By John Budnik
USACE - Alaska District Public Affairs
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - The organization has about 20 positions either pending announcement or currently advertised on the USA Jobs website, the official source of federal government employment listings. The project-funded agency’s workload is anticipated to increase with future military and civil works construction. However, the hiring actions reflect the organization’s mantra of striving to become faster, more affordable and better.
“The people of this district are our most precious resource,” said Col. Michael Brooks, district commander. “Therefore, our top priority is talent management. We want the district’s services to not only be preferred but demanded, and it starts with hiring the right people.”
The district provides engineering, construction support, scientific and technical services in support of peacetime and contingency operations in Alaska, the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The organization oversees the largest geographic area in the Corps of Engineers and is responsible for delivering multimillion-dollar projects throughout the state.
With its headquarters at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage and other offices around the state, the district has positions available for an administrative assistant, archaeologist, architect, construction control representative, equal employment opportunity officer, maintenance worker, procurement technician, project manager as well as civil and electrical engineers. Meanwhile, more than 20 other jobs are already in the selection and official hiring process.
Benefits of federal employment in Alaska include competitive salary, locality pay and cost of living allowance. Some advertised positions may offer paid moving costs or a relocation bonus as well.
“Applicants should read the announcement completely and be sure to include all required items requested for the position,” said Amy Burke, district workforce management specialist. “They can check their USA Jobs account under the application status, which has a checklist of items received and those that are still needed.”
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management may establish special pay rates to address staffing challenges caused by significantly higher non-federal salaries, remoteness of location or undesirable work conditions, according to its website. Positions at the district that may qualify for these increased wages are architect, civil, electrical, and environmental and mechanical engineers to name a few.
On July 9, the Department of Defense announced plans to convert Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division into an infantry battalion task force, according to a press release. The transition will result in a reduction of about 2,600 Soldiers and another 75 from Fort Wainwright during fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers comprises about 37,000 civilian employees in more than 130 countries, opportunities for Soldiers to serve and work in the organization are available, too.
Specifically, the Alaska District’s Arctic Warrior Intern Program introduces active-duty engineers to all facets of the Corps of Engineers’ mission in Alaska, said Lt. Col. Mark DeRocchi, district deputy commander.
“The program shows the safety and processes put into deliberate engineering,” DeRocchi said. “It also teaches them about our civil works, emergency management, military construction, regulatory and many other responsibilities they may not see in their normal active-duty lives.”
These temporary on-the-job training assignments are scheduled to last three to 18 months.
With the capacity to support about 25 active-duty Soldiers, prospective candidates are not limited to the engineering specialty, as long as the applicant has approval from their chain of command. Developmental opportunities may exist within other divisions, branches or sections at the district that are not necessarily related to engineering, he said.
“We are dedicated to good leaders. Traditionally, our military, veterans and their spouses have those skill sets,” DeRocchi said. “We are willing to hire the right person and train them on the technical stuff.”
The opportunity to work at the district could lead to a long and fulfilling career, DeRocchi added.
“I think it is a fantastic opportunity for folks to realize that just because you have to leave active-duty service does not mean you have to leave federal service,” he said. “If a Soldier has a skill set in the Army, we are willing to put them to work over here to broaden their horizons.”