F23AS00069 Youth Engagement, Education, and Employment

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS, Service) is committed to building and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the ethic, age, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and language diversity of contemporary America.

The Service operates a variety of programs that promote

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wildlife conservation and public land management under the Public Lands Corps Act (PLC, FWS Youth Corps) through engagement, employment, and education of our nation’s diverse youth and veterans.

Service programs operating under the Public Lands Corps Act have been designated as covered programs under Justice40 (Executive Order 14008).

The Service strives to meet the Federal Government’s goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal Investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

The categories of investment are:
climate change, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, remediation of reduction of legacy pollution, and the development of critical clean water and wastewater infrastructure.

The Service is the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats.

We are the only agency in the federal government whose primary responsibility is the conservation and management of these important natural resources for the American public.

The Service's origins date back to 1871 when Congress established the U. S. Fish Commission to study the decrease in the nation’s food fishes and recommend ways to reverse that decline.

***Applicants seeking technical or financial assistance from a Service PLC Program are requested to consult with a local Service office BEFORE developing or submitting an application (see Agency Contacts at the end of this announcement or visit U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (fws.gov) The Public Lands Corps (PLC) Program is authorized by Congress under Title 16 USC Sec.

1721-1726; Public Law 109-154, Public Lands Corps Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2005 (amends the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993)1, and all subsequent amendments.

Guidance authorizes U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) HQ, Regional, and field offices to (1) establish PLC Programs (2) certify participants who meet the PLC eligibility requirements for the PLC non- competitive hiring authority status, and (3) ensure consistent program standards throughout the Service.

The purpose of Service PLC Programs is to provide work and education opportunities for youth (defined as ages 16-30 inclusive, and up to age 35 for veterans) participants in the areas of natural and cultural resource conservation, development, and scientific research.

Participants perform work on our nation’s public lands by providing additional, unique capacity designed to boost the impact of the Service for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the American people.

The PLC Program allows the Service to establish partnerships with Partner organizations (Partners), generally defined as “qualified youth or conservation corps,” using financial assistance/cooperative agreements or MOUs, to employ the next generation of conservationists in paid PLC projects and internships.

Partners must be designated as an official member of the FWS Youth Corps (formerly 21CSC Youth Corps) in order to certify Participants.

FWS Youth Corps application information is available in the attachments to this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

The purpose of this NOFO is not to establish new partnerships.

Unsolicited partnership applications or projects that are not collaboratively developed between an existing FWS Youth Corps member and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be returned as ineligible.

***Applicants seeking technical or financial assistance from a Service PLC Program are requested to consult with a local Service office BEFORE developing or submitting an application (see Agency Contacts at the end of this announcement or visit U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (fws.gov) The PLC Program’s goals are to:
Perform, in a cost-effective manner, appropriate conservation projects on eligible lands where such projects will not be performed by existing government employees.

Assist governments and Indian tribes in performing research and public education tasks associated with natural and cultural resources on eligible lands.

Expose young people to public service while furthering their understanding and appreciation of the Nation’s natural and cultural resources.

Stimulate interest among the Nation’s youth in the Service and conservation careers by exposing them to conservation, scientific research, and other professionals in the Service, and offering them non-competitive hiring eligibility for Federal positions for which they qualify upon meeting program requirements.

Allow PLC participants the opportunity to seek forbearance on Stafford loans 2. Qualifying PLC participants, who have met program requirements, may become eligible for PLC non-competitive hiring authority status that is valid for up to for two (2) years and can be used to apply for permanent, temporary and term federal positions for which they qualify.

The Service operates many PLC programs under the FWS Youth Corps that offer the possibility of non-competitive hiring authority status.

Programs such as:
Public Lands Transportation Fellows Program (PLTFP) The Public Lands Transportation Fellows program (PLTF) provides fellowships to outstanding graduates in a transportation-related field to work directly with staff of Federal Land Management Agencies on key visitor transportation issues.

The PLTF program began in 2012 and was modeled after the very successful Transportation Scholars program managed by the National Park Foundation (NPF) that serves the National Park Service (NPS).

The PLTF program gives recent graduates (sometimes current students) in a transportation related engineering, planning, or resource management program a unique opportunity for career development and public service.

Successful applicants are placed at a federal land unit facing a transportation issue to facilitate a transportation planning or implementation project.

A fellow is assigned to work directly with staff at a unit or headquarters/region/field office.

The assigned projects help the land units develop transportation solutions that preserve valuable resources and enhance the visitor experience.

The program has three goals, which are to:
Encourage emerging transportation professionals to pursue their career serving federal lands.

Provide much needed transportation expertise to FMLA units and regions to help them address critical transportation issues.

Support the development, implementation, and evaluation of viable alternative transportation for visitors to FLMA’s.

Youth Conservation Corps The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is summer youth employment program that engages young people in meaningful work experiences on public lands while developing an ethic of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility.

YCC programs are generally 8 to 10 weeks long.

Participants are paid the minimum wage for a 40-hour work week.

Most YCC opportunities are non-residential programs that provide paid daytime work.

