Monday, November 24, 2014

USDA (APHIS): Agriculturist Accreditation and Certification National Policy Manager

ob Title:Agriculturist (Accreditation & Certification National Policy Manager)
Department:Department Of Agriculture
Agency:Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Job Announcement Number:24PQ-APHIS-MA-2015-0462


$89,924.00 to $138,136.00 / Per Year


Monday, November 24, 2014 to Wednesday, December 3, 2014




Full-Time - Permanent




1 vacancy - Riverdale, MD View Map


US Citizens and Nationals; no prior Federal experience is required.


Public Trust - Background Investigation




Current and former Federal employees, disabled Veterans, candidates with 3 or more years of active duty military service, and candidates eligible for special hiring authorities may also apply to Merit Promotion announcement 6PQ-APHIS-MA-2015-0463.
This position assumes a leadership role in planning, coordinating, and directing APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) activities related to the accreditation and certification programs used nationwide. The incumbent reports to the Director of Export Services and works closely with Plant Health Programs and Phytosanitary Issues Management staff and in consultation with external stakeholders as the frontline manager for the development, maintenance, and improvement of the accreditation and certification programs.
APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS. For details click: APHIS Emergency Response


  • Occasional Travel
  • Occasional travel is required.


  • Yes
  • Relocation may be paid.


  • US Citizenship is required.
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year probationary period.


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The duties described are for the full-performance level. At developmental grade levels, assignments will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity. The duties may include, but are not limited to:
  • Serves as a Program Manager responsible for ensuring that the policy requirements of PPQ’s Accreditation and Certification Programs are successfully addressed, including USGCP, USNCP, NSHS, and SAP-P, in addition to working on policy topics for other A&C Programs run by field operations or PIM.
  • Is independently responsible for operational planning and ensuring that accreditation program meets APHIS requirements.
  • Provides expert assistance to APHIS support staff, state regulatory officials, various universities, and other regional/field personnel concerning accreditation requirements and procedures that programs must meet for USDA/APHIS certification.
  • Prepares, for review and approval by Export Services Supervisor, draft guidelines/regulations concerning accreditation and certification programs, ensuring that all proposals conform to international trade agreements/standards and APHIS regulations and requirements.
  • Represents Deputy Administrator/Assistant Deputy Administrator at meetings and conferences with other departmental agencies, other federal and state agencies, universities, non-profit and commercial organizations, professional and standards-developing organizations, and foreign standards developing organizations on regulatory and accreditation/control issues and activities.
  • Acts as primary PPQ official responsible for stakeholder outreach regarding accreditation and certification programs in development or under consideration.
  • Prepares briefing papers, position papers, and written responses to correspondence from legislators, industry stakeholders, local and state officials for review and signature by PPQ Management; provides policy guidance on accreditation for seed testing laboratories and for all new accreditation programs; and gathers and analyzes current information on standards and conformity assessment programs to develop policy standards on related issues.
  • In coordination with PPQ Field Operations, coordinates the activities of PPQ field personnel, state and county cooperators, and industry representatives involved in accreditation services and ensures that the activities are consistent with agreed upon protocols.


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Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.
Degree in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position; OR
Combination of education and experience – courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following: Combining Education and Experience for Professional and Scientific Positions
TRANSCRIPTS are required. This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. For more information on submitting transcripts, click: Transcripts
FOR THE GS-13 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-12 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
  • Knowledge of agricultural quarantine program operations, principles, regulations, policies, and procedures.
  • Knowledge of the principles of trade agreements, standards, and requirements.
  • Outreach and negotiation skills.
(Note: There is no education substitution for this grade level.)
FOR THE GS-14 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-13 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
  • Expert knowledge of agricultural quarantine program operations, principles, regulations, policies, and procedures.
  • Expert knowledge of the principles of international trade agreements, standards, and requirements.
  • Outreach and negotiation skills in order to justify, defend, and persuade cooperation with accreditation and certification program requirements.
(Note: There is no education substitution for this grade level.)

