Tinker Air Force Base on fast track for hiring

Friday, January 12, 2018

by Kevan Goff-Parker

Journal Record

One of the many functions of the 72nd Force Support Squadron Personnel Office, according to Civilian Personnel Officer Robert Amundson, is to keep a sharp eye out for the right hires to join Tinker Air Force Base’s 15,000 civilian employees.

The Civilian Personnel Office has an active recruiting team that spreads the news about job opportunities at Tinker AFB. They reach out through approximately 40-50 career fairs and community outreach events each year and partner with colleges, universities, career technology centers and different agencies within the State of Oklahoma to talk to potential candidates.

“For Tinker, we have really been on the fast track for hiring for a long, long time,” Amundson said. “It is simply because of attrition and the workload that drives a lot of the hiring that we do.

We have a constant influx of new people, and we lose approximately 50-60 employees a month due to a variety of reasons, including retirements. We not only keep up with the attrition, we hire for the workload, including jobs coming in and if there is a change in the mission.”

He said veteran’s groups, churches and private industry are also good sectors that can potentially provide future workers for Tinker AFB. When an Oklahoma company downsizes, Tinker AFB can often step in with the state’s rapid response team and help people seeking new employment opportunities.

“We help the displaced worker,” Amundson said. “It is about being a good partner with our community. Our job is to, No. 1, sustain the mission; and, No. 2, take care of our people.”

The Civilian Personnel Office also prepares a Fiscal Year Hiring Forecast. This hiring forecast is a needs assessment compilation of various units and organizations on the base. He said their office adjusts the forecast as needed to reflect the customers’ projected workforce needs for the upcoming two years.

“Based on the workload we have now and the projected workload, I just think there are a lot of fabulous opportunities (here) for people,” Amundson said.

The forecast states Tinker AFB is looking for employees with a wide array of skills to fill more than 1,000 jobs. The base intends to hire approximately 30 police officers, 36 recreational aides (lifeguards), 112 miscellaneous specialists, assistants and student trainees, 95 program management and logistic managers, fill 44 medical positions and all types of engineer positions (including general, mechanical, materials, aerospace, environment, electrical, industrial and student trainees) for a total of 357 positions.

It also states 52 contracting specialists’ positions, six operation research analysts, 13 inventory management specialists and 79 IT program manager positions need to be filled.

“My biggest selling point is that I’m providing you (potential employees) with skills for life,” Amundson said. “During recruiting events, we often tell candidates that we are looking to hire them for the next 30-40 years. I think it is extremely important that if I’m going to invest the time, energy and the amount of money that will get you trained for a certain function, I want to have you here for a long, long time.”

Amundson said he works closely with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education (CareerTech) and its Aerospace and Defense Industry Liaison Eddie Compton. Compton isn’t a new face to Team Tinker. He was the command chief of the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker AFB when he retired after 30 years of service in 2014.

Compton said the state moved aerospace training under one umbrella, and he acts as the point of contact for businesses and industry with the state’s career technical schools. Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration ensures that the courses for aviation maintenance training meet FAA standards.

“We have three CareerTechs that offer airframe and power plant training, Metro Technology Center, Gordon Cooper Technology Center and Canadian Valley Technology Center,” Compton said. “Students take an 18-month course and must pass oral, practical and written tests demonstrating what they can do to maintain safe and reliable aircraft. Francis Tuttle Technology Center and Mid-Del Technology Center offer aircraft sheet metal courses which were developed for heavy organizations like Tinker AFB.”

Amundson said Tinker AFB wants to set up new employees for success.

“We want to get them the training, the education and align them with the right resources and people so that they are successful on the job,” he said. “Right now, part of our focus is specifically targeting those individuals who are done with their school work and are getting their certifications. That way we have their undivided attention, and they’re doing what they need to do instead of having to go back and forth from school to the work site.”

Amundson said many potential recruits are following in the footsteps of their parents.

“I think that a good selling point is our own employees,” he said. “They are the ones who say, ‘I’ve worked at Tinker for X number of years and look at the things I’ve been able to do and how I’ve been able to provide for my family.’  A lot of the time, our own employees are our best recruiters when it comes to selling the jobs.”

Amundson said that once individuals are hired at Tinker AFB, they have a wealth of career opportunities to explore.

“Another selling point that I try to tell folks is that there are so many opportunities out here, that once you’re able to get your foot in the door, then you have an opportunity to explore the other opportunities that are available,” he said. “You’re kind of your own self-limiting factor in the sense that you have the greatest opportunity to do whatever you want to do.”

To see available jobs at Tinker, visit www.usajobs.gov.

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