The Service anticipates entering into cooperative agreements with multiple organizations to accomplish crew-based YCC projects in fiscal year 202 2. For Service Regions that operate YCC programs through financial assistance, collaborative projects must be submitted through GrantSolutions prior to the Application Due Date of this Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Youth Conservation Corps Career Discovery Internship Program Founded in 2008, the Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP) was created in partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to help prepare the next generation of wildlife professionals and managers by:
Introducing culturally and ethnically diverse college freshman and sophomores to conservation careers in the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service); Giving field staff the experience of working with culturally and ethnically diverse employee; and Increasing the diversity of the applicant pool for conservation-based jobs.

These internships provide a diverse group of youth with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field.

Interns are paid a living wage and, in some cases, are also provided with room and board for the duration of their service.

CDIP interns are assigned to Service field stations for a summer of hard work and experiential education.

Before beginning their assignment, interns attend a week-long training and orientation program.

During this time, interns receive a variety of training units including an introduction to the Service and SCA, cultural and intergenerational awareness training, mentor/mentee training to name a few.

The interns also engage in simulations and Service challenges designed and facilitated by Service and SCA staff.

Interns also meet their designated mentor for the summer, who is a Service employee.

Service challenges are usually management issues common to daily life on a Service field station, with topics considering public relations, invasive species, and resource conservation.

The interns close their week with a presentation on their solutions to these challenges.

New and emerging Programs The Indian Youth Service Corps Program The IYSC Program is a program established within the Public Lands Corps Act that offers Tribes and other partner organizations the opportunity to enter into agreements with the Secretary of the Interior, Agriculture, or Commerce to do one or more of the following, for the benefit of Tribal members:
Establish conservation crews to carry out appropriate conservation projects on eligible service lands; or Place individuals in resource assistant positions; or Place individuals in apprenticeships.

The purpose of the IYSC is to:
Perform, in a cost-effective manner, appropriate conservation projects on eligible service lands where such projects will not be performed by existing employees; Assist governments and Indian tribes in performing research and public education tasks associated with natural and cultural resources on eligible service lands.

Expose Indian young men and women to public service while furthering their understanding and appreciation of our Nation’s natural and cultural resources.

Expand educational opportunities by rewarding individuals who participate in national service with an increased ability to pursue higher education or job training; and Stimulate interest among our nation’s Indian young men and women in conservation careers by exposing them to conservation professionals in land-managing agencies.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fire Management Program The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fire Management Program’s goals include:
Provide enough fuels work to employ a module of 6 or more for 3 or more months.

Provide project leadership to introduce each treatment, present goals, objectives, ensure a safe work environment, quality control monitoring, and ensure FWS policies are being followed.

Provide a short project description for each treatment including the scope of the project, objectives, required equipment, required qualifications, etc., to allow the FWS Youth Corps program to develop a cost estimate and bid, and ensure qualification compliance.

Provide logistical support when logistical options are limited.

Provide educational opportunities to FWS Youth Corps staff about the FWS, our refuges, ecology, wildland fire management, etc.

Resource Assistant Programs In addition to PLC non-competitive hiring authority programs, the Service operates Direct Hire programs such as the Directorate Fellows Program (DFP).

Under the authorization of the Public Land Corp Act, Resources Assistant Program, the Department of the Interior established policy for bureaus to implement the Direct Hire Authority, Resources Assistant Internship Program (DHA/RAIP) in 201 2. The key requirements of the program are:
(1) students must be enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs; and (2) mandated targeted recruitment to ensure the full representation of women and participants from historically Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific Islander and Native American schools or other schools with diverse student populations; and (3) design a rigorous project for a minimum of least 11-weeks for candidates selected to participate in the program.

The DFP program is designed with the intent of creating a pipeline of diverse talented individuals who would qualify and be eligible for hiring into permanent entry level science positions.

The FWS, DFP was implemented in 2014 with a focus on recruiting diverse students pursuing biological science, natural resources management or related degrees that support FWS conservation mission.

The FWS, DFP has provided a cohort of well-qualified, motivated folks who are eligible for direct hiring authority.

Since its inception, the DFP has provided 11-week rigorous fellowships for hundreds of students with exemplary talent, approximately 200 of whom have joined our workforce.

Related Programs

Youth Engagement, Education, and Employment Programs

Department of the Interior

Agency: Department of the Interior

Office: Fish and Wildlife Service

Estimated Funding: $18,000,000

Who's Eligible

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Obtain Full Opportunity Text:
NSF Program Desccription PD-22-1530

Additional Information of Eligibility:
Other Organizations that have established Public Lands Corps Act eligibility as FWS Youth Corps member organizations such as 501(c) 4 or 501(c) 5 nonprofit organizations that are labor unions, neighborhood associations, or other types of eligible organizations, including those that reach or represent potentially underserved communities.

FWS Youth Corps eligibility information is included in the attachments to this NOFO. 

Full Opportunity Web Address:


Agency Email Description:
Service e-mail

Agency Email:

Date Posted:

Application Due Date:

Archive Date:

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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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