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Posts tagged: Cultural Transformation

USDA Pilots New Strategy to Recruit Minority Serving Institution Graduates

As we’ve celebrated Public Service Recognition Week this week, Secretary Vilsack and employees all across the government have shared what an honor it is to work as a public servant. But, it’s no secret that the federal hiring process is a lengthy one, which can be especially frustrating for recent graduates eager to begin careers upon earning their degrees. To streamline this process and meet an important hiring initiative—bringing qualified candidates with diverse backgrounds and more young people into our ranks—USDA has been piloting a new on-site hiring strategy at Minority Serving Institutions.

Working directly with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), USDA has hosted five on-site events where USDA hiring managers collect applications, conduct interviews, and in some cases make job offers on the spot for internships and recent graduate positions. To date, USDA has collected 795 applications at these events, for a total of 276 available positions within 10 USDA agencies, including the Agricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Farm Service Agency, Forest Service, Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Risk Management Agency, and Rural Development. Read more »

USDA Joins the Iroquois Confederacy, Reunites for 2nd Annual Cultural Transformation Day at the Six Nation Indian Village

Earlier this month, volunteers from USDA Rural Development (RD) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) joined hands with representatives from the Six Nation Agricultural Society’s Indian Village to assist in preparations for the grounds use during the 2013 New York State Fair in Syracuse. The afternoon’s activities included painting, planting, raking and a tour of the grounds.

Cultural Transformation is a USDA initiative that strives to improve community relations, outreach opportunities, and encourage employees to achieve high standards. The initiative highlights how USDA is the People’s Department — and continues its commitment to improving customer service while creating a diverse, collaborative and highly effective workforce throughout the USDA’s many mission areas. Read more »

Forest Service Book Answers a Kid’s Question: Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?

At the end of the book, “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?” the illustration depicts children planting trees. (Illustration by Juliette Watts, U.S. Forest Service)

At the end of the book, “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?” the illustration depicts children planting trees. (Illustration by Juliette Watts, U.S. Forest Service)

Some children are unaware that in order to reduce tree hazards, protect other trees, or to get wood, it is necessary to cut trees.

So the recently published book “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?” is intended to raise awareness of the issue. The book, which primarily targets first to third grade students, also features tips for planting a new tree. Read more »

Native American Heritage Month is an Opportunity for Learning and Sharing

Earlier this month, I submitted a blog discussing plans to observe Native American Heritage Month in South Dakota. USDA Rural Development South Dakota staff held a Native American interactive day on November 28, which included traditional teachings, significance of the circle, meal, a game of “all my relations” and Native Pictionary.  Today marks the final day of Native American Heritage Month, 2012.

Native American Heritage month is an opportunity for learning and sharing of Native American culture.  USDA staff were educated on the symbolism of the circle and its relevance to the Native American people with Rural Housing Specialist Ken Lynch reading a quote from Black Elk Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux; USDA Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks provided comments in support of this event and traditional foods included smoked white fish, salmon, herring, and fish spread.  The hand smoking with native hardwoods brings out the delicate flavor of these fish.  Chicken, a wild rice dish, and squash was provided by Rural Housing Technician Hetti Cekalla and her husband Leroy.  Also served were Indian fried bread, vegetables, dessert and drinks. Read more »

A Word about the Importance of Work/Life from Deputy Secretary Merrigan

Last month, Hurricane Sandy prevented Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan from addressing USDA employees and guests at the Open House planned for National Work & Family Month.  However, she wanted to be sure to take the time to emphasize the importance of USDA’s Work/Life & Wellness programs and what they mean for employees, supervisors and managers at the Department. Read more »

New York Rural Development Staff Observes Cultural Transformation Day with Representatives of Area Tribes

USDA Rural Development (NY) Cultural Transformation Day Volunteers pose at the conclusion of a beautiful day spent working on the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Native American Village at the New York State Fairgrounds.

This past Thursday the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s New York Cultural Transformation Day took place at the Iroquois Confederacy’s Six Nation Agricultural Society Indian Village at the New York State Fair Grounds. Things got started early as more than a dozen USDA Rural Development staff members joined with representatives from the Iroquois Confederacy Nation to build, discover and practice community relations and also to beautify the landscape. Read more »