TSA struggles to fill vacant positions at Alaska’s airports

ANCHORAGE — The Transportation Security Administration says it’s having difficulty filling the open positions at more than a dozen airports across Alaska.

Several factors have been attributed to the TSA’s hiring challenges, including the rural locations of airports and Alaska’s high cost of living, The Alaska Dispatch News reported (http://bit.ly/1Q4Hvas).

As of Jan. 28, the agency had vacancies at Fairbanks, Anchorage, Cordova, Kodiak, Adak, Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, Barrow, Juneau, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka and Yakutat.

“I know there are other states that are considered hard-to-hire states where they have similar types of things,” said TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers, citing North Dakota as an example. “But I think Alaska is the most concentrated in terms of airports and the number of opportunities here.”

The federal government’s official job site lists 21 TSA officer positions available in the state. But Dankers says the need is much higher as the agency looks to find new hires for the summer, Alaska’s busiest travel season.

“I will tell you, based on what I’ve seen, it’s much higher than that,” she said.

To deal with vacancies, the TSA has its own National Deployment Force. Officers are sent to airports on an as-needed basis to places “that require a greater number of security personnel than is available,” according to a TSA fact sheet.

The agency used the deployment force to supplement security at Alaska airports at an average cost of $4.1 million a year from fiscal years 2010 to 2015, the fact sheet states.

However, the goal is for Alaska to not have to rely on temporary officers, said Pete Duffy, assistant federal security director for screening in Alaska.

“We would rather have folks that are actually from those communities, or if not, at least a permanent party there because they become more ingrained in the communities,” Duffy said. “That’s an important part of security too is understanding the community.”

TSA officials say they have increased efforts to attract potential candidates by raising pay to account for Alaska’s cost of living and offering more full-time positions.

___

Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of April 8

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

A statue of William Henry Seward stands outside the Dimond Courthouse in downtown Juneau. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau man convicted of sexual abuse of 15-year-old girl more than four years after incidents occur

JPD: Randy James Willard, 39, sent explicit videos to and engaged in sexual contact with victim.

Capital Transit buses stop at the Valley Transit Center on Thursday. Two bus routes serving areas of the Mendenhall Valley and near the airport will temporarily be discontinued starting April 22 due to lack of staff. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Capital Transit temporarily suspending two Mendenhall Valley routes due to shortage of drivers

Officials hope to fix situation by July; extra tourist buses also scaled back due to fleet shortage.

A fenced lot proposed as a campsite for people experiencing homelessness located next to the city’s cold weather emergency shelter, in the background, is also next door to a businesses where extensive construction is scheduled, thus prompting city leaders to rethink the proposal. (Photo by Laurie Craig)
Indefinite ‘dispersed camping’ for homeless proposed by city leaders due to lack of suitable campsite

Proposed Rock Dump site is next to long-term construction, more costly than expected, report states.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, April 10, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, watches as the tally board in the Alaska House of Representatives shows the vote against House Joint Resolution 7 on Thursday. Eastman supported the amendment. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House votes down constitutional guarantee for Permanent Fund dividend

Guarantee had been discussed as part of long-term plan to bring state expenses in line with revenue.

Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer and co-chair of the House Finance Committee, speaks Thursday on the House floor about the state’s operating budget. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House passes draft state budget amid warnings that state spending doesn’t balance

Changes during floor debate include $9M by Rep Andi Story, D-Juneau, for youth reading program.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy tells reporters that he needs to see lawmakers pass his reforms before he allows a permanent increase to funding for schools on Tuesday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Alaskans support increased education funding, reforms, according to Dunleavy poll

Majority of those polled say they think “change and reform” are key to improving Alaska’s test scores.

Most Read