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Southeast Conservation Corps

  • 2001 N. Chamberlain Ave., Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • https://southeastconservationcorps.org/

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SECC-Pinhoti Crew Member – Veterans Fire Corps 2024 -USFS


min experience

salary range

$600 - $600 / week

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

Title:  Pinhoti Crew Member – Veterans Fire Corps 2024 -USFS

(Preference will be given to military veterans. However, non-veterans are encouraged to apply)

Reports to: Crew Leader, Fire and Fuels Coordinator

Location: Villanow Work Center – Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest (Ideally, will live within one hour of duty station)

Season Dates: January 15 – October 6, 2024

Schedule overview:

  • 26 weeks of AmeriCorps time (equivalent to 900 hours minimum) – includes 1-week paid time off.
  • 12 weeks of Administratively Determine (AD) project work determined by SECC and the US Forest Service, utilized for training and wildland firefighting as needed.

Stipend: $600 per week, paid bi-weekly. A $3,447.50 AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the program. During AD time, crew members will earn $21.08 an hour.

Benefits: Paid certifications and training (see below) related to wildland firefighting, uniforms, and personal protective equipment. Food and transportation will be provided when working/camping away from the home base area.

Housing: Housing is NOT provided to members; SECC only provides accommodations (camping, bunk housing, etc.) when the crew travels from home base for overnight stays.

Application Deadline: December 1, 2023, or until positions are filled.

Southeast Conservation Corps:
Engaging future leaders who protect, restore, and enhance our nation’s lands through community-based service.

Southeast Conservation Corps (SECC), a program of Conservation Legacy, is a non-profit, AmeriCorps-affiliated organization. SECC selects young adults, ages 18-30, to complete conservation work projects on public lands throughout the Southeast. SECC programs encourage environmental stewardship, foster community partnerships, and emphasize experiential learning. SECC serves a diverse population that is representative of the Southeast, including youth, graduates, veterans, and a cross-section of ethnicities and income levels. SECC is also an active member of the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (A-DRT), and as such, selected crews may be deployed on Disaster response projects for up to 30 days.

SECC works with various land management agencies in Tennessee and Southeast regions, such as the United States Forest Service, National Park Service, State Parks, and conservation-based non-profits. Projects vary but include trail construction and maintenance, ecosystem restoration, habitat restoration, fire fuel reduction, public land fencing, invasive weed removal, herbicide applications, and many others. The project work is manual labor based, and most projects require a hike into and out of the project site daily carrying tools and a day pack.

Crews work in front country and backcountry locations in all weather conditions. Schedules may vary, but generally are 9 days on and 5 days off for camping crews. Workdays are 10-hour shifts with scheduled breaks throughout the day. Depending on project work and location, other schedule variations may be implemented. While the staff at SECC works to provide consistency throughout the season, personal flexibility is expected and should be prepared for when entering the term, as schedules, times, and work locations are subject to change per project needs.

SECC is an independent, non-residential program. Crew Leaders are responsible for finding and attaining their housing when not in the field. On-hitch crews prepare all their meals and work together to complete all necessary chores. The USFS Crew schedule is flexible, with the possibility of a hitch schedule with camping involved or working as a day crew from the Villanow Work Center. The crew leaders and members will be provided with transportation to and from the project site from the work center, camping gear, Personal Protective Equipment, uniform pants and shirts, and day gear for the season. Members and leaders must provide their boots, which will be reimbursed up to $200.

Position Description:

The Southeast Conservation Corps’ Veterans Fire Corps (VFC) program provides training and on-the-job experience for post-9/11 era veterans, ages 18-35, interested in entering careers and gaining experience in wildland firefighting and natural resource management.


The program engages participants in a cohort environment in which a crew of Veterans and non-veterans work together to train and complete projects related primarily to “fuels management, ” including prescribed burning and wildland firefighting. Members should expect work to vary depending on region and season. In addition to fire, projects may include a variety of interdisciplinary work pertaining to natural resource management as needed.


