Externships and Volunteer Opportunities
The Externships and Volunteer Opportunities provide experience that is directly related to the student's education program and possible career goals. 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.
This non-paid educational opportunity also known as an externship, 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.
The conditions for the acceptance of students under this program are as follows:
- The student's training is considered educationally related and follows the provisions of 5 USC 3111.
- 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.
- At a minimum, students will be asked to be available and commit to one week of full-time volunteer service during their school break (summer, winter, senior year blocks, etc.).
- 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.
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.
- Student must be currently enrolled in college.
FSIS is recognized for its excellence in supporting diversity and for strategic management of human capital.
How to Apply:
- 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@usda.gov.
FAQ Section on Common Questions:
- 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.
- What is the length of this employment program?
At a minimum, the student will be asked to commit to one week; however, certain schools require more weeks 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.
- What are the locations of the positions under the FSIS Voluntary Student Program?
We have mentors in various locations throughout the country.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and undergo a background investigation.
For more information on internships and career opportunities with USDA please visit the Internships and Career Opportunities webpage.