Youth Engagement, Education, and Employment
Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats. We are the only agency in the federal government whose primary responsibility is the conservation and management of these important natural resources for the American public. The Service's origins date back to 1871 when Congress established the U.S. Fish Commission to study the decrease in the nation’s food fishes and recommend ways to reverse that decline. Today, we are a diverse and largely decentralized organization, employing about 8,000 dedicated professionals working out of facilities across the country, including a headquarters office in Falls Church, Virginia, and eight regional offices representing the 12 Unified Interior Regions. A variety of programs within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS, Service) and the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS, Refuge System) are focused on engaging diverse youth in wildlife conservation and public land management. The Service enters into cooperative agreements with member organizations of the FWS Youth Corps to engage with youth and veterans in projects under the Authority of the Public Lands Corps Act (PLC). The current list of FWS Youth Corps member organizations, application information for organizations interested in partnering with the FWS Youth Corps, and program contact information is available at: Youth U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (fws.gov) FWS Public Lands Corps Act Overview The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partners with qualified youth and veteran serving organizations or qualified Conservation Corps with the organizational capacity and unique qualifications necessary to work collaboratively with the FWS to develop projects under the Public Lands Corps Act. The purpose of the PLC is to provide work and educational opportunities for youth in the areas of natural and cultural resource conservation, development, and scientific research. Youth perform work on our nation’s public lands that cannot be carried out by Federal agencies at existing personnel levels. The PLC allows the Service to enter into partnerships using a financial assistance/cooperative with partner organizations to employ youth in PLC projects and internships. PLC participants who complete program requirements will be eligible for non-competitive appointment to Federal positions for which they qualify. Eligible partner organizations must: Be a State or local government entity, the governing body of any Indian tribe, a nonprofit organization, or an accredited institution of higher education. Be members of the FWS Youth Corps. Have financial policies and procedures that reflect generally accepted accounting principles Have risk management policies that reflect industry standards and are proactive and thorough in mitigating and managing risk to PLC Participants. Have a contract or financial assistance agreement with the Service that clearly identifies both organization’s roles and responsibilities for implementing the PLC program, or have documentation (e.g. organizational charter or similar documentation) that they have performed conservation work on Federal, State, tribal, local or private lands and utilized young people between the ages of 16 and 30 years of age, and Veterans up to age 32. Provide liability insurance. Provide workers compensation insurance through the partnering organization or the state. (The FECA covers all civilian Federal employees except for non-appropriated fund employees. There is additional special legislation which provides potential coverage to Peace Corps and VISTA volunteers; Federal petit or grand jurors, volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol, ROTC, Job Corps, YCC, and non-Federal law enforcement officers under certain circumstance involving crimes against the US. And of course, FWS volunteers have certain coverage dependent on VSA's.) Contribute a minimum of 25% of the total costs of the project or internship program either as direct funds or qualified in-kind services unless the project is carried out on Indian or Hawaiian homelands. Additionally, these organizations must have an established program that: Offers meaningful, full-time, productive work for PLC Participants in a natural or cultural resource setting. Provides a mix of work experience, basic and life skills, education training, and support services. Provides PLC Participants with the opportunity to develop citizenship values and skills through service to their community and the United States. Provides PLC Participants with a living allowance, stipend, or wages. Former Public Land Corps participants may be granted non-competitive hiring status for permanent competitive positions within the Department of the Interior, provided both they and the partner organization meet the above requirements. Non-competitive hiring status is granted through an approved FWS process. The former PLC participant also must be selected from a non-competitive selection certificate and appointed within two years of the candidate’s completion of PLC service qualifying him/her for the non-competitive hiring authority. PLC and Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Goals This special hiring authority provides the FWS with an opportunity to help meet the agency's goal of building a diverse and inclusive workforce. The FWS is committed to building and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the ethnic, age, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds and language diversity of contemporary America. Diversity means having many different elements, ideas and qualities. We define workforce diversity as the differences that influence personal perspectives of individuals in that workforce – not just those differences based on ethnicity, gender, color, age, race, religion, disability, national origin, and sexual orientation, but also differences in communication style, career path, life experience, educational background, geographic location, income level, marital status, military experience, parental status, and other variables that influence personal perspectives. Inclusion is about recognizing, respecting, and valuing differences that influence personal perspectives. These unique perspectives make us react differently, solve problems differently, and see different opportunities. Superior organizational performance requires employing people with a diversity of thought. Equal employment opportunity: The Service has an ongoing obligation under equal employment opportunity laws, executive orders, and other standards to prevent discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, retaliation/reprisal, disability, sexual orientation, parental status, and genetic information; we are also obliged to eliminate barriers that impede free and open competition in the workplace. We conduct an annual self-assessment to monitor progress and identify areas where barriers may exclude certain groups. In conducting this assessment, we compare our internal participation rates with corresponding rates in the relevant Civilian Labor Force (CLF) as points of reference. Equal employment opportunity is focused on equality and equal access, and is primarily concerned with protected classes. Even with these protections, it is important to treat every individual with respect and to embrace differences in the workplace. In this way, equal employment opportunity is distinct from diversity. FWS Public Lands Corps Act Programs PLC projects must be developed in collaboration with a