SRS Supports Annual Minority Conference

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Johnny Boggs and Smokey Bear. USFS photo.

Your mother always told you that manners were important.

Students attending this year’s Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) conference connected with the USDA Forest Service and explored job opportunities.

MANRRS is a non-profit organization that promotes academic advancement for students through professional development programs, partnerships, competitions, and career opportunities.

The MANRRS 2018 Annual Career Fair and Training Conference was held in Greensboro, NC. It had the largest attendance ever — more than 1,200 attendees. The theme was Preparing our Future, Empowering our Present, and Honoring our Past.

The historic relationship between the Forest Service and MANRRS has traditionally involved recruitment, sponsorship, and training. This was the first formal hiring event. Several positions were available and applications were accepted on-site.

Johnny Boggs, biological scientist, Gerry Jackson, assistant station director, and Tina Bailey, civil rights and human resources lead, represented SRS at the national event.

“I am always amazed with the talented young men and women at the conference, and their drive and professionalism,” says Jackson. “This year was an exceptional year, with the Forest Service hiring event. I had an opportunity to meet and talk with some of our future leaders and it was an exciting experience.”

Jackson served as the Forest Service Lead in the absence of Tina Terrell, associate deputy chief of Business Operations, giving the opening remarks for the USDA panel and participating in the Forest Service-led forum on “The Value of Nature in the Next 100 Years.”

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Forest Service employees pose for a photo with Smokey Bear. Pictured (L to R): Ralph Crawford, Northern Research Station Assistant Director for Research; Lynn Jarrell, Executive Assistant to the Associate Deputy Chief of Business Operations; Gerry Jackson, SRS Assistant Station Director.

The hiring event was an opportunity for students to meet with Human Resources staff and Forest Service personnel to conduct on-the-spot interviews. It was the perfect venue for students to receive interviewing tips, network, develop contacts, and receive help preparing resumes and navigating the federal government online application process on USAJobs.

“I was a member of MANRRS as a student at Alabama A&M University in the mid and late 90s, so I was excited to give back and serve on the Forest Service team as a professional member,” explains Boggs. “I remember how inspired I felt at the 12th MANRRS Annual Career Fair and Training Conference in 1997 — I was in this large banquet hall for the closing ceremony with over 800 top-tier students who were all pursuing degrees and professional careers. MANRRS is not only an organization that promotes and fosters academic advancement, but it makes you want to be excellent – the best scholar you can be.”

In addition to being part of the hiring team, Boggs was on the webinar development team and served as the Forest Service liaison to MANRRS, assisting with site logistics.

The Forest Service was just one of the USDA agencies represented at the conference. Students heard from many USDA representatives and learned what each agency has to offer, including numerous, diverse careers, as well as the rewards of being a USDA employee. The Forest Service was an event sponsor.

The 2019 MANRRS Annual Career Fair and Training Conference will be held in Kansas.

For more information, email Tina Bailey at tcbailey@fs.fed.us.

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