SCA utilizes a powerful online management system called the MySCA Portal. MySCA is a simple, intuitive interface that lets you manage your SCA account when, how, and wherever you want. You’ll submit and renew position requests, select candidates, and more with speed and eﬃciency. MySCA also allows you to manage positions once they are field active and access time logs for easy review and approval. Contact information for your regional Coordinator is posted on the home page as your first point of contact for questions. To access the MySCA Portal, bookmark this URL: http://thesca.force.com/partners. For new users, click on the New Partner Registration to generate a User ID and password. You will be asked to fill out a profile with your contact and organization information.
There are three main tabs on the MySCA website: “Manage Positions”, “Placements”, and “Manage Tasks”. Under “Manage Positions” you will find all of your previous, current, and upcoming SCA position requests. You can request new positions or copy old positions for future requests. Under “Placements” you can find information about the interns you have selected. And “Manage Tasks” is where you will approve Activity Logs and submit or approve reimbursement requests.
Requesting a New Position
To request a new position, click on the “Request a Position” button under the “Manage Positions” tab. There are a variety of program types to choose from. Select the Conservation Internship Request button and complete the form.
If you’ve had previous positions with SCA, you can simply copy the position by clicking the “copy” button next to the old position under the “Manage Positions” tab. The copy function will insert the title of the position, position description, and partner information to the new position, but you will need to edit the position with current data including new start and end dates, number of openings available, logistics such as housing, commuting, and living allowances, and the job hazard assessment.
Every position is assigned a position number (”PO #”) and will remain listed under your “Manage Positions” tab. Once submitted, SCA will review and approve the position and, when time, will post it on our website to begin recruiting candidates. If you want to recruit your own candidate or are looking for a local candidate, make sure to let your Coordinator know.
What you need to know when you request a position
Length of Service
SCA internships are a minimum of 12 weeks and a maximum of 52 weeks. Positions up to 16 weeks are considered “Short Term” and offer a stipend (“living allowance”) of $75 per week ($100 per week in Alaska and Hawaii). Positions over 16 weeks are considered “Long Term” and offer a stipend of $160 per week. At the partner’s request, the living allowance can be increased up to $280 per week.
Travel Allowance and Vehicle Required
Previously, SCA reimbursed interns for actual expenses incurred while traveling to and from the site. In 2014 we streamlined our travel policy by establishing a ﬂat travel allowance. Partners now benefit from advance knowledge of travel costs and will no longer have to de-obligate funds if travel runs below projections, or worse, obtain a budget modification should travel go over.
In addition, members are now fully responsible for arranging for travel to and from the site using the travel allowance they are provided. This policy provides members with more ﬂexibility in arranging their travel and avoids the hassles of reimbursable expenses.
Travel allowances are based on analysis of travel costs from previous years and are pegged to three factors – distance traveled, selection dates, and vehicle requirements.
- The standard travel allowance for travel is now a ﬂat $650.
- When a vehicle is “required” by a position, the intern will receive a travel allowance of $1,100. Therefore partners should carefully consider whether a vehicle should be required for the position.
- All interns that are traveling to Alaska, Hawaii, and US territories will receive a travel allowance of $1115.
- Foreign interns arriving from abroad are subject to the same policy and will receive the same travel stipend as described above.
- If a position is submitted less than 30 days prior to the start date, an additional $300 in travel allowance will be added to off-set costs of booking last minute travel.
We encourage partners to provide a commuting allowance to members traveling daily over ten miles each way between housing and the work site in their personal vehicle. Our standard mileage reimbursement rate is $0.19 per mile. Mileage rates can be higher at the request of the partner. Commuting allowances are paid bi-weekly along with the living allowance.
Duty Travel and Miscellaneous Expenses
If you would like to set-aside funds for duty travel, workshops and conferences, special gear, or other duty-related expenses, please indicate this amount in the position description. If the intern will be using their personal vehicle for duty travel, the agency should plan to reimburse at the agency rate. If the agency hasn’t established a mileage reimbursement rate, the intern will be compensated at $0.19 cents per mile. Duty-related expenses can be submitted for reimbursement through your MySCA Portal. Call or send an email to your Coordinator regarding any questions on the reimbursement process or fund availability.
SCA encourages partners to provide on site housing whenever possible. Please see SCA’s Housing Policy below for information about acceptable forms of housing. If housing is not available, partners can pay SCA to lease appropriate housing for the members, or partners can provide a housing allowance directly to interns.
SCA has four uniform packages to choose from. Long term positions will receive extra shirts. All items bear the SCA logo. Interns enrolled in the AmeriCorps program will also receive certain items with the AmeriCorps logo. Please note that these packages are not intended to be all the clothing the intern will need during their term of service. The uniform will be mailed to the site in care of the intern’s supervisor. Please alert your mailroom to expect this package from SCA. Advise your intern of any other necessary clothing or gear requirements.
- Field Work Package: Includes long sleeves for brush and insect protection. Long term interns also receive a heavy cotton work shirt.
- Visitor Services Package: Includes polo shirts intended for oﬃce-based work. Long term interns also receive a light, 1/4-zip ﬂeece.
- Hot Weather Package: Light, wicking shirts, including long-sleeves for sun protection. Long term interns also receive a nylon work shirt.
- Cold Weather Package: Polypropylene (no cotton) shirts for layering. Long term interns also receive a full-zip ﬂeece.
Most internships that meet the mission of SCA to “build the next generation of conservation leaders” meet AmeriCorps eligibility requirements. Specifically, AmeriCorps eligible positions will provide:
- critical service on public lands;
- improved protection of natural and cultural resources;
- educate visitors to minimize impact; or
- training and practical experience to become the next generation of conservation leaders.
