Pathways for Students and Recent Graduates
On December 27, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13562, Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates, which created the Pathways Programs. The Pathways Programs consist of three components: The Internship Program, The Recent Graduates Program, and the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program.
- Veterinary Internships: You will spend 6 to 10 weeks during the summer working directly with FSIS Public Health Veterinarians (PHV) to learn what our in-plant PHVs do to ensure that meat and poultry products that reach the consuming public are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled. As a Veterinary Student Trainee, you will gain an understanding of the variety of roles PHVs have in our public health regulatory agency. Qualifications: This internship opportunity is only open to current veterinary students who will have completed their first year before the summer, second-year students, and third-year students at a College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). This is not for students who are about to graduate.
- Food Inspector: You will receive on-the-job training in areas such as ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection of meat and/or poultry slaughter by directly observing and assisting a fully qualified Food Inspector. You will also become familiar with sanitation procedures and the general physical layout of a slaughter establishment. Qualifications: You need to have successfully completed at least 12 semester hours in courses such as food science, nutrition, or animal science.
- Program Investigator: You will work under the direct supervision of a Senior Program Investigator, who will be your mentor. Program Investigators investigate violations of the inspection laws, control volatile products through detentions, and ensure the appropriate criminal, administrative, and civil sanctions are carried out. Qualifications: Desired major/course work in Criminal Justice or a related field.
- Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officer: You will work closely with a senior Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officer (EIAO). EIAOs are responsible for the comprehensive assessment of the food safety systems in different types of commercial meat and poultry establishments, including slaughter and processing facilities. EIAOs conduct on-site scientific food safety verification activities, along with plant microbiological verification sampling strategies. Qualifications: You need to be enrolled in a degree program in a science field. Your major needs to require at least 30 semester hours of sciences. Creditable courses include biology, chemistry, statistics, or physics.
- Other positions may be available for degrees in agriculture, family and consumer health, human resources, information technology, finance, communications, public health, natural sciences, microbiology, chemistry, and biology.
Positions are located throughout the United States.
Currently enrolled in an accredited high school or approved home school curriculum; college (including 4-year colleges/universities, community colleges, and junior colleges); professional, technical, vocational, and trade school; advanced degree programs; or other qualifying educational institution if pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate.
In good academic standing as defined by the educational institution.
FSIS requires all students appointed under the Internship Program to be U.S. citizens. This is not required under OPM regulations but is an agency requirement for all of our employees. FSIS may hire interns on a temporary basis for up to one year to complete a specific project or assignment or for an indefinite period while they remain a student and until the educational requirements are met. Interns may work either part- or full-time. FSIS must sign a Participant Agreement with each intern that sets forth the expectations for the internship.
Applicants may apply to any of FSIS' Internship Program announcements posted via USAJobs(www.usajobs.gov). Applicants are encouraged to visit USAJobs and submit applications following the instructions in the vacancy announcement.
Internships for veterinary students are open to CURRENT veterinary students who will have completed their first year before the Summer, second-year students, and third-year students at a College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). This is not for students who are about to graduate.
This internship opportunity provides experience that is directly related to the student's educational program and career goals. We have developed this program to provide students with a valuable career-related work experience in our public health agency.
Students will work directly under the supervision of a Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Public Health Veterinarian (PHV) acquiring knowledge of what PHVs do throughout the agency. Students will learn what our in-plant PHVs do to ensure the meat and poultry products that reach the consuming public are safe, wholesome and correctly labeled. Students will spend time with several PHVs in the agency to gain an understanding of the variety of roles PHVs have in our public health regulatory agency.
At a minimum, students will be asked to be available and commit to 6 weeks of full-time employment during the summer. It doesn't matter when the student starts. It just depends on the student's schedule. Students may also work during subsequent school breaks prior to graduation.
We have PHVs in various locations throughout the country to serve as mentors. In order to match students with mentors, students will be asked during the application process where geographically they are interested in working. The student's duty station* will be determined based on their geographical interests and the availability of a mentor in, or close to, that location.
*Duty station - the geographic location (city and state) where the student will spend the majority of their time this summer; it will serve as the student's "hub."
Adel A. Malak Scholarship
In order to apply, what year must the student be in school?
The student must be in their first, second, or third year. We can't hire a student for this particular program after they have graduated.
What salary and benefits will students receive?
Students will be paid at an hourly rate. (Your hourly salary depends on your academic credentials and/or achievements in both undergraduate and graduate studies and location of job).
Students will accrue vacation and paid sick leave based on the hours worked. Students will receive pay for any federal holidays that fall within the period of their employment with us. Students will also be automatically covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System.
What is the length of the internship for veterinary students?
