WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior and the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) have announced a new partnership that will increase employment opportunities for Alaska Native youth across the Department’s offices and bureaus. The announcement is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s continued work to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive federal workforce.
The agreement will allow the Interior Department to exercise direct hire authority – authorized by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act – for ANSEP students and recent graduates, allowing for placement for positions in any bureau or office and significantly streamlining the often cumbersome process required to get federal work or internship experience.
“This new partnership exemplifies the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to removing barriers and advancing equity across the federal government,” said Secretary Deb Haaland, who met with ANSEP scholars interning in Washington. “We must continue to mobilize an all-of-government approach to ensure that historically underrepresented communities are brought into federal service.”
ANSEP’s mission is to promote careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines for students from Alaska Native backgrounds and rural Alaskan communities. As part of the agreement, ANSEP will conduct outreach and recruit applicants for selection and placement at the Interior Department.
In recent years, ANSEP has successfully partnered on placement programs with the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service and has cooperative agreements with several bureaus within the Department: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
In 2021, President Biden released Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce, calling on the federal government to strengthen its ability to recruit, hire, develop, promote and retain talent and remove barriers to equal opportunity, and establishing a government-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Strategic Plan. The Interior Department published its Equity Action Plan last year, which lays the foundation for removing barriers to equal opportunity and delivering resources and benefits equitably to all Americans.