USDA implements the Pathways Programs as a mechanism to recruit, hire, and retain current students and recent graduates. The program's core principle encompasses openness, workforce planning, training and career development, and OPM program oversight. The USDA Pathways Programs has been established to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions with opportunities to explore USDA careers while still in school. Current students in an accredited high school, 2 and 4-year college and university; professional, technical, vocational, and trade school; advanced degree program; or other qualifying educational institution and pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate are eligible.
The USDA Pathways Programs includes the USDA Internship Program, USDA Recent Graduates Program, and the USDA Presidential Management Fellows Program. The USDA Internship Program is for current students. The USDA Recent Graduates Program is for individuals who have graduated within 2-years or veterans who have graduated within 6-years. The USDA Presidential Management Fellow Program is for individuals with advanced degrees who have graduated within 2-years. Interns may work either part- or full-time schedules while completing their degree or certificate requirements.
Questions regarding the USDA Pathways Programs can be directed to:
The USDA Internship Program
The USDA Internship Program provides options for paid and unpaid work experience to students who are in high school or pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in an accredited college or university (including Home-Schooling, Certificate Programs and Community Colleges). Interns may work during the summer, fall, spring or year round. Please find our current openings and complete an application for the positions in which you are interested by first reviewing the Application then Apply Here!
The USDA Recent Graduates ProgramThe USDA Recent Graduates Program provides individuals who have recently graduated from qualifying educational institutions or programs with developmental experiences in the Federal Government intended to promote possible careers in the civil service. The USDA Recent Graduates Program provides developmental experiences that are intended to promote a pathway to USDA careers for 1-year unless the training requirements of the position warrant a longer and more structured training program.
The USDA Presidential Management Fellowship Program (PMF)
USDA collaborates with the PMF Program Office at the Office of Personnel Management. Typically, OPM announces the opportunity to apply for the PMF Program during the summer or in the fall. Applicants go through a rigorous assessment process. Individuals who are selected are listed as Finalists in an OPM published document. Finalists who obtain an appointment as a PMF serve in a two-year excepted service position. USDA PMF's gain valuable work experience while also working in a discipline related to the PMF's interest. USDA's Presidential Management Fellows work with a senior-level mentor throughout the program. Career and professional development is a major component of the USDA PMF program. Each PMF is required to complete at least 80 hours of training each year of the program, for a total of 160 hours. PMF's are also placed on a performance plan and must obtain a successful rating each year. The PMF may be converted to a permanent or temporary position in the competitive service upon successful completion of program requirements and job performance.