Agriculturist (Biosecurity Manager)

Employer
USAJobs
Location
Washington D.C.
Posted
May 16, 2017
Closes
May 23, 2017
Function
Management
Hours
Full Time
JOB SUMMARY:

You can make a difference! The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) needs bright, energetic and committed professionals to facilitate the domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and to protect the health and care of animals and plants in the United States. MRP offers an array of occupations and is committed to diversity in the workplace. We operate in domestic and global markets. Be part of an organization that protects the health and agriculture of the American people. Join our team!

USDA is a great place to start or continue your career. USDA is ranked as one of the top 10 "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" by the Partnership for Public Service (http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/overall/large). Rankings are based on employee feedback regarding satisfaction with their work experience.

The work in this position provides oversight, advice, technical services in bio-security and bio-containment within Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant and Protection Quarantine (PPQ), Science and Technology (S&T), Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory (BSL-3) Enhanced, agriculture containment facility and other locations within the Beltsville laboratory.  This laboratory is responsible for the molecular and biochemical federal confirmation of high consequence and Select Agent plant pathogens in the U.S.  The research and diagnostic programs at the laboratory cover a variety of activities with international, national, and regional scope.  The work also directly impact the Agency’s ability to rapidly detect, delimit, and eradicate introduced exotic, quarantine significant pathogens and the ability of third-party diagnostic partners to aid APHIS in that response and in APHIS’ ability to technically strengthen and support the National Plant Diagnostic Network labs.

Salary Information:  First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.

APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS. For details click: APHIS Emergency Response


TRAVEL REQUIRED:
  • Occasional Travel
  • Travel for training and work assignments may be required.

RELOCATION AUTHORIZED:
  • Yes
  • Relocation expenses may be paid.

KEY REQUIREMENTS:
  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year probationary period.
  • Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.

    BASIC REQUIREMENT: Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.

    FOR THE GS-11 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-09 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
    • Experience in plant pathology, plant biology, or horticulture
    • Applies many different and unrelated processes and methods to fulfill a broad range of program requirements to develop regulatory guidelines, protocols, and orders of a regulatory nature related to biosafety, biosecurity, and biocontainment
    • Coordinates processes or programs that implement, monitor operations, and uses operational metrics to inform policy related to select agents or high consequence pathogen programs in a regulatory environment
    • Communicates effectively and tactfully, orally and in writing, using a diversity of strategies, tactics and means, to a diverse audience, including senior level managers, federal and industry partners, stakeholders, and customers.
    OR 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree

    Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

    FOR THE GS-12 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-11 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
    • Experience in plant pathology, plant biology, or horticulture.
    • Experience in developing regulatory guidelines, protocols, and orders related to biosafety, biosecurity, and biocontainment.
    • Coordinates or facilitates working groups or teams of senior managers to design, implement, monitor, improve and enhance objectives and operations, and uses operational metrics to inform process improvement and policy initiatives related to select agents or high consequence pathogen programs in a regulatory environment.
    • Experience writing manuals, work instructions, documentation for lab accreditation or proficiency test program development, as well as flow diagrams of diagnostic test procedures for correct results interpretation by stakeholders.
    • Experience operating within, or overseeing a select agent or high consequence pathogen program in that regulatory environment
    • Communicates effectively and tactfully, orally and in writing, using a diversity of strategies, tactics and means, to a diverse audience, including senior level managers, federal and industry partners, stakeholders, and customers.
    (Note: There is no education substitution for this grade level.)

    TRANSCRIPTS are required:

    • This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified.
    • If you are qualifying for the position based on education.
    • You are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.
    • This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university.

    COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-11 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify for that grade level. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following:  Combining Education and Experience for Professional and Scientific Positions

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Special Conditions:

    • Selection and retention in this position is contingent on a successfully adjudicated FBI National Criminal History Check (fingerprint check) and a background investigation
    • Successful completion of a 1 year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service)
    • The work may require moderate exertion in terms of moving plant pots and equipment to conduct research, and also climbing no more than 13 ft ladders to evaluate some areas of the BSL-3 facility to conduct physical inspections.
    • May travel domestically and internationally and must be capable of handling personal luggage. 
    • Must also be capable of withstanding any stress that may develop while making public presentations or meeting program deadlines that are often short and may change several times.
    • Will work within a BSL3-Enhanced facility that according to USDA and APHIS policy requires changing clothing upon entry and showering prior to exiting the facility. 
    • Working with pesticides and toxic chemical agents is common, but occasional.
    • Approximately 40% of work is performed in an office setting; 30% inside the BSL-3 Enhanced containment facility; 20% inside greenhouse and screenhouse sections assigned to the facility; and 10% working in coordination with RMS facility maintenance staff at the NPGQC. 
    • Some exposure to moderate environmental discomfort may be encountered when conducting work.
    • The incumbent could encounter plant pathogens of high risk or Select Agents outlined in the 7 CFR, Part 331 that will require the incumbent to submit a security risk assessment DOJ/FBI background investigation.

    Public Trust - Background Investigation