WASHINGTON, DC — On April 6, the Forest Service hosted a national recruitment, outreach, and hiring event at the 33rd Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences annual career fair and training conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. MANRRS is a national society that pursues excellence in leadership, scholarship and service. This year saw the largest attendance in conference history—about 1,200 students and professionals participated. The theme this year was “preparing our future, empowering our present and honoring our past.” After 33 annual conferences and too many success stories to tell, MANRRS continues to promote academic advancement for students through professional development programs, partnerships, competitions and career opportunities.
In Nov. 2017, the agency invited employees to help plan this hiring event. There was an overwhelming response. Many of those invited to help came up through MANRRS and understand the leadership and value these smart young students can bring to the agency. Group leaders and teams developed 12 educational webinars and promotional materials to explain the event details to hiring managers and local MANRRS chapter members. The webinars offered historical information about MANRRS, tips for jobseekers and details about Pathways Program recruitment and USAJobs. MANRRS alumni also gave testimonials about how the society helped their careers and highlighted the many benefits of hiring a MANRRS student.
“MANRRS is an organization the Forest Service has been working with for decades and we have a history of recruiting incredible leaders. In the past five years we have not been as active in working with MANRRS, I do not want us to miss this opportunity any longer,” said Tina Terrell, acting associate deputy chief for Business Operations. “The hiring team was committed and worked hard to ensure this event was successful.”
The historical relationship between the Forest Service and MANRRS has traditionally involved recruitment, sponsorship and training. This was the first formal hiring event at the conference that involved several positions and accepted applications on-site. Members of the hiring team coordinated with MANRRS to set up a room for students to work with Human Resources. The team helped students edit their resumes, walked them through the online application process to apply for intern indefinite and recent graduate positions, and offered guidance for interviewing. Both undergraduate and graduate students were very appreciative for the amount of one-on-one time and attention they received.
The hiring team heard comments from students that ranged from “Thank you so much, no one has ever told me that before,” to “I feel much better about the quality of my resume now,” to “Go to this guy, he is going to make sure your information is right.” Team members heard positive remarks like this from many students and professionals about the hiring event and the USDA panel discussion.
USDA agencies exhibiting at the conference included the Forest Service, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Office of the Secretary and Risk Management Agency.
The Secretary aspires to make USDA the most efficient, effective, customer-focused and well-managed department in the government. To support this initiative, the agencies came together as one to represent the Department at a OneUSDA display and hosted a USDA panel discussion. The USDA panel gave students an opportunity to learn about the diverse career paths available in our agencies from agency professionals as well as learn and hear about the many rewards of being a USDA employee and MANRRS alumni—both will give young MANRRS professionals unlimited possibilities to explore, innovate and serve.
The hiring team will reconvene in the coming months to plan the second recruitment and hiring event for the 34th MANRRS annual career fair and training conference in Kansas.