New partnership will boost employment opportunities for Alaska Native youth

A new partnership between the Interior Department and the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) aims to increase employment opportunities for Alaska Native youth in jobs with the federal agency.

The agreement, announced on July 13, will allow the Interior Department to exercise direct hire authority for ANSEP students and recent graduates of that program, significantly streamlining the often-cumbersome process of getting a federal job or internship.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the new partnership exemplifies the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to removing barriers and advancing equity across the federal government, to ensure that historically underrepresented communities are brought into federal service.

ANSEP’s mission is to promote careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines for students of Alaska Native heritage and from rural Alaska communities. As part of the agreement, ANSEP is to conduct outreach and recruit applicants for selection and placement at positions with the Interior Department.

ANSEP has in recent years partnered with the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service on placement programs, and has cooperative agreements with several bureaus within the Department: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. 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.