If you are interested in working for the Forest Service, enjoy field-work, and desire job security, this blog post is for you. About a year ago, I was finishing up a seasonal job working for the Forest Service when my boss asked me if I would be interested in a career with the Forest Service. I, personally, very much enjoyed the work and was able to push past the bureaucracy of federal employment, so I said yes. My boss told me about this program within federal employment called Pathways. Basically it works like this: you apply into the program, into any department hiring (I chose forestry/silviculture), and if you’re hired, you sign a contract agreeing to work in your granted position until you graduate and then after graduation as well. It basically guarantees you a full-time job after college (as long as you meet the annual requirements for training). This is a great way to get your foot in the door, and enter a job that is meant for recent grads, meaning you’ll be trained, and not just thrown to the wolves. Of course there are stipulations, and I would recommend a second set of eyes to read your contract (might be time to call your dad), but I found that the requirements were reasonable and your supervisor will help you and have a training plan ready.
I just finished up working my first summer in this position as a Silviculture Forester this past summer in John Day, Oregon on the Malheur National Forest. This job was awesome. The majority of my responsibilities included field work, meaning I was paid to hike around a national forest all day! There are office components as well (you’ll never escape GIS) but they help you build the foundation necessary to be successful in your field. I am already anxiously awaiting my return to Oregon after graduation. I am fortunate to have obtained this position and to have a job in crazy COVID times like these. I would highly recommend the Pathways Program (through USAJobs) to anyone interested in similar work and having similar career aspirations. If you have any questions about this process (it can be a little convoluted) don’t hesitate to reach out to me! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. (And my forest is hiring!) Good luck out there guys, hope to see you in the field some day.