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Recruitment at the Annual Society of American Foresters (SAF) Convention

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The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management will be conducting a Student Recruitment Event at the 2015 Society of American Foresters Convention held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Pathway’s Student Intern positions will be posted on USAJOBS sometime in October. Applications will be accepted on site at the Society of American Foresters (SAF) Convention in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from for 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on November 3rd, and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on November 4th. Refer to the SAF’s National Convention web page for more information about the Convention.

Registration for the SAF Convention is not required, but students must be on-site to turn in applications. If students are not able to be on-site, students may apply on-line for additional student internships offered after Convention. This will be the US Forest Service’s fall national recruitment effort. Jobs will posted on USAJOBS during that time.

This recruitment event is a streamlined approach to hiring that uses the excepted service hiring authority under the Pathways Internship Program. We will evaluate applicants during the event and may extend tentative offers of employment by the end of Convention. It is a rapid, applicant-friendly competitive recruitment process.


Students interested in applying for a job with the US Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management at the SAF Convention should periodically check this website. We will post job information on this website, with job announcements posted on USAJobs. Refer to instructions below under “How to Apply.”

See the 2015 Society of American Foresters Pathways Student Internship-Indefinite Position Lists (PDF, 278 KB).

Eligibility for Consideration

The following are required in order to qualify for the various hiring programs:

Pathways Student Intern - Indefinite: The Pathways Student Intern – Indefinite Program allows for appointment to student positions related to a student’s chosen academic area of study. These programs require a formal commitment from the university or college in which the student is enrolled. Upon completion of 640 hours of training, he or she can be converted to a permanent position without further competition. These positions integrate classroom study with paid work experience to prepare the student for placement in the permanent workforce at an entry-level position. It targets students in their sophomore and junior year working on Bachelor’s degrees and incoming graduate students; freshman and seniors (if graduation is delayed) are encouraged to apply as well. Students must be enrolled at least half -time in an accredited program leading to qualifications required for the specific job. U.S. Citizenship is required for conversion to a permanent position.

Compensation and Benefits

Pathways Intern – Indefinite positions may be filled at grades GS- 4/5/7/9, depending upon qualifications and the vacancy. Upon graduation and successful work experience, a student employee may convert to a permanent professional position at grades GS-5/7/9/11, with a full performance level of GS-7, 9, or 11. Technician positions are filled at grades GS-3/4/5 with a full performance level of GS-4, 5, 6, or 7. Starting grade depends upon academic and professional qualifications, and future promotions depend upon successful performance and supervisor recommendation. You may review compensation rates for the various grades and localities on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Salaries and Wages web page.

As employees of the Federal Government, employees enjoy a comprehensive and flexible range of benefits and. All permanent employees, including student intern employees, are eligible. Our employees find that the benefits program we offer is designed to support the lifestyles of a diverse national workforce in a flexible system that allows you to match benefit choices to you and your family's individual needs. For more information, please see the U.S. Forest Jobs: Benefits and Training web page.

How to Apply

It is very important to bring all requested materials to the Convention for your application, including copies of current transcripts. We will consider qualified student applicants for appropriate positions, although you may request consideration for specific jobs or locations. Walk-in applicants must turn in their applications on Tuesday, November 3rd from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Wednesday, November 4th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on-site at the Baton Rouge River Center, 275 South River Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Applications will be accepted outside room L1-L4 in the Convention Center.

On-site interviews for applicants who attend the convention will be conducted on either Tuesday afternoon/evening or Wednesday at the Convention Center. Students must be available for in-person interviews during those times. The positions will be tentatively offered on Thursday afternoon/evening, November 5th. The process is very competitive.

To apply for the positions students must have 2 of each (for Forest Service Positions) and 2 of each (for Bureau of Land Management Positions) of the following ready for submission at Convention:

  1. Cover letter - optional (one page maximum)
  2. Resume that includes the following information: 1) contact information; 2) completed coursework; 3) education/GPA; 4) work/volunteer experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade, if applicable; 5) supervisor’s name, phone number and e-mail address for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) References.
  3. Transcripts: An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if selected, an official college transcript will be required prior to appointment. Transcripts MUST include the student’s full name, name of the school, current GPA/academic standing, past and current coursework, and degree program. If your school does not provide transcripts or the transcripts does not provide all the necessary information listed above, you should include additional academic documentation from the school that meets the requirements above. This additional documentation may include a letter from the school’s registrar’s office or official enrollment verification.
  4. Acceptance letter: Students who have recently graduated or are expected to graduate in the fall/winter term must also include an official acceptance letter along with their transcripts to verify they are continuing their education.
  5. DD-214 (MEMBER 4 COPY) or VA documentation if claiming Veteran’s Preference. Veterans claiming 10 point preference must also submit an SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans Preference

Note: Students who have attended multiple educational institutions or have multiple degrees should include documentation from all sources when submitting their application. 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 the Database of Accredited Programs and Institutions.

Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For more information please see Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.

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Previous SAF Conventions

U.S. Forest Service Recruitment at the 2014 Society of American Foresters (SAF) Convention

The Forest Service Pathway’s student recruitment event at the Society of American Foresters’ Convention the week of October 7, 2014, was a huge success! Over 1,000 students from around the world attended the conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Fifty-nine students were interviewed. Twenty-six students were hired as Pathways Indefinite Interns in forest management and natural resources management trainee positions. Representatives from Human Resources Management; Regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8; the Washington Office National Forest System; Washington office Civil Rights; and USDA Office of Human Resource Management worked in collaboration to make the event a success. Below is a photo of the class of 2014.

New Forest Service hires at the 2011 SAF Convention.
New Forest Service hires at the 2014 SAF Convention.

Student Recruitment Event at the 2012 SAF Convention

Over 500 students attended the Society of American Foresters (SAF) Convention in Spokane, Washington, on October 24-26, 2012. The Forest Service helped sponsor 23 diversity scholars providing them scholarships to attend the convention. Additionally, we outreached and advertised eleven positions nationally and received over 900 applications. Four interview teams conducted approximately 70 interviews in-person, over-the-phone, and using Skype video technology. We made eleven job offers.

Diversity Scholars with Chief Tom Tidwell and Associate Deputy Chief Calvin Joyner at Breakfast with the Chief.
Diversity Scholars with Chief Tom Tidwell and Associate Deputy Chief Calvin Joyner at Breakfast with the Chief. Photo by Andrea Payne, Forest Service.

Diversity Scholars with Chief Tom Tidwell and Associate Deputy Chief Calvin Joyner at Breakfast with the Chief. Photo by Andrea Payne, Forest Service.
Chief Tom Tidwell with New Hires: Kelly Nywening, Hanna Mershman, and Kayanna Warren. Photo by Andrea Payne, Forest Service.

2011 SAF Convention

Over 235 students attended the SAF convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 2-6, 2011. Using On-the-Spot Hiring, the Forest Service interviewed over 60 candidates and offered jobs to 17 outstanding students. Chief Tidwell introduced the 17 new employees at the end of the convention during “Breakfast with the Chief” on November 5, 2011.

New Forest Service hires at the 2011 SAF Convention.
New Forest Service hires at the 2011 SAF Convention “Breakfast with the Chief”. Standing: Kyla Berendzen, Travis Sowards, David Gouveia, Sadira Dunn, Emily Overton, Raechel Owens, Sally Murray, Thomas Roland, Michael Shettles. Sitting: Camaura Scott, Marissa "Jo" Daniels, Christine Droske, Sylvia Staples, Chief Tom Tidwell, David Perez, Emily Rowland, Kainana Francisco

2010 SAF Convention

Over 400 students attended the SAF convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico October 27 to October 31, 2010. Using On-the-Spot Hiring, the Forest Service interviewed over 120 candidates and offered jobs to 17 outstanding candidates. Chief Tidwell introduced 9 of the 17 new employees at the end of the convention during "Breakfast with the Chief" on October 30, 2010.

New hires introduced during Breakfast with the Chief.
New hires introduced during Breakfast with the Chief. Left to right: Beth Harris, Stephanie Rayburn, Joshua LeDuc, George Smithson, Chief Tom Tidwell, Alfred Garcia, Francisca Turk, Bradley Cooper, Francisco Salazar, and Tiffani Alexander. Photo by Carol Boyd.

Ted Willis promoting opporunities of becoming a Forest Service employee at the SAF Convention.
Ted Willis recruiting a candidate at the Career Fair. Photo by Deidre Smith.

New hires sitted at a table at the SAF Convention Student Orientation and Reception.
First night at the SAF Convention Student Orientation and Reception. Left to right: Cameron Dixon, SAF Diversity Ambassador; Lorenzo Walton, Forest Service SCEP; Dr. Kozma Naka, Asst. Professor at Alabama A&M; Beth Harris, selected for Black Hills National Forest Forestry SCEP; Deidre Smith, Forest Service Liaison Officer Tuskegee University; Chanz Birch, Forest Service SCEP; Tiffani Alexander, selected for Superior National Forest Forestry SCEP; and, Brittany Ragland, MWSI student at Tuskegee University. Photo by Berlinda Baca-Sanchez.

Stephanie Rayburn and Chief Tidwell.
Stephanie Rayburn and Chief Tidwell on October 30th at SAF Convention. Stephanie was selected for a forestry position on the Coronado National Forest. Photo by Carol Boyd.

2009 SAF Convention

Over 340 students attended the SAF convention in Orlando, Florida, September 30 to October 4, 2009, many visiting the Forest Service recruitment booth, job fair table, and interviewing for our on-the-spot jobs. The Forest Service interviewed over 120 applicants; by the end of the convention, 19 students had been offered jobs. The Chief of the Forest Service introduced the new hires during his program, “Breakfast with the Chief” on Saturday morning, October 3rd.

New hires introduced during Breakfast with the Chief.
New hires introduced during Breakfast with the Chief (From left to right: Chief Tom Tidwell, Josh Exton, Leland Taylor, Chris Sorenson, Josh Bahling, Mary Mayeda, and Alex Schwartz). Photo by Deidre Smith.

Ted Willis promoting opporunities of becoming a Forest Service employee at the SAF Convention.
Ted Willis promotes opportunities of becoming a Forest Service employee. Ted also took charge of overall logistics at the convention. Photo by Deidre Smith.

An extraordinary team of Forest Service managers, recruiters, and Human Resources staff volunteered a major portion of their time at the SAF convention to interview and recruit students. Tim Dabney, Stewardship Contracting Coordinator in the Washington Office, shared the following about his experience.

"I started my career with the Forest Service 31 years ago when I was hired as a co-op student, which is the same as being hired as an SCEP student today. I am a strong advocate of the student hiring programs and am even more so after my experience with on-the-spot hiring at the recent SAF convention. I had the opportunity to interview many high caliber students from across the country and was able to fill four jobs. I only wish that we had more jobs to offer at the convention since there were still many highly qualified candidates remaining."

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The USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Last modified: Tuesday, 03-Nov-2015 09:20:40 CST