Sunday, June 30, 2002

Airport to get 320 screeners


New federal agency will hold job fair in Florence

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HEBRON — The federal government will need about 320 workers to handle both passenger and bag screening at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

        Friday's announcement was the first time the federal Transportation Security Administration had released specific figures about how many federal workers would be required to implement post-Sept. 11 air security at the local airport.

        The recently formed agency, charged with revamping the nation's airport security, will hold a job fair in Florence Monday to begin gathering and distributing information about the new positions.

HOW TO APPLY
  When: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
  Where: Hilton Airport, 7373 Turfway Road, Florence
  Other ways to apply:
 Online at www.tsa.dot.gov
  By phone at 1-877-631-JOBS (5627)
  Requirements:
  • U.S. citizenship.
  • High school diploma, GED or equivalent OR at least one year of full-time experience in security, aviation screening, or X-ray technician work.
  • Be able to speak, understand and write English clearly.
  • Pass drug and alcohol screening.
  • Pass a background investigation including a credit check.
  Training: 40 hours of classroom training, 60 hours of on-the-job training, and a certification examination.
  Salary: $23,600 to $35,400 plus locality pay.
  Source: The federal Transportation Security Administration
        “This (staffing level) is what the TSA is projecting will be required both at pas senger checkpoints and to man” explosive detection system and explosive trace detection machines, agency spokeswoman Deirdre O'Sullivan said. “But once site assessment teams have completed their surveys, this number may change, but probably not dramatically.”

        St. Louis-based Huntleigh USA currently employs the approximately 300 screeners at the airport.

        Nationally, the Transportation Security Administration is looking to hire 30,000 passenger screeners and another 21,000 workers to operate baggage screening machines by Nov. 19, as required by Congress in November 2001. Ms. O'Sullivan said no breakdown was available about how many of the 320 at the local airport would be dedicated to searching either passengers or bags.

        On Monday several consulting teams will visit the area and run the 12-hour job fair at a Florence hotel for potential screeners, who could make between $23,600 and $35,400 annually.

        The job fair is part of an eight-city effort to recruit workers, the second such round of job fairs nationally. The agency is taking applications for about 50 airports nationally.

        Several airports, including Baltimore/Washington International and Louisville International Airport, already have federal workers handling security.

        But because of tougher standards including U.S. citizenship, the agency has struggled to fill spots at other airports.

        Ms. O'Sullivan said the job fairs were always part of the recruitment strategy and were not added because of previous recruiting problems.

        Ms. O'Sullivan said that those who have already applied (the process began earlier this month for Cincinnati) do not need to attend the job fair. She also said current screeners employed by private companies were being encouraged to apply. Those who meet the criteria will be brought back for physical, mental and interpersonal aptitude testing within two weeks, Ms. O'Sullivan said, adding that applications will be taken for the next several weeks.

        Local airport officials would not comment on whether they thought the number of screeners would be adequate, saying they were waiting to meet with agency officials.

        That also happens Monday, as the agency's “go team” meets with airport staff to begin the process of converting to a federal work force. The team is a squad of federal screeners and managers sent to individual airports to implement new systems and help recruit workers.

        Lockheed Martin, the firm picked to help redesign security checkpoints, also will be here Monday, as will a consulting team from Boeing, which has a federal contract to help deploy baggage scanning machines at the nation's 429 airports.

       



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