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Heading: Working for the Great Outdoors.
Student Programs (header)
Student Employment (subheader)

  STEP Program
SCEP Program
Q & A About STEP and SCEP
Other Student Programs


  With the USDA Forest Service's commitment to increase diversity, there are several student employment initiatives which the Forest Service has available to challenge and train the best and brightest for pursuit of careers in natural resources. Each year, the agency's national Multicultural Workforce Strategic Initiatives (MWSI) provides 200+ students from diverse backgrounds opportunities to gain paid work experience and demonstrate their abilities and potential for a successful federal career.

Typically, MWSI participants are first employed under the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). Those showing strong potential may be recruited as "student trainees" under the Forest Service's Student Career Experience Program (SCEP). Upon completion of SCEP and degree requirements, students gain eligibility for conversion to permanent federal employment. Each year, the Forest Service fills many of its new permanent, entry-level positions with students converted from SCEP. Besides introducing diverse students to FS careers and recruiting many into SCEP, MWSI Initiatives may offer tuition assistance:

Alabama A&M Initiative involves the recruitment of students from Alabama A & M University pursuing careers in forestry, soil science, botany, and other natural resource-related fields. The Initiative also admits students who have completed the Schenk Job Corps Pre-Forestry Training Program. The Forest Service's Southern Research Station hosts this initiative that includes a full-time liaison located on the university's campus in Normal, Alabama:

Louise K. Wyche, Liaison
Phone: (256) 372-4188
Main Desk: (256) 372-4201
Fax: (256) 372-8275
American Indian Higher Education Consortium Initiative (AIHEC); and
Haskell Indian Nations University Initiative (Haskell)

Both Initiatives involve the recruitment of students who wish to pursue a Bachelor's or graduate degree and career in natural resources. AIHEC may recruit students from any university. Haskell recruits students from the university, as well as Haskell alumni attending other universities. Both Initiatives introduce prospective recruits to Forest Service careers using STEP appointments. Interested students who are enrolled in a Bachelor's or Graduate degree program in natural resources may then apply for, and be recruited into SCEP positions (usually as sophomores or juniors, if undergraduates). The Forest Service's Intermountain Region (Region 4) hosts this initiative that includes a liaison located on Haskell's campus in Lawrence, KS:

Doug Eifler, Liaison
Brenda Woods-Brown, Assistant
Phone: (785) 749-8414; (785) 749-8493
Fax: 785-749-8439

Florida A&M Initiative is a partnership with Florida A&M (FAM) and the University of Florida (UF) that involves the recruitment of students preparing for careers in forestry, wildlife, ecology, and natural resources conservation. Students complete a 2-year preparatory curriculum at FAM and transfer into University of Florida (a 4-year university) to complete their natural resource degree. The Forest Service's Southern Research Station hosts this initiative that includes a liaison located on campus in Tallahassee, FL:

Ted Willis, Liaison
Phone: (850) 412-7383
Fax: (850) 561-2444

Hispanic Recruitment Initiative involves the recruitment of students preparing for careers in natural resources. The Initiative includes the recruitment of high school students who are preparing for a community college or university curriculum, and then completing their degree in natural resources at any 4-year college or university of their choice. The Forest Service's Southwestern Region (Region 3), with headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosts this initiative and its liaison:

Berlinda Baca-Sanchez, Liaison
Phone: (505) 842-3820 Fax: (505) 842-3800

Person with Disabilities (PWD) Initiative helps managers recruit university students for administrative and natural science/resources positions. A primary recruitment source is the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students With Disabilities (WRP) that yearly offers a current database on CD ROM presenting credential summaries of 1800+ candidates from 175+ colleges and universities who have been interviewed by federal managers from about 175 colleges nationwide. The Forest Service's Washington Office (Human Resources Management) hosts this initiative and its liaison:

Jerry McGaughran, Liaison
Phone: (703) 605-0847; TTY: (703) 605-4563
Fax: (703) 605-5105

Scientist Recruitment Initiative (SRI) was established to develop a skilled work force that is diverse in disciplinary training, gender, and cultural/racial/ethnic origin, in order to address natural resource challenges of the 21st century. Annually, research stations propose research projects/positions to fill projected research needs. Candidates may be from any university, but must be enrolled in at least a Master's Degree program, with intentions to complete their doctorate in the desired research field. Candidates receive $25,000/year in support (toward salary, school costs). Additional funding is subject to local research organizations. The Forest Service's Washington Office (Research & Development) hosts this program and its liaison:

Marty Longan, Liaison
Phone: (703) 605-4180
Fax: (703) 605-5131

Schenk Initiative was developed to provide promising students recruited from Forest Service Job Corps Centers an opportunity to receive one year of pre-college and pre-forestry studies, as well as hands-on experience in the Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. Approximately 10 students are recruited annually. Qualified students who then enroll in Alabama A&M University to pursue degrees in natural resources may be considered for scholarships and job placement support under Forest Service's Alabama A&M Initiative (described above):

Rick Kiel, Program Director
Phone: (828) 862-6130
Fax: (828) 877-5076

Southern University and A&M College Baton Rouge Campus, Louisiana is the site of FS' Urban Forestry Initiative, established to develop and coordinate effective programs for recruitment and retention of urban forestry undergraduate and graduate students. The Forest Service's Southern Region (Region 8) hosts this initiative and its liaison:

Erik D. Taylor, Liaison
Phone: (225) 771-5187
Fax: (225) 771-6287

Tuskegee University Initiative involves the outreach and recruitment of students in high school and college who are pursuing careers in natural resources. Students pursue 3 + 2 program that includes completion of a pre-natural resources curriculum at Tuskegee. They then transfer to one of eight universities for completion of a Bachelor's or, occasionally, a Master's degree in a natural resources field (U of Washington, NC State U, Duke U, U of Florida, Mississippi State U, U of California at Davis, or Auburn U). The Forest Service's Southern Region (Region 8) hosts this initiative and its liaison:
Deidre Smith, Liaison
Phone: (334) 724-4458
Fax: (334) 241-8111

University of California, Davis Initiative involves the recruitment of students pursuing majors in natural resources at any college of their choice. The Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) hosts this initiative that includes a liaison located on the UC Davis campus.
Kimo Kimokeo, Liaison
Phone: (530) 754-8792
Fax: (530) 752-0411

USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is a Departmental Initiative, agency funded, and recruits top high school scholars to pursue natural resource careers at one of the seventeen 1890 Land Grant Institutions (see list below). Students selected receive full four-year scholarships, SCEP positions, and are converted by their hiring units to permanent employees upon graduation. The 1890 Land Grant Institutions include the following universities: Alabama A & M, Alcorn State, Delaware State, Florida A & M, Fort Valley State, Kentucky State, Langston, Lincoln, North Carolina A & T, Prairie View A & M, South Carolina State, Southern University & A & M College, Tennessee State, Tuskegee, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Maryland-Eastern Shore, and Virginia State. The Forest Service's Washington Office (Civil Rights) hosts this initiative and its program coordinator:

Cindy Ragin, Coordinator
Phone: (202) 205-9927
Fax: (202) 690-1025

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