At a minimum, students will be asked to be available and commit to 6 weeks of full-time employment (a maximum of 16 weeks) during the summer. It doesn't matter when the student starts (other than the beginning of a pay period); it just depends on the student's schedule. Students MAY also work during subsequent school breaks prior to graduation.
When will the student begin working if selected?
Dates will depend on the student's school schedule.
What are the locations of the internship positions for veterinary students?
We have FSIS Public Health Veterinarians (PHV) in various locations throughout the country to serve as mentors. In order to match students with mentors, students will be asked during the application process where geographically they are interested in working. The student duty station* will be determined based on their geographical interests and the availability of a mentor in, or close to, that location.
*duty station - the geographic location (city and state) where the student will spend the majority of their time in the summer.
If the student needs to relocate, does FSIS help with locating housing?
No. FSIS does not pay for student housing or help with locating housing.
Will the student spend all summer in a slaughter plant?
Students will work directly under the supervision of a FSIS PHV acquiring knowledge of what PHVs do throughout FSIS. Students will spend time in a number of different plants and also spend time with PHVs in an office setting.
What are the travel requirements under the internship program?
Depending on the students' geographical location, they will spend time away from their duty stations throughout the summer. This will include occasional overnight trips throughout the summer traveling to a variety of plants and spending time with a variety of FSIS employees.
During periods of travel, what expenses will FSIS cover?
Expenses incurred from travel required under the student's training plan will be covered by FSIS in accordance with federal travel regulations. Basic travel expenses that FSIS will cover includes: airfare, or mileage if driving; the cost of lodging (hotel); a meal and incidental allowance daily; and parking/taxi/subway fees when required. Expenses associated with daily commuting to work is not covered by FSIS.
NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FSIS is not accepting applications for externships at this time. Please monitor the FSIS website for updates.
This non-paid educational opportunity usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks and can be completed throughout the calendar year dependent upon the student's schedule and the program availability. There is no reimbursement of expenses or a salary provided. The student will be responsible for housing and transportation during this experience. Students are encouraged to find a location where they can stay with family/friends or near their college.
The Volunteer Student Program (VSP) provides experience that is directly related to the student's education program and possible career goals. We have developed the VSP to provide students with valuable career-related work experience in our public health agency. FSIS is responsible for ensuring that the commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products moving in interstate commerce or exported to other countries is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. Our public health goal is to help reduce foodborne illness from products we regulate.
Under this agreement the student will be exposed to and receive training, time allowed, which will assist them in preparing to assume roles in food safety and food security issues of the future. The conditions for the acceptance of students under this program are as follows:
- The student's training is considered educationally-related and is in compliance with the provisions of 5 USC 3111. Under 5 USC 3111, a student volunteer is not a Federal employee for any purposes other than injury compensation and law related to the Tort Claims Act. Service is not creditable for leave or any other employee benefits.
- If we have a formal agreement with the student's college or university, this period with FSIS can go toward meeting the elective credit requirements. The length of the externship week may vary from school to school and also depends on the student's interests and availability, the learning objectives established, and course credit requirements, if applicable.
At a minimum, students will be asked to be available and commit to 1 week of full-time volunteer service during their school break (summer, winter, senior year blocks, etc.). If we have a formal VSP agreement in place with the student's college or university, then the student may need to commit to more weeks and other stipulations. If a mentor is not available during the student's availability, then we will work with the student on another location option.
We have mentors in various locations throughout the country. However, please keep in mind that many of the locations are in small towns. In order to match students with mentors, students will be asked where geographically they are interested in working. The student's location will be determined based on their geographical interests and the availability of a mentor in, or close to, that location. Since expenses will NOT be covered by FSIS, we suggest you try to find a location where you can stay with family/friends or near your college.
If the location in which the student indicates interest, and is selected for, requires the student to relocate from their current school location, FSIS will NOT be responsible for any travel or relocation expenses incurred to and from duty station.
Please keep in mind that there is no guarantee that there will be a mentor available in the area a student would like or the dates a student has available. Please contact FSISStudentJobs@usda.gov if you have any questions regarding the VSP.
- U.S. citizenship is not required; however, we must have a friendly treaty in place with country of origin.
- Student must be currently enrolled in college.
FSIS is recognized for its excellence in supporting diversity and for strategic management of human capital.
NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FSIS is not accepting applications for externships at this time. Please monitor the FSIS website for updates.
Students must be currently enrolled in college. Please email FSISStudentJobs@usda.gov the following information:
- Current Educational Institution
- Graduation Date
- Available Dates
- Location(s) of Interest (Please keep in mind that this is unpaid, so the ideal situation is somewhere close to family/friends or school.)