FWS program, refuge, or field office. FWS Programs that enter into cooperative agreements under the Authority of the Public Lands Corps Act include but are not limited to the following: FWS Youth Corps Under the Authorization of the Public Lands Corps Act, FWS Youth Corps, collaboratively develops projects with PLC FWS Youth Corps member organizations to provide experiential, education, and employment program opportunities for youth between the ages of 16-30 and veterans 35 and younger to address resource conservation, community engagement, environmental education, facility and trail maintenance, invasive species management, and recreation access needs. Department of the Interior Personnel Bulletin (PB) 17-03 establishes the policy and procedures for providing former members who served a minimum of 640 hours of satisfactory service during PLC qualifying projects, including 120 hours in direct support of Federally managed public lands/facilities, with a non-competitive hiring status certificate for permanent competitive positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Directorate Fellows Program (DFP)Under the authorization of the Public Land Corp Act, Resources Assistant Program, the Department of the Interior established policy for bureaus to implement the Direct Hire Authority, Resources Assistant Internship Program (DHA/RAIP) in 2012. The key requirements of the program are: (1) students must be enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs; and (2) mandated targeted recruitment to ensure the full representation of women and participants from historically Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific Islander and Native American schools or other schools with diverse student populations; and (3) design a rigorous project for a minimum of least 11-weeks for candidates selected to participate in the program. FWS branded the DHA/RAIP, Directorate Fellows Program (DFP), and designed it with the intent of creating a pipeline of diverse talented individuals who would qualify and be eligible for hiring into permanent entry level science positions. The FWS, DFP was implemented in 2014 with a focus on recruiting diverse students pursuing biological science, natural resources management or related degrees that support FWS conservation mission. The FWS, DFP has provided a cohort of well-qualified, motivated folks who are eligible for direct hiring authority. Since its inception, the DFP has provided 11-week rigorous fellowships for hundreds of students with exemplary talent, approximately 200 of whom have joined our workforce so far. Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) has been selected through a directed Request for Information (RFI) as uniquely qualified to implement the Directed Fellows Program in FY 2022. In addition, several organizations have been selected through a directed RFI to provide recruitment support for the Directorate Fellows Program. Applications from qualified partner organizations for collaborative agreements to support DFP will be submitted through this announcement through GrantSolutions. Public Lands Transportation Fellows Program (PTLF) The Public Lands Transportation Fellows program (PLTF) provides fellowships to outstanding graduates in a transportation-related field to work directly with staff of Federal Land Management Agencies on key visitor transportation issues. The PLTF program began in 2012 and was modeled after the very successful Transportation Scholars program managed by the National Park Foundation (NPF) that serves the National Park Service (NPS). The PLTF program gives recent graduates (sometimes current students) in a transportation related engineering, planning, or resource management program a unique opportunity for career development and public service. Successful applicants are placed at a federal land unit facing a transportation issue to facilitate a transportation planning or implementation project. A fellow is assigned to work directly with staff at a unit or headquarters/region/field office. The assigned projects help the land units develop transportation solutions that preserve valuable resources and enhance the visitor experience. The program has three goals, which are to: Encourage emerging transportation professionals to pursue their career serving federal lands. Provide much needed transportation expertise to FMLA units and regions to help them address critical transportation issues. Support the development, implementation and evaluation of viable alternative transportation for visitors to FLMA’s. The Public Lands Transportation Fellows program is a collaborative agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana State University Western Transportation Institute. Youth Conservation Corps The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is a summer youth employment program that engages young people in meaningful work experiences on public lands while developing an ethic of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility. YCC programs are generally 8 to 10 weeks long. Participants are paid the minimum wage for a 40-hour work week. Most YCC opportunities are non-residential programs that provide paid daytime work. The Service anticipates entering into cooperative agreements with multiple organizations to accomplish crew-based YCC projects in fiscal year 2022. Collaborative projects must be submitted through GrantSolutions prior to the Application Due Date of this Notice of Funding Opportunity. Youth Conservation Corps U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (fws.gov) Career Discovery Internship Program Founded in 2008, the Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP) was created in partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to help prepare the next generation of wildlife professionals and managers by: Introducing culturally and ethnically diverse college freshman and sophomores to conservation careers in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service); Giving field staff the experience of working with culturally and ethnically diverse employee; and Increasing the diversity of the applicant pool for conservation based jobs. These internships provide a diverse group of youth with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field. Interns are paid a living wage and, in some cases, are also provided with room and board for the duration of their service. CDIP interns are assigned to Service field stations for a summer of hard work and experiential education. Before beginning their assignment, interns attend a week-long training and orientation program. During this time, interns receive a variety of training units including an introduction to the Service and SCA, cultural and intergenerational awareness training, mentor/mentee training to name a few. The interns also engage in simulations and Service challenges designed and facilitated by Service and SCA staff. Interns also meet their designated mentor for the summer, who is a Service employee. Service challenges are usually management issues common to daily life on a Service field station, with topics considering public relations, invasive species, and resource conservation. The interns close their week with a presentation on their solutions to these challenges. CDIP project applications must be submitted in GrantSolutions prior to the Application Due Date of this Notice of Funding Application. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service CDIP Student Conservation Association CDIP
Categories: Natural Resources.
Categories: Natural Resources.