Agreement will improve Alaskan hire for airport security jobs and will streamline security procedures at the Ketchikan airport...
September 13, 2003
The agreements with Transportation Security Administration Deputy Administrator Stephen J. McHale call for the agency to work cooperatively with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to increase the number of airport security screening jobs going to Alaskans, instead of bringing in out of state workers.
"Alaskans share the nation's commitment to transportation safety, but we are also uniquely experienced with the special challenges of flying to, from and within our state," Murkowski said. "It only makes sense for Alaskans to share both the risks of keeping our airways safe, and the benefits of these good-paying jobs."
The accord was reached during the governor's meetings with McHale, who was in Alaska to tour the state to address transportation security issues. Also participating were John Madden, TSA's deputy federal security director at Anchorage International Airport, Commissioner of Labor Greg O'Claray, and Bill Sharrow, an aide to U.S. Rep. Don Young, chairman of the U.S. House Transportation Committee.
O'Claray said he has been concerned by reports of non-Alaskans being hired for TSA jobs at Alaska airports, depriving Alaskans of the work, costing federal taxpayers for extra travel, lodging and meals. He said the problems related to an Outside contractor who did not understand why recruitment efforts in Fairbanks failed to generate applications for jobs in Ketchikan. That contractor is no longer performing that service.
At a starting salary of about $30,000 per year, including federal cost of living allowance plus vacation, health insurance and retirement benefits, airport screening jobs are good employment opportunities for Alaskans, O'Claray said.
"This administration is committed to the principle of Alaska hire, and we will do all we can to make sure Alaskans are ready for, and get, these jobs," he said. O'Claray plans to hold job fairs for TSA jobs; assemble a database of potential employees and skills; pre-screen applicants with background checks; and post TSA jobs at state Job Centers.
McHale said he was looking forward to cooperating with the state on its Alaska recruitment efforts, and noted that the TSA recently hired 58 Alaskans to fill part-time positions vacated as non-residents left summer in-state jobs with the agency.
TSA also today announced new recruitment drives at 25 U.S. airports, including 11 in Alaska, at Barrow, Bethel, Cordova, Deadhorse, Dillingham, Ketchikan, King Salmon, Kotzebue, Nome, Sitka and Unalaska. Applicants must be U.S. citizens; have a high school diploma or GED or have security or aviation screening experience; speak English; and pass a background check.
"We understand that these are attractive jobs anywhere, and especially so in an aviation-friendly state like Alaska," McHale said. "We will be pleased to work with Commissioner O'Claray to help provide every opportunity for qualified Alaskans to help us provide for the safety of the traveling public."
Also during the meetings, the governor and McHale reached agreements on an effort to reconfigure the security checkpoints at Ketchikan's airport to address issues of security and convenience. Currently, airport concessionaires are located beyond airport security checkpoints, making it difficult for them to serve passengers and the public. McHale said it would not be difficult to adjust the location of those checkpoints.
"We intend for Ketchikan's
airport to operate more like those in Juneau and Sitka, where
people have free access to the restaurants, gift shops and other
concessionaires, then progress through security screening in
time to board or meet their flights," the governor said.
"We hope this will maintain the necessary level of security
while helping the Ketchikan airport maintain a friendly and welcoming
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