Comfort with ambiguity and working on a fast-paced team is a must with this position as schedules and work change often. When working locally, the schedule is typically 4 days on, followed by 3 days off. Hitches require members to camp 4-7 days at a time, followed by a pre-determined number of days off. When on AD status, the crew will work on the fireline for 14-21 days, plus travel on each end.

The home base for this crew is the Villanow Work Center within the Conasauga Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, located in Georgia. Crew members and leaders must live no more than a one-hour drive (or less) from this reporting site (12411 East Hwy 136, Lafayette, GA 30728). It is paramount that members understand they will be roving throughout the Southeastern United States and beyond for the duration of the program.


Note: When camping on a project location is required, members will camp, travel, work, and eat as a crew. No drug or alcohol consumption is allowed during work-related travel at any time.


At a minimum, members will earn:

  • L-180: Human Factors in Wildland Fire
  • S-130: Firefighter Training
  • S-190: Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
  • S-131: Firefighter Type 1
  • S-290: Intermediate Fire Behavior
  • S-211: Portable Pumps and Water Use
  • S-219: Firing Operations
  • S-260: Interagency Incident Business Management
  • S-270: Basic Air Operations
  • Work Capacity Test (Pack Test) Provided
    • 3 miles in 45 minutes with 45 pounds
  • S-212: Wildland Fire Chainsaws
  • ICS-100: Introduction to the Incident Command System
  • IS-700: National Incident Management System
  • Public Land Corps Hiring Authority Certificate (upon successful completion of hours)

Members must pass the Arduous Work Capacity (PACK) Test within the season’s first two weeks to participate in this program.
Wildland firefighting demands a high fitness level in challenging environmental conditions, including steep terrain, extreme temperatures, altitude, and smoke. Crews are generally comprised of individuals 21-35 years of age with minimal financial and/or personal commitments.


This program will provide practical, hands-on training and certifications related to natural resource management and wildland firefighting. The program is comprehensive and intentionally structured to prepare Veterans to transition into civilian careers focused on wildland firefighting. Additional opportunities, such as repeated networking with Federal employees and training on the federal land management application process, is also included in this program.


General Qualifications:

  • Be a military Veteran able to provide a DD214 or NGB-22 upon interview.
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35.
  • Able to pass the USFS arduous level pack test (3-mille hike with 45-pound pack within 45 minutes)
  • Holds a high school diploma or GED.
  • US Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency status
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and capacity to work in a fluid, changing work environment.
  • SECC expects members to represent the program professionally.  Crew life will include our corps values of challenge, stewardship, dedication, community, integrity, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
  • Possess the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively in a variety of settings.
  • Comfortable working in a field environment.
  • Must be eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award (individuals are eligible if they have not already completed 2 full years of AmeriCorps service, or 4 AmeriCorps service terms, whichever comes first – please contact us if you are unsure of your eligibility)
  • Pass background checks: all offers of positions are conditional upon completion of an acceptable check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry and Federal and/or State criminal background check.

Participant Essential Eligibility Requirements:

Essential eligibility requirements for the program must be met. If you are unable to meet certain requirements, we may be able to assist you with some modification unless it alters the fundamental nature of the program, compromises the health and safety of participants or staff, or places an undue financial or administrative burden on the organization. These requirements are written the same for all positions and, therefore may not apply directly to your particular position.

Expectations of an SECC Corpsmember:

  • Expect to work long days in a front country or backcountry location. Workdays will include hiking and strenuous labor in remote settings in all weather conditions.
  • SECC is a non-residential program, meaning crew members are responsible for attaining and paying for their housing when not in the field.
  • Crews prepare all their meals and work together to complete all necessary chores. Community/camp chores will be completed every evening, with many evenings including group discussions on conservation and/or corps-related topics.
  • Crew members must supply their outdoor gear and equipment, such as a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, day pack, multi-day pack, work pants, hiking/work boots, etc. SECC will provide group camp equipment, tools, protective gear, and transportation between the SECC office and project sites.
  • While serving a term of National Service, SECC crews are expected to work in diverse team settings.  Respect for all members of the program, our partners, the public, and the land they are visiting is expected.
  • SECC expects members to represent the program professionally.  Crew life will include our corps values of challenge, stewardship, dedication, community, integrity, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
  • Members are expected to be timely, hardworking, flexible, and complete all functions of tasks assigned.