- Transcripts (unofficial are fine)
You may also email questions about the program to FSISStudentJobs@fsis.usda.gov.
1. What salary and benefits will students receive?
This is a Volunteer Student Program and the student will not be eligible for any salary or benefits.
2. What is the length of this employment program?
At a minimum, the student will be asked to commit to 1 week; however, certain schools require more weeks in order to receive school credit. Students may work during any of their breaks (summer, winter, senior block, etc.), but it depends on the availability, dates, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) mentor in the area.
3. What are the locations of the positions under the FSIS Voluntary Student Program?
We have mentors in various locations throughout the country.
4. If the student needs to relocate, does FSIS help to locate housing?
Housing and travel are NOT covered under the Voluntary Student Program. Students should choose a location that is near family/friends or school if possible.
5. If there are periods of travel while working with the mentor, what expenses will FSIS cover?
Travel is NOT covered if going from plant to plant with the mentor. In some cases, you may be able to ride along with the mentor.
6. When will the student know if he/she has been approved to work under the Volunteer Student Program? The student will be notified via email either way, if their dates, location, and availability work out. The student will need to sign a student agreement form if the opportunity is available.
Explore Hiring Paths
If you’re a Veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for veterans’ preference, as well as other veteran specific hiring options.
If you claim veterans' preference, you must provide a copy of your DD 214. If you claim a 10-point veterans' preference, you must also complete a SF 15 in addition to providing a copy of your DD 214
Returning Peace Corps Volunteers, Peace Corps Employees, former VISTA Volunteers
If you served with the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA as a volunteer or volunteer leader, you may qualify for non-competitive eligibility. This means that a federal agency can hire you outside of the usual competitive examining process.
You’re eligible if your service as a volunteer or volunteer leader totals at least 1 year with the Peace Corps or one year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA.
Your non-competitive eligibility lasts for one year after completing your Peace Corps or AmeriCorps service. Federal agencies may extend the period for up to three years if, after your completed service, you are:
- In the military service.
- Studying at a recognized institution of higher learning.
- Involved in another activity, which in the agency’s view, warrants an extension.
Your non-competitive eligibility does not entitle you to a job within the federal government. You must still apply and meet qualification standards and additional requirements, such as a background investigation.
When applying for a job, include your Peace Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA certification of service documents with your application and make sure to mention your non-competitive eligibility status on your resume.
Certain Military Spouses
Federal agencies can use the military spouse non-competitive hiring process to fill positions on either a temporary or permanent basis.
You’re eligible if you are:
- A spouse of an active duty member of the armed forces.
- A spouse of a service member who is 100% disabled due to a service-connected injury.
- A spouse of a service member killed while on active duty.
You are no longer eligible if you remarry.
You must meet certain criteria for each of these eligibility categories. Learn more about the specific criteria for military spouses.
Your eligibility does not entitle you to a job within the Federal Government. You must still apply and meet qualification standards and additional requirements, such as a background investigation.
If you're a military spouse, you may be eligible to apply using a non-competitive process designed to help you get a job in the federal government.
Individuals with Disabilities (Schedule A)
If you're an individual with a disability, you can apply and compete for any job for which you are eligible and meet the qualifications, but you also may be eligible for a special hiring authority.
Schedule A refers to a special hiring authority that gives Federal agencies an optional, and potentially quicker, way to hire individuals with disabilities. Applying under Schedule A offers an exception to the traditional competitive hiring process. You can apply for jobs using Schedule A, if you are a person with an intellectual disability, a severe physical disability, or a psychiatric disability.
To be eligible for Schedule A, you must provide a "proof of a disability" letter stating that you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability or psychiatric disability. You can get this letter from your doctor, a licensed medical professional, a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist, or any federal, state, or local agency that issues or provides disability benefits.
Applying using "Schedule A" can be a great way to get a Federal job, but it is only one of many options that may be available and you still have to compete with other eligible applicants. Federal agencies hire people using many options, so applying under "Schedule A" does not guarantee you a job.
Former Federal Employees
If you are a current or former federal employee, there are different hiring options available to you, depending on your eligibility.
Being a federal employee doesn't mean you're eligible for every federal job, so it's important to understand:
- Which service you belong to.
- The appointment type you are serving on.
Understanding this will help you know which jobs you’re eligible for and prevent you from spending time on jobs for which you’re not eligible.
Being eligible for a job is different from being qualified for a job. Understand the difference.
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 (including gender identity and expression), 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/TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination, write to:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
Chief, Employment Complaints Division
Room 327-W, Whitten Building
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410
or call (202) 720-5212.
USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer