Excel as a High-Performing Agency

First employee hired under new direct hire authority for resource assistants

KENTUCKY — On Wednesday, Oct. 31, Boonie Champa was sworn in as a new USDA Forest Service employee by Chief Vicki Christiansen in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Society of American Foresters Annual Convention. Using a new authority provided by the Farm Bill, the Forest Service was able to hire this outstanding young woman. Champa is a 2018 graduate of Florida A&M University.

After graduating, she participated in a Career Internship Program through the Greening Youth Foundation in the Southern Region. That internship concluded in October 2019. The Forest Service was able to hire her immediately using the newly signed direct hire authority for resource assistants.

The new Farm Bill authorized the agency to use the direct hire authority to hire qualified and experienced former resource assistants directly to a position where their talents and skills can make a difference. Participants in the Resource Assistants Program are men and women, ages 17 and older, working for the Forest Service through a third-party partnership to carry out research, forest and recreation management, or resource protection activities in support of the agency mission.

This hiring authority applies to permanent, temporary and term positions. Hiring managers are encouraged to work with their Human Resources staffing teams to effectively use this hiring authority.

A woman swears in another woman; Forest Service flag on the background
Chief Christiansen swears in Boonie Champa, the Forest Service’s first resource assistant hired under the new direct hiring authority. USDA Forest Service photo.
Two women holding  book
Chief Christiansen and Boonie Champa hold a copy of “This Is Who We Are” following Champa’s swearing in ceremony. USDA Forest Service photo.