Opportunities for Young People

A photo of YCC crewmember holding a small lizard in Tongass National Forest, Alaska

The Forest Service has many opportunities for young people to work with us while learning about natural and cultural resources careers.  Here are some ways you can get involved:


21st Century Conservation Service Corps

Youth Conservation Corps

Resource Assistants Program

Job Corps

Presidential Management Fellows

Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) - Students: apply July 1 - 31. Go to USAJobs.gov and select the VSFS vacancy announcement!

Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS)

The Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS) is the largest virtual internship program in the world!  This year we will offer 1,500 positions with 50+ federal agencies.  VSFS offers unique mentoring and exposure to job opportunities within the U.S. government.

Students and Recent Grads 
A photo of YCC crewmembers in Kootznoowoo Wilderness, Alaska
YCC crewmembers in Kootznoowoo Wilderness, Alaska. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service

Pathways Programs provide paid employment opportunities with the Federal government for high school students, undergraduates, post-graduates and recent graduates:

  • Pathways Internship Program - Designed to provide students with opportunities to explore Federal careers while still in school, students may be hired on a temporary basis for up to one year (NTE Intern) or for an indefinite period (Indefinite Intern).
  • Pathways Recent Graduate Program - Is available to individuals who have completed qualifying degree or certificate programs within the previous two years. Qualified veterans may have an extended application period due to military service.
  • Pathways Presidential Management Fellows Program – This program is for individuals who have completed an advanced degree within the past two years.

For more information, read the FAQs, read the Forest Service Pathways Programs brochure, and search for current Pathways jobs with the Forest Service on USAJOBS.gov.

Eligibility Requirements

Pathways Intern candidates will meet the qualification requirements consistent with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) qualification standards applicable to the position being filled. In addition, the following eligibility requirements apply:

  • Currently has and maintains at least an overall 2.9 GPA.
  • Is a United States citizen.

Additional information can be found on the OPM Hiring Information - Students and Recent Graduates website.

21st Century Conservation Service Corps

21st Century Conservation Service Corps is a bold national effort to put thousands of America’s young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors. For a complete list of partners providing opportunities in this endeavor, visit 21csc.org. Also, see programs below supporting this initiative.

Youth Conservation Corps

A photo of YCC SCA crewmembers in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin

Members of the YCC crew in Angoon Alaska hard at work. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service

You can find paid summer work experience on many national forests and grasslands through our Youth Conservation Corps. U.S. citizens or legal residents ages 15 to 18 are encouraged to apply to be considered for an opportunity to:

  • Work outdoors with other young people on crews
  • Learn about conservation stewardship
  • Get training in restoration skills necessary for field work
  • Develop work ethic and interpersonal communication skills

Learn more about 2018 Forest Service opportunities!

To learn more about Youth Conservation Corps projects, contact the Forests and Grasslands

A young woman wearing a Forest Service uniform constructs a fire ring at a backcountry campsite.
Southern Appalachia Wilderness Stewards RA Alex Mohrman constructs a fire ring. Photo credit: Mason Boring

Resource Assistants Program

The Resource Assistants Program is a rigorous, immersive, paid internship for individuals interested in Forest Service careers. Resource Assistants work under the supervision of Forest Service staff to complete mission-critical work that demonstrates leadership, critical thinking, and strategic communication. Through direct training, experience, and exposure, Resource Assistants gain the tools to launch their natural and cultural resource careers. Apply today!

Learn a career, earn a diploma

Job Corps is a free education and training program that helps low-income young people 16 or older learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep a good job.

  • Learn life-changing skills
  • Live and learn in beautiful surroundings
  • Learn trade or conservation-related skills

Related blogs:

Youth Conservation Corps Programs Make a Difference

Employment and Mentoring Opportunities Support Youth and Veteran Programs Across the U.S. 

USDA Marks 50th Anniversary of the Job Corps 

Veterans find training, jobs with the U.S. Forest Service