Special Conditions:
  • This position is designated a public trust position and is subject to satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of initial background investigation and reinvestigation as a condition of employment.
  • If you are appointed to a supervisory or managerial position, you may be required to complete a one year supervisory/managerial probationary period.
  • During field reviews and visits, occasional risks and discomforts may be experienced in working around pesticides and various industrial and agricultural equipment outside in adverse weather conditions.


The category rating procedure is used to rank and select eligible candidates. Under category rating, applicants who meet basic minimum qualification requirements established for the position and whose job related competencies have been assessed are ranked by being placed in one of the following categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Preference eligibles are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category.

You will be evaluated based on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the education, experience, and training you described in your application package, as well as the responses to the Occupational Questionnaire to determine the degree to which you possess the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies listed below:
  • Creativity and Innovation, Partnering, Political Savvy, Strategic Thinking, & Other Managerial Competencies
  • Knowledge of plant protection and quarantine
  • Knowledge of scientific laboratory procedures, including molecular analyses
  • Written and oral communication and interpersonal skills
We will review your application, including the online Occupational Questionnaire, to ensure you meet the job requirements and assess your ability to perform this job. Before any certificate can be issued to the selecting official, the resume and supporting documents are reviewed to ensure that (a) minimum qualification requirements are met and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your answers will be verified against information provided in your online resume and application. Be sure that your resume clearly supports your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and / or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score can / will be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you.

To view the application form, visit:


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  • Career Transition Assistance Plan(CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): If you are claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, provide proof of eligibility to include your most recent performance appraisal, SF-50 showing the full performance level or career ladder of your current or previous position, and proof of eligibility such as a RIF separation notice or letter from OPM/your agency. CTAP/ICTAP eligibles will be considered well-qualified if achieving a rating of 85 or above. Information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility is at: OPM's Career Transition Resources website.
  • More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles.
  • Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
  • Direct Deposit – Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
  • E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form 1-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS 'E-VERIFY' system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.


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Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin. The following instructions outline our application process.
  • You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
  • We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
  • This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.

Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not already have one) at It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.
Step 2: Create a Resume with USAJOBS or upload a Resume into your USAJOBS account. You may want to customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. In addition, your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).

Step 3:
 Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required. You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Simply log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue.


You must submit a complete Application Package, prior to 11:59, ET, on the closing date of this announcement. The following documents must be submitted for your application package to be considered complete. It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents are received within the required timeframes. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in the mail service, system failure or downtime, etc. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
  • Resume that includes the following information: 1) job information for which you are applying; 2) personal information; 3) education; 4) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 5) supervisors phone number and e-mail address for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) other qualifications.
  • College Transcripts if education is required for meeting basic qualifications and/or used as a substitute for specialized experience. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if selected, an official college transcript will be required prior to entering on duty. All education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. Foreign education must be evaluated by an approved organization. For additional information, refer to the U.S. Department of Education web site at All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
  • DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) if claiming Veterans’ Preference. Veterans claiming 10 point preference must also submit a VA Letter and an SF-15 Application for 10-point Veteran Preference. Current active duty members must submit a certification that they are expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted.
  • Other required documents may include:
    • CTAP/ICTAP Required Documentation Reduction-In-Force: Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, or Notice of Proposed Removal; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 demonstrating your separation or the position you will be separated from.
    • Worker's Compensation Separation: Agency certification of inability to place employee AND Notification of Separation OR Separation SF-50.
    • Disability Annuity Termination: Notification from OPM of disability annuity termination AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held. Military Reserve or National Guard Technician Special Disability Retirement Annuity under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456: Certification of special disability retirement annuity from a military department or National Guard Bureau AND Separation SF-50 of the last position held.
NOTE: If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the Human Resources Office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing a previous submission, you must upload both the old document and the new document. Please verify that documents you are uploading from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency's staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded resumes must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (DOC or DOCX).


Human Resources
Phone: 612-336-3326
Fax: 612-336-3560
Agency Information:
100 N. 6th Street, Butler Sq Bldg, Suite 510C
Minneapolis, MN,
United States
Fax: 612-336-3560


If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the closing date of the announcement.