Foreign Agricultural Affairs Officer (Trainee)

Employer
USAJobs
Location
Washington, D.C
Posted
Oct 10, 2019
Closes
Oct 17, 2019
Function
Administrative
Hours
Full Time
Duties

Summary

FS Trainees work and train in Washington, D.C. as civil service employees for an average of 18 to 36 months, followed by conversion to the Foreign Service/assignment to an overseas post. Those who demonstrate the needed competencies will be commissioned into the Foreign Service and can look forward to professional careers with increasing rank and responsibility, averaging 25 years. See the "Guide to the Foreign Service Officer Selection Process" here: https://www.fas.usda.gov/about-as/careers"
Learn more about this agency

Responsibilities

  • The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity.
  • The duties may include, but are not limited to:
  • Works effectively with other FAS program areas and other agencies.
  • Completes assigned training requirements by assigned due dates.
  • Participates in the management and oversight of public /private sector activities and in market development and promotion, credit program activities. Evaluates and coordinates market development programs.
  • Develops and maintains effective working relationships with domestic agricultural industry reps, trade associations and cooperators.
  • Participates in the compilation, review and analysis of economic information and data regarding production, trade, consumption, prices, etc.
  • Researches the economic, agricultural and trade policies that pertain to assigned areas of responsibility and prepares briefing memoranda, correspondence, market profiles, etc.
  • Participates in the development of country strategy plans that include goals and measurable objectives, coordinating stakeholder input, organizing team meetings, and formulating trade strategies.
  • Participates in the analysis of agricultural conditions, government policies, and commercial practices affecting marketing and importing interests of U.S. producers/exporters.
  • Participates in the identification, monitoring, and removal of technical, sanitary, and phytosanitary agricultural trade barriers.
  • Develops, evaluates, and coordinates market development programs of USDA cooperators, State and Regional Trade Groups, and other entities which receive USDA funding.
  • Participates in the coordination of Departmental objectives in the World Trade Organization and other major international organizations and conferences whose work has a bearing on international trade.
  • Learns to influence others; gains cooperation while showing, in the spirit of mutual respect, understanding of other positions and applies these skills in both technical and nontechnical settings.
  • Participates in the formulation of policies for the administration of USDA trade and food assistance programs. Works to implement agricultural capacity building and development activities to enhance trade and food security goals.
  • Prepares briefing memoranda, correspondence, briefing books, market profiles and other background information for USDA decision makers on a variety of subjects related to agricultural trade.
  • Prepares oral and written briefings as required, with thorough analysis of policy options and strategies.
  • Serves in a developmental capacity performing assignments designed to prepare to be laterally transferred to the Foreign Service as an Agricultural Attach?/Assistant, FP-0135-04 at a U.S. embassy upon training completion.


Travel Required

75% or less - 75% travel required. Must be available for worldwide assignments.

Supervisory status
No

Promotion Potential
12

Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a US Citizen or US National
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt
  • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check and must be able to obtain a Top Secret security clearance.
  • Direct Deposit: Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution
  • Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at https://www.e-verify.gov/
  • Successful completion of one-year trial period required.
  • Testing Designated Position: Selectee must submit to a urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment and random testing thereafter. Final appointment and continued employment is conditional on negative results for illegal drug use.
  • Selectee will be subject to a pre-employment medical statement and/or exam.
  • In accordance with Office of Government Ethics regulations concerning conflict of interest, the incumbent will be required to submit a financial disclosure report within 30 days of their effective date of appointment and annually thereafter.
  • Employees will be required to sign a World Wide service agreement.
  • Members of the Foreign Service are obligated to serve abroad for substantial portions of their career and may not be assigned in the U.S. for a continuous period exceeding eight years unless the Secretary of Agriculture approves a special extension.
  • Foreign Service Officers are expected to serve anywhere in the world, even when family members cannot go to post due to political instability or when family members must leave post as conditions deteriorate.
  • Current Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) career employees will have re-employment rights back to FAS if not converted into the Foreign Service.


Qualifications

Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement, including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.

FOR THE GS-11 LEVEL: In order to qualify for this position at the GS-11 level applicants must possess one of the following:

1. One year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-9 level in the Federal service OR
2. Have qualifying education OR
3. Have a combination of specialized experience and qualifying education.

Specialized Experience: To qualify based on specialized experience applicants must possess one year or more of specialized experience that was equivalent to at least the next lower grade level (GS-09) in the Federal service that has provided them with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed in order to successfully perform the duties of the position at the GS-11 level. Specialized experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors, be paid or unpaid, and is typically gained in the same field as the position being filled or another very closely related field.

Applicants qualifying for the GS-11 level based on experience must provide evidence of the following type of specialized experience in their resume. Failure to do so will result in an ineligible rating:

- Experience assisting with, or performing professional work in, one of the following three areas:
. market development (market expansion-type activities); or
. capacity building (includes building food and market systems, expanding trade through food assistance, or enhancing agricultural development); or
. trade policy (negotiating and enforcing agreements; resolving technical, sanitary, or phytosanitary barriers; pursuing the development of rules-based international systems)
OR
- Experience assisting with or performing professional work in market and economic analysis and interpretation.

