“WHERE THE FEDERAL JOBS ARE”
FEDERAL AGENCY SERIES PART 7: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT The DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (DOI)
Secretary: Sally Jewell (2013 – present)
Headquarters: Washington, D.C. and more than 2,400 locations throughout the country.
Mission: To protect and manage the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provide scientific and other information about those resources; and honor its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities.
Strategic Goals: The Department’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018 focuses on 6 priority areas:
- Celebrating and Enhancing America’s Great Outdoors
- Strengthening Tribal Nations and Insular Communities
- Powering Our Future and Responsible Use of the Nation’s Resources
- Engaging the Next Generation
- Ensuring Healthy Watersheds and Sustainable, Secure Water Supplies
- Building a Landscape-level Understanding of Our Resources
Number of Civilian Employees: Approximately 70,000 federal civilian employees (as well as 280,000 volunteers).
DOI Organization Structure: 10 Bureaus and multiple Offices perform the Department’s programs and activities.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs. The oldest Bureau of the Department of Interior. It is the primary federal agency charged with carrying of the Nation’s trust responsibility to American Indian and Alaska Native people in 567 federal recognized tribes. It maintains the federal relationship with recognized Indian tribes; and promotes and supports tribal self-determination. The Bureau has 12 Regional Offices (in the heart of Indian Country) and 83 agencies (at the reservation level) reporting to Washington, D.C. Headquarters. Approximately 4,000 employees, the majority of whom are American Indian or Alaska Native. Employees work with tribal governments in the administration of law enforcement and justice; agricultural and economic development; tribal governance; and natural resources management programs.
- The Bureau of Indian Education. Provides education services to over 40,000 Indian students in over 180 Bureau-funded elementary and secondary schools (and directly operating 2 post-secondary institutions) on 64 reservations in 23 states. Oversees over 10,000 teachers, principals, school administrators and other staff. The Bureau is currently implementing a reorganization to better align its resources, functions, talents, and technical assistance with its mission. See http://www.bie.edu/BFRI/index.htm.
TIP 1 – HIRING PREFERENCES: Preference in filling vacancies in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Department of Health & Human Service’s Indian Health Service is given to qualified Indian candidates under Excepted Service Appointment Authority. For more information see http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/webteam/documents/text/idc1-025252.pdf.
- Bureau of Land Management. Manages public lands (approximately 245 million surface acres and 700 million sub-surface acres) as well as managing Federal onshore oil, gas and goal operations. It manages livestock grazing on public lands, and administers thousands of permits and leases held by ranchers. The Bureau’s National Landscape Conservation System includes over 870 federally recognized areas and over 30 million acres of National Monuments, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic and Historic Trails, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, and Wilderness Study Areas. In addition to the Washington, D.C. Headquarters, the Bureau has District Offices, Field Offices or Operations Centers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Denver, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Approximately 8,000 employees, there are career opportunities for those with backgrounds in conservation, forestry, environmental protection, minerals, accounting/fiscal/business, IT, and surveying.
TIP 2: The Bureau of Land Management (as well as the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service) has wild land firefighting positions available through its Fire and Aviation program (headquartered at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho). See http://www.firejobs.doi.gov/
- Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy and marine mineral resources. Develops the 5-year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program, Oil and Gas Lease Sales, and offshore Renewable Energy Programs. Functions include plan administration, environmental analysis and studies, and economic analysis. In addition to the Washington, D.C. Headquarters, it has 4 regional offices (Virginia, Alaska, New Orleans, and California). Approximately 600 staff. Typical positions include environmental protection specialist; minerals leasing specialists; biological, chemical and social scientists; and administrative personnel.
- Bureau of Reclamation. Known for the dams, power plants and canals it constructed in the western states, the Bureau is a water management agency – the largest wholesaler of water and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the U.S. It employs over 5,300 staff in Washington, D.C., 5 Regions and 20 Area Offices. Employees include biologists, engineers, hydrologists, natural resource specialists, IT specialists, and administrative personnel.
- Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Promotes safety, protects the environment, and conserves the oil and natural gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf. It develops standards and guidelines for Oil Spill Response Plans and oversees the Nation’s first federal offshore energy regulatory program. In addition to the D.C. Headquarters, the Bureau has Regional Offices in the Louisiana, California and Alaska. Approximately 800 employees. There are opportunities for petroleum engineers; geologists and geophysicists, budget analysts, program analysts, inspectors, IT specialists, and administrative personnel. .
- National Park Service. Preserves the natural and cultural resources and values of the Nation’s 400+ National Parks. The Service has more than 20,000 employees working in a large variety of career fields including, archeologist, biologists, botanist, contracting officers, education specialists, facility managers, forestry technicians, historians, IT specialists, landscape architects, museum professionals, park police, park rangers, scientists, and administrative personnel. There are also many opportunities for volunteers through the Service’s “Volunteers-In-Parks” program and other specialized volunteer opportunities. See http://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm.
- Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Nationwide program protecting society and the environment from the adverse effects of surface coal mining operations. The Office balances the nation’s need for continued domestic coal production with protection of the environment. In addition to Washington, D.C. Headquarters, has 3 Regional and Field offices (Appalachian, Mid-Continent and Western) with area and field offices in Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina., Tennessee, Washington, and Wyoming. The Office employs about 500 staff including accountants and financial mangers, engineers, geologists, geospatial professionals, program analysts, IT personnel, and administrative personnel.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dedicated to reducing the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. In addition to the D.C. Headquarters, the Service has 8 Regional Offices (Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon) with Field Offices in all States and U.S. Territories. Over 8,000 employees specializing in wildlife management and ecosystems. Jobs include: biologists and biological science technicians, ecologists, budget specialists, program specialists, IT staff, firefighters, and administrative staff.
- U.S. Geological Survey. Science organization providing impartial information on the health of ecosystems and environment and the natural hazards that threaten them; the impacts of climate and land-use change, and science systems that provide timely, relevant, and useable information. The Survey employs over 9,000 scientists, technicians and support staff at its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, 7 Regions and more than 400 locations throughout the U.S. Jobs include: scientists; biologists, microbiologists, and biologic technicians; chemists; ecologists, geologists; geophysicists; hydrologists and hydrologic technicians; IT Specialists; program analysts; budget analysts; and contract specialists.
- Office of the Secretary. Includes the Congressional and Legislative Affairs Office; Intergovernmental and External Affairs; the Secretary’s Indian Water Rights Office; the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations; the Department’s FOIA Program; the National Invasive Species Council; the Strategic Sciences Group; the Indian Arts and Crafts Board; and the Interior Museum.
- Office of Policy, Management and Budget. Includes Acquisition and Property Management; Budget; Environmental Policy & Compliance; Financial Management; Human Resources; International Affairs; Planning and Performance Management; Policy Analysis; Strategic Employee and Organization Development; and other enterprise management offices.
- Office of Insular Affairs. Coordinates federal policy for the territories of American Samoa, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
- Office of the Solicitor. Provides legal services to fulfill the Department’s mission. More than 400 employees, 300 of whom are attorneys.
- Office of the Inspector General. Provides independent oversight and promotes excellence, integrity and accountability within the programs, operations, and management of DOI.
TIP 3: DOI’s Office of the Inspector General received the highest rating among the Department’s Agency Subcomponents (#15 of 320 ranked subcomponents) in the Partnership of Public Service’s Best Places to Work in the Federal Government, 2015.
- Office of the Chief Information Officer. Provides leadership in all areas of information management and technology. Currently implementing a series of technological efficiencies to deliver improved services at lower costs.
- Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians. Provides oversight, reform and coordination of the management of Indian funds held in trust in the federal government.
- Office of Subsistence Management. Branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created to support Federal Subsistence Management Program, a multi-agency effort to provide for a subsistence way of life by rural Alaskans on Federal public lands and water while maintaining healthy populations of fish and wildlife.
Civilian Career Fields:
- Scientists (Job Series 0401)
- Biologists (Job Series 0401, 0403, 0482, 0486)
- Chemists (Job Series1320)
- Social Scientists (Job Series 0101)
- Engineers and Architects (Job Series 0800)
- Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Specialists (Job Series 0028)
- Botanists (Job Series 0400)
- Ecologists (Job Series 0408)
- Geologists and Geophysicists (Job Series 1320, 1350)
- Hydrologists (Job Series 0401, 1301)
- Minerals Leasing Specialists (Job Series 0301)
- Program Analysts (Job Series 0343)
- Budget Analysts and Accountants (Job Series 0560)
- Contracting Specialists (Job Series 1102)
- IT / Computer Specialists (Job Series 2210)
- Inspectors and Investigators (Job Series 1811)
- Administrative personnel (Job Series 301)
- Forestry Technicians (Job Series 0462)
- Park Rangers (Job Series 0025)
- Police Officers (Job Series 0083)
- Firefighters (Job Series 0081)
TIP 4: The Department of Interior’s website has a very helpful chart of mission-critical and high-populations support occupations. It lists a full array of occupational titles and the Bureaus that employ the primary occupations. Link to the chart at: https://www.doi.gov/public/findajob/.
Current Vacancies: There are currently approximately 340 Department of Interior General Schedule (GS) vacancies for civilian positions posted in USAJOBS for “U.S. Citizens.” Approximately half of the vacancies are for permanent positions; others, such as for forestry technicians, are “full time – seasonal” or temporary. Currently, the Bureaus with the largest number of positions are: the Bureau of Land Management; the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and the National Park Service. Many are between the GS-4 and GS-13 levels. Occupations with the most current vacancies include:
- Forestry Technicians (Job Series 0462)
- Range Technicians (Job Series 0455)
- Biological Science Technicians (Job Series 0404)
- Engineering/Architecture (Job Series 0800)
- Education Specialists (Job Series 1700)
- Park Rangers (Job Series 0025)
- Safety and Occupational Health Management (Job Series 0018)
- Physical Scientists (Job Series 1300)
- Legal Examiners, Assistants and Administrative Specialists (Job Series 0900)
- Management, Administrative (Job Series 0300)
THE NEXT BLOG IN THE FEDERAL AGENCY SERIES WILL FOCUS ON THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
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Ellen Lazarus is a Resume Place Certified Federal Job Search Trainer, Federal Resume Writer and Career Coach. She is a former Legislative Branch senior executive.