Required Skills:

 Minimum Qualifications: 

  • Must be between ages 18 and 30 or up to 35 if a military veteran.
  • Members must pass the Arduous Work Capacity (PACK) Test within the first two weeks of the season to participate in this program (3-mile hike with a 45-pound pack within 45 minutes).
    • Wildland firefighting demands a high fitness level to work in challenging environmental conditions, including steep terrain, extreme temperatures, altitude, and smoke.
  • Must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident and provide primary documentation to support this.
  • Must be cleared through an acceptable check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry, as well as state and federal Criminal History Checks
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED or agree to work toward attaining either during the term of service (essential to obtaining and using the AmeriCorps Education Award).


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A general comfort and previous knowledge of working/living in an outdoor setting.
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED or agree to work toward attaining either during term of service (essential to obtaining and using the AmeriCorps Education Award).


AmeriCorps members will receive an AmeriCorps living stipend of $600 per week before taxes, dispersed biweekly. Upon successful completion of the term of service AmeriCorps members will earn an AmeriCorps Segal Education Award to be used for student loans, qualifying programs/classes, or tuition for traditional Title IV accredited colleges.


Participation and Expedition Behavior

  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem-solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences.
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment, no harassment of others for any reason.
  • Willingness and ability to complete all aspects of the program including conservation projects, education, training, and national service. Members must commit to participating in all crew/team activities, including service days in local communities where applicable.
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues, and organization staff.
  • Have the cognitive ability to learn necessary skills and apply them to carry out the service work requirements effectively.
  • Appropriately always represent the Program and AmeriCorps to the public and project partners.

Safety and Judgment 

  • Effectively communicate danger to others in the form of either a warning of danger others may be encountering or a notification of personal distress, injury, or need for assistance. You must be able to do so at a distance of up to 50 meters and in conditions with limited visibility or loud background noise, such as darkness or high winds.
  • Effectively perceive, understand, and follow directions from others so that you will be able to execute appropriate and perhaps unfamiliar techniques to manage hazards successfully. These directions may be given before the hazard is encountered or given during exposure to the hazard.
  • Stay alert and focused for several hours while traveling and working in varied weather conditions.
  • Perceive and comprehend significant and apparent hazards, including those previously identified by others.
  • Respond appropriately to stress or crises.
  • If taking prescription medications, participants must be able to maintain proper dosage by self-medicating without assistance from others.


Outdoor Skills and Fitness (where appropriate)

  • Learn and safely perform fundamental outdoor living/travel and work skills appropriate to the project. Additionally, remain adequately hydrated, fed, and appropriately dressed to remain generally healthy and safe, avoiding environmental injuries.
  • Live in a physically demanding, possibly remote environment for an uninterrupted period of up to several weeks. Conditions of this environment may vary significantly and include severe and/or trying weather. The remoteness is such that it may require a minimum of one hour, but perhaps over 12 hours, to reach the nearest advanced medical care.


Substance Free: In accordance with a drug-free workplace, alcohol, and drugs are prohibited while participating in AmeriCorps and program activities and while on organization property.


This program is available to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, marital or parental status, genetic information, and military service. Where a significant portion of the population eligible to be served needs services or information in a language other than English, the recipient shall take reasonable steps to provide written material of the type ordinarily available to the public in appropriate languages.


To Apply: Complete the Application, upload cover letter and resume if available.

Any questions can be addressed to:

Ray Wilson

Recruitment Coordinator

[email protected]

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