Education: In order to qualify for the GS-11 level based on education applicants must have successfully completed at least three full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree in agricultural marketing, economics, agricultural or applied economics, agricultural business, or another field of study directly related to this position from an accredited university. Applicants qualifying for the GS-11 level based on education must submit copies of their college transcripts. Failure to do so will result in an ineligible rating.

Combination of Specialized Experience and Qualifying Education: 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 the GS-11 grade level. Only graduate education beyond the second full-time year may be combined with experience. Applicants qualifying for the GS-11 level based on a combination of experience and education must show evidence of their experience in their resume and they must submit copies of their college transcripts. Failure to do so will result in an ineligible rating.

FOR THE GS-12 LEVEL - In order to qualify for this position at the GS-12 level applicants must possess one year or more of specialized experience that was equivalent to at least the next lower grade level (GS-11) in the Federal service that has provided them with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to successfully perform the duties of the position at the GS-12 level. Specialized experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors, be paid or unpaid, and is typically gained in the same field as the position being filled or another very closely related field.

Applicants must provide evidence of the following type of specialized experience in their resume in order to qualify for this position at the GS-12 level. Failure to do so will result in an ineligible rating :

- Experience performing professional work in all of the following three areas:
. market development (market expansion-type activities),
. capacity building (includes building food and market systems, expanding trade through food assistance, or enhancing agricultural development), and
. trade policy (negotiating and enforcing agreements; resolving technical, sanitary, or phytosanitary barriers; pursuing the development of rules-based international system
AND
. Experience performing professional work in market and economic analysis and interpretation.

NOTE: There is no substitution of education allowed at the GS-12 level.

Education

TRANSCRIPTS are required 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
FOREIGN EDUCATION: Education completed in colleges or universities outside of the United States may be used to meet qualification requirements. To be eligible, applicants must provide acceptable documentation that the foreign education is comparable to that received at an accredited educational institution in the United States. Failure to do so will result in an ineligible rating.

EDUCATION ACCREDITATION: Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to be creditable toward meeting the minimum qualification requirements. To verify your college/university accreditation, please visit: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/

Additional information

  • Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
  • First time hires to the federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.
  • Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses will not be paid. Any travel, transportation, and relocation expense associated with reporting for duty will be the responsibility of the selected employee.
  • This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the duty location of the position. Employee participation is at the discretion of the supervisor.
  • This is a term appointment not to exceed 18 months. (Appointment may be extended up to 4 years without reannouncing). For more details click: Term Appointments


How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Note: Applications of those applicants who pass the Assessment Center but are not selected during this selection cycle will be maintained for future selection consideration for a period of 2 years without the applicants being required to re-apply.

Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures and USDA policy using category rating. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined based on applicants' quality of experience and the extent they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:

  • Client Orientation
  • Decision Making
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership
  • Oral Communication
  • Organizational Awareness
  • Research
  • Technical Competence
  • Written Communication


Assessment Process

This is a multi-level assessment process. The highest ranking/best qualified applicants will be invited to participate in a one day Applicant Assessment Center.

The Assessment Center will include written, group and oral exams. The successful applicant will demonstrate the following dimensions that reflect the skills, abilities and personal qualities deemed essential to the work of the Foreign Service: interpersonal skills, intellectual skills, leadership skills, customer service skills, and communication skills.

The Assessment Center is tentatively scheduled to take place on December 5 - December 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Travel and transportation costs for participation in the Assessment Center will be at the applicant's own expense.

Applicants must pass each portion of the assessment process. If you do not pass all of the exams in the Assessment Center, you will not be considered for the position. Those that pass all of the exams in the Assessment Center will be referred to the selecting officials on a certificate of eligibles for further consideration.

Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score may be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities, or you may be found ineligible. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.

To preview the application questionnaire, please visit: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/10611900

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Top Secret

Drug test required
Yes

Position sensitivity and risk
Critical-Sensitive (CS)/High Risk

Trust determination process
Credentialing , National security

Required Documents

The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure or downtime, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
  • Resume that includes:1) personal information such as name, address, contact information; 2) education; 3) detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) other qualifications; and 5) supervisors name and phone number for each work period listed and whether or not they may be contacted for reference checks.
  • If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application if it includes your name and the necessary course information; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program. For further information, visit the following: Foreign Education Evaluation . All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
  • If claiming veterans' preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions within 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. The certification must be on the letterhead of the appropriate military branch and include the dates of military service. Veterans' preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
  • If claiming 10-point veterans' preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans' preference visit FEDSHIREVETS
  • Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), last performance appraisal that is at least fully successful or its equivalent, and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.
  • Worker's Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50.
  • Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from a military department or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held.

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