Inside the Gates: JBER needs civilian employees

Updated: Feb. 2, 2022 at 12:00 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Jake Johnson wants a job. That’s something Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has in abundance right now.

“I’ve been out of work for almost a year,” Johnson said. “Really at this point, anything comes my way, I’ll take it very seriously.”

That includes something he’s never considered, one at JBER.

“Most of my experience is either office/retail. But a lot of times it’s hard to make ends meet with those jobs,” said Johnson. “So I need something that’s a little more solid, something that can actually take care of my bills and such.”

Johnson is among those who turned out for the annual JBER Job Fair at the Alaska Job Center in Anchorage. The base is looking for hundreds of civilian employees.

“We’re looking for ski and snowboard instructors, laborers, recreation assistants,” said Kate Thompson, manager of the Hillberg Ski Area. “And then I also run Otter Lake during the summertime — same thing, looking for recreation assistants.”

JBER faces a similar problem to the one being faced in the private sector: a shortage of workers.

“What I’m looking to fill is the backbone of my operation, which is the housekeepers, and the laborers. And we’re probably about 30 people short in that area,” said Dan Gallagher, an assistant manager at JBER Lodging.

Gallagher is at a loss to explain why there’s a shortage of workers. But, he is certain of a couple of things.

“We guarantee the hours, we guarantee the positions,” Gallagher said. “And I just need the bodies in the positions.”

One area that especially needs staffing is the JBER Child and Youth Programs for its daycare services.

“A lot of people kind of took a pause during the pandemic. There were a lot of people that chose to stay home,” Kristy Griffin, one of the supervisors. “But our military doesn’t have that option, and they still have kiddos that need care and we still have care that we need to provide.”

For Johnson and others, the JBER Job Fair may have provided them with a new line of work.

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