PALM SPRINGS, California – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was among several agencies recruiting potential employees during the American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference Oct. 7 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in California.
The AISES National Conference is the largest college and career fair in the U.S. for Indigenous students and professionals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics field.
“The Corps is here today to support STEM, recruit the best future engineers from a more diverse background and promote inclusion,” said Kimberley Oldham, a senior hydropower program manager with Southwestern Division.
During the Conference, the Corps conducted the Tribal Partnerships for Water Resource Projects presentation. More than 50 visitors attended the informational presentation, which discussed the Tribal Partnership Program, or TPP. The TPP provides authority for the Corps to investigate water-related planning activities related to the study, design and construction of water resources development projects located on tribal lands.
“I hope through this conference we increase our presence in native communities and develop better partnerships with tribal governments,” said Oldham, a Muscogee Creek Yuchi Indigenous American. “It’s also a great opportunity to network with other Native Americans within the Corps. This is the first time we had six Indigenous Corps employees working at the event.”
More than 60 participants visited the Corps’ booth to discuss engineering projects and civil works programs, while also applying for available positions. The three-day conference attracted about 2,000 members and attendees. The conference featured professional development discussions, networking opportunities, student presentations, a career fair, cultural events and other activities.
“I was inspired that we had so many American Indigenous employees from around the Corps present at the event,” said Corina Zhang, a senior resident engineer with Omaha District. “It was a great opportunity to see our origination’s commitment to American Indigenous communities.”
Omaha District works with 53 federally recognized American Indigenous tribes. The district is the largest by landmass, spanning an area from Wisconsin to Montana.
“It was one of the best career fairs I’ve attended,” Zhang said. “As a civil engineering body, it was important to represent how the Corps supports and helps the nation. I felt like there were many interested and brilliant candidates with diverse skill sets. I was energized being able to share my experience and expertise with future engineers and scientist.”
At the conclusion of the college and career fair, Omaha District awarded a letter of intent to hire to Madison Phelps, a civil engineer major from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Like many attendees, Phelps traveled to the event to support AISES, network among American Indigenous professionals and explore career opportunities. She said she has an interest in the Corps’ Emergency Management and Response program.
“As an engineer, I would like to make a positive impact in local communities,” Phelps said, before the presentation. “I’m very excited to see how I can contribute to the Corps’ rapid response team.”
The Corps’ mission is to provide engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The organization employs more than 32,000 people worldwide.
The Corps’ South Pacific and Northwestern divisions presented a total of three letters of intent to hire during the conference. The Corps’ Civilian Personnel Advisory Center also was present at the event to assist and support the selection process.
For more information about U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ careers, visit www.usace.army.mil/careers.