Calling all techs
U.S. Army looking for computer savvy employees

ON THE WEB Read a BRAC labor study report at:
http://www.oneknox.com/pdfs/Labor_study_final_report.pdf. And for more information about Army jobs, visit: www.cpol.army.mil

The News Enterprise
September 8, 2009
By JOHN FRIEDLEIN

HARDIN COUNTY – The tech-heavy Army Human Resources Command is moving into a part of the country that may not be as tech-savvy.

Perhaps less than half of the current civilian employees now working for the command will move here for the current Base Realignment and Closure initiative. An initial survey of Human Resources employees showed 30 percent of respondents willing to make the move; 40 percent were undecided, according to the Fort Knox newspaper, the Turret.

The Army this month expects to get a better grasp on workers' intentions when letters of commitment are turned in.

Beth Avey – spokeswoman for a group working with the community during the realignment – said the typical percentage of workers who move in this situation is 25 to 30 percent, and that's likely high.

If the Army is to fill many positions that open up from the pool of local workers, there aren't as many here as in the HRC's old home. Only 1 percent of workers in Hardin and nearby counties – not including Jefferson – were employed in the computer or math field in 2007 – compared to 3 percent in the St. Louis metro area, according to a labor study posted on the One Knox Web site. The Washington, D.C., metro area, where other workers related to BRAC are, had 8 percent. Louisville had 2 percent.

The Army during the next couple of years plans to fill 1,400 positions; many of those will be in information technology — IT.

"One of our biggest concerns will be finding enough (information technology) employees in the Knox area," said Col. Greg Gardner, BRAC chief for the HRC, according to the Turret.

The labor survey called this a strongly blue -collar region.

Also, there have been concerns that higher-paying Army jobs would pull IT workers from private businesses in the area. "There's a domino effect," Avey said.

The educational community is aware of this need – a college president symposium was held in August.

Skill sets needed for the Army's different systems run the gamut, Avey said. "They are an IT-centric operation."

One Knox has worked on a variety of job-related related projects, including the Army 101 program, which teaches prospective employees about the military. It's also conducted a career placement push and hiring symposiums.

Sherry Johnston, associate director for the Elizabethtown-based Lincoln Trail Area Development District, said she thinks the Army jobs can be filled, and there will be a pipeline created to keep them that way.

She said most area post-secondary institutions offer I.T. programs.

Johnson hopes Kentuckians apply for the jobs. "Right now it's an outreach and recruitment effort."

The Army recruits globally, though. "When they put out a vacancy, anybody can apply for it," Johnson said.

John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746.

This story, written by John Friedlein, was provided to One Knox courtesy of The News Enterprise. Read more stories from The News Enterprise at www.thenewsenterprise.com.