables packed with information on internship programs and career opportunities for STEM students. USDA Rural Development staff was joined by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Forest Service. Other USDA agencies were also represented.

Native American Youths in Florida get Behind-the-Scenes Look at Forest Service Careers

Their eyes wide open and their minds prepped to learn, a group of Native American youths from Florida recently glimpsed the skills and knowledge needed for  Forest Service careers during a field trip to the Apalachicola National Forest.

Forest professionals from civil engineering, landscape architecture, archaeology and recreation escorted teenagers from the Florida Indian Youth Program during their visit.  The teens got the stories behind several hiking, biking and fishing day-use areas on the forest. The goal was to give the teens insight in the process of creating user-friendly recreation sites. From idea, to planning, to execution, the employees presented the stages involved in site development.

A WINS-ing Summer at APHIS

Every summer Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian college students from across the nation come to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as participants in the program Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS); I am one of them.  For some of us, interning at APHIS is the first time we have ever lived off our tribal lands.  For others, coming to Washington, D.C. is but another experience living in a big city.  All of us, however, are linked in some way to the tribal communities we represent: the Omaha, Chippewa, Mohawk, Lumbee, Quechan, Laguna and Isleta nations.

WINS interns contribute more than just our skills and time; we add our voices.  We speak as individuals from communities that are often underrepresented in government settings.  We come to APHIS from states such as California, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and New Mexico and carry with us the unique perspectives of peoples from distant lands. Our respective cultures and histories, stories and languages are irrevocably parts of who we are and contribute to the way we view the world.  WINS interns help bridge the gap between Washington’s governmental agencies and the people for whom they work.  In the “People’s Department,” this bridge is priceless.

Hands-On Ag Education at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

How do you get tent caterpillars and termites to follow a circle on a piece of paper? Paint the circle with pheromones.

This was one of the many cool facts that kids and adults learned perusing the USDA exhibits at the USA Science & Engineering Festival this past weekend.   I joined thousands of people during this three-day event designed to revive interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and promote careers in those fields.

AMS Employees Head Southwest to Scope out the Talent at a College Career Fair

On March 14-15, employees from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) participated in the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Employment Extravaganza in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Thanks to advertisements in the school newspaper and other local media outlets, the event had a great turnout.  The school’s career office passed out plenty of literature to make sure the students and their potential employers made solid connections.  AMS was one of nearly twenty organizations, spanning from local government offices and non-profits to large Fortune 500 companies like Walmart, to attend the school’s last career fair of the academic year.