To be AmeriCorps eligible, the position may NOT:
- duplicate an activity that is already available in the locality of a program;
- displace an employee or position, including partial displacement such as reduction in hours, wages, or employment benefits; or
- displace a volunteer.
The most common reason that a position is ineligible is due to the position requirement to handle money, typically in a park bookstore. Please carefully review the list of prohibited activities in the AmeriCorps section.
To properly document the eligibility of a position, please include a description of the context of the work and the critical need the position will meet. The position must offer opportunities for educational development, list the approximate percentage of time the member will spend on each work activity, avoid prohibited activities, and presents the position as a complete project.
Education and Skills
SCA recently revised the list of possible education and skills that partners can select. The current list is based on over 50 years of experience and represents the most effective categories for maximizing targeted recruitments.
Permissible and Prohibited Activities
Interns may engage in any activity that an employee may carry out except:
- SCA interns may not carry out direct law enforcement functions.
- SCA interns may not engage in firefighting activities unless they are hired to do so. They may be given fire training as interns. See the Wildland Fire Duty section below.
You may temporarily hire an intern for the purpose of firefighting or other duties. See the Wildland Fire Duty section below Interns may assist in other types of activities, such as search and rescue, operating four-wheel drive vehicles, or using machinery and tools, provided they have received the training normally given to regular or seasonal personnel. Interns should also be issued protective clothing and gear for any activity that requires the use of such items by regular employees.
Interns who will interact with the public should be given information about your site and the surrounding area. If it is not possible to include them in your regular, seasonal training, please provide other means of acquiring this information.
Selecting an Intern
Candidates Sent Through MySCA
SCA will begin to send applicants two to three months prior to the start of the position or sooner upon request. Applicants will be reviewed to determine if the skills and education meet the requirements you listed in the position request. The most qualified applicants will be sent to your MySCA account for review. You will receive an email notification each time new candidates have been added to your queue. Candidates are also notified when they are sent to you for consideration.
If you find that you don’t have enough candidates to review, or the candidates do not have adequate qualifications, please contact your Coordinator. Your Coordinator can assist you by sending additional candidates and/or refining the skills and/or education parameters to target the candidates that best match your needs.
To view the applications, login to your MySCA Portal and click on the “Manage Positions” tab. Click on the PO # hyperlink to open the position and scroll down to the “Candidates” section to view the applications. Once in the Candidate section, you will see an action column with “Offer”, “Delete”, and “Interview” links next to each candidate (described below). Click on the application hyperlink to view the candidate’s application.
Sometimes agencies want to recruit local candidates themselves or have a pre-selected candidate they would like to offer the position. SCA can admit a pre-selected candidate into your internship as long as the intern completes the SCA application online. Send the name, email, and phone number of the candidate to your Coordinator so SCA can guide them through the application process.
Interviewing an Applicant
To view a candidate’s contact information, click “Interview” to reveal the candidate’s telephone and email information. Candidates are NOT notified of your decision to interview them.
We strongly recommend that you review applications within a week from the time you receive them. Applications are often sent to more than one partner for review. SCA recommends that you review, contact, and interview your applicants as soon as you receive them to increase the likelihood that you will get your first candidate choice.
We advise applicants to view your call as an employment interview. During this conversation, be sure to cover the following points:
- Clarify the details of the proposed work assignment including specific job duties. Be sure to mention any changes in the job description that may have occurred since its publication.
- Discuss the dates of the project and your degree of ﬂexibility with start and end dates.
- Advise candidates of living and working conditions.
- Discuss vehicle requirements.
- Discuss any special clothing or gear requirements.
To remove a candidate from consideration, click “Delete”. Deleting a candidate does not delete them from our system; it simply pulls them from your candidate queue and indicates that you no longer wish to consider the candidate. They do not receive an email notification of your decision.
Making an Offer
Once you have received verbal or email confirmation that a candidate accepts the position, click “Offer” in your MySCA Portal to initiate the oﬃcial offer. After you click “Offer”, you will be directed to an offer page where you have the opportunity to modify the start and end dates of the position and leave notes regarding any other logistical details (such as a non-standard allowance or special uniform requests) that may vary from the initial position request.
Once you submit an offer, your Coordinator will review the offer, assign an AmeriCorps Education Award, if applicable, and send the electronic offer to the applicant. The offer is sent to the candidate via their MySCA Portal and they receive an email notification that an offer is pending their review. The candidate will need to login through the MySCA Portal to accept or decline the position within five business days.
Please do not offer a position to an applicant who has already agreed to serve at a different site.
Accepting an Offer
Upon accepting the position, the member will be asked to provide a current mailing address where they can receive a Chase card (see Finance section below). The card will be loaded with the member’s Travel Allowance on the first payday following acceptance of the position to ensure that they have the funds to arrange travel.
Occasionally, an applicant accepts a position but later declines the offer. If an intern declines after accepting your position, please call your Coordinator immediately to assist you in finding a replacement. Do not assume that the applicant has notified SCA.
Once the applicant accepts the position, SCA will email the intern with directions on how to complete additional enrollment paperwork such as a written confirmation of acceptance (COA), medical information with emergency numbers, and a liability release from the selected intern.
The intern will also be directed to the SCA Internship Handbook, which contains all the information the intern will need to get the most from their internship.
Selections Less Than Two Weeks from Start Date
Enrollment paperwork for the intern normally takes a couple of weeks to process. In cases where positions are filled less than two weeks from the start date, your Coordinator will work with the intern to complete the enrollment paperwork as quickly as possible. However, in some cases, the start date may need to be adjusted.