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CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine, established in 1986, is the nation's first and only career-guidance and recruitment magazine for people with disabilities who are at undergraduate, graduate, or professional levels. Each issue features a special Braille section.

CAREERS & the disABLED has won many awards, including several media "Award of Excellence" acknowledgments from the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

This magazine reaches people with disabilities nationwide at their home addresses, colleges and universities, and chapters of student and professional organizations through a paid subscription.


CAREERS & the disABLED

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JOB ADVOCATES ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS

Montez L. Ashley
Equal Employment,
Title VII & Student Employment Coordinator
USDA—Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service sustains the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

CAREERS & the disABLED: What diversity and inclusion initiatives does the U.S. Forest Service have in place to hire and promote people with disabilities?

Montez Ashley: The U.S. Forest Service’s Eastern Region is taking fully advantage of the Schedule A hiring authority, which allows individuals with targeted or severe disabilities to enter federal service without competition. On September 30, 2011, the Eastern Region signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Council of State Administrators for Vocational Rehabilitation, National Employment Team. The partnership represented by this MOU offers Forest Service leaders a designated single point of contact to connect with qualified applicants with disabilities. It provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be hired by Forest Service throughout the 20 states of the Eastern Region.

CAREERS & the disABLED: How does the U.S. Forest Service interact with professional organizations that foster diversity and inclusion?

Montez Ashley: The MOU connects the Forest Service with state vocational rehabilitation agencies, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Consortia of Administrators in Native American Rehabilitation. In addition to this MOU, the Eastern Region is working closely with state veteran employment programs to connect Wounded Warriors to careers in the Forest Service. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Recruitment Program also links the Region to college students with disabilities, thus providing candidates for Forest Service intern programs. The priority of these agencies is to foster inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

CAREERS & the disABLED: Does the Forest Service sponsor employee resource groups to bring together members of minority groups to share their collective experiences? What accommodations will the agency make for people with disabilities?

Montez Ashley: The Eastern Region appoints special emphasis program managers to develop affirmative employment plans, and implement special program initiatives that enhance the employment, career advancement, training, and recognition of minority groups. The Region’s Disability Employment Program Manager addresses issues relating to employees with disabilities, including certifying and arranging appropriate accommodations.

CAREERS & the disABLED: What advice can you offer to people with disabilities as they begin their job search, and what qualities do you look for in job candidates?

Montez Ashley: It is extremely important that people with disabilities connect with organizations that can assist them in their job search and provide services that support them once they are employed. They should connect with professional organizations, attend job fairs, and network.

CAREERS & the disABLED: Does the Forest Service attend diversity job fairs and target specific colleges through on-campus career fairs?

Montez Ashley: Every year, Forest Service staff attends job fairs throughout the country and visit colleges seeking potential employees. Under various federal hiring authorities, we are often able to hire suitable candidates at job fairs.

CAREERS & the disABLED: What advice can you offer new workers in their efforts to move ahead in the Forest Service?

Montez Ashley: New employees should observe and seek out individuals to serve as mentors and coaches. Many new employees benefit by getting involved in training opportunities. Others excel by participating on committees. Most importantly, work diligently at your job and make sure your boss is aware of your accomplishments.

CAREERS & the disABLED: How can our readers post their résumés online for Forest Service career opportunities?

Montez Ashley: All federal job opportunities are posted on www.usajobs.gov, and the Forest Service also posts jobs at https://www.avuedigitalservices.com. Readers may go to these Websites to create profiles, post their résumés, and set up “alerts” where they will receive an E-mail notification when jobs relating to their interest are posted.

CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine: What specific jobs are you looking for and what is the future outlook for employment opportunities in the U.S. Forest Service?

Montez Ashley: The Forest Service has many different opportunities throughout the year. We are a nationwide federal natural resource management agency. We employ a variety of natural resource professionals such as foresters, fish and wildlife biologists, landscape architects, soil scientists, hydrologists, entomologists, botanists, wildland firefighters, and engineers. The agency also hires accountants, budget analysts, contracting officers, human resource specialists, information technology specialists, equal employment opportunity counselors, GIS specialists, and receptionists, just to name a few.

 

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