Latest: Bilingual Park Service intern lands fulltime job

In the nick of time, Nancy Fernandez achieves her goal.

  • Nancy Fernandez presents a climate change study that was conducted at Park Service sites in Oregon and Washington.

    Glenn Nelson

The National Park Service has long struggled to diversify its mostly white and male workforce. During its centennial this year, the agency confronted its difficulties recruiting young, diverse job candidates and connecting with communities of color. Nancy Fernandez, 25, a bilingual Latina, exemplifies the problem; she completed three internships at national parks but could not land a permanent position, thanks to the arcane federal hiring system  (“Why has the National Park Service gotten whiter?HCN, 8/22/16).

In early November, Fernandez achieved her goal — a full-time job with a federal land agency. She had clocked enough internship hours to earn noncompetitive employment status, giving her an edge in a hiring system that favors veterans. Her status was just about to expire, however, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made her an offer. As an urban ranger at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge along the Atlantic Coast in Georgia and South Carolina, Fernandez will focus on community outreach and managing volunteers. 

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