More than 3,100 people apply for federal screener jobs

Friday, August 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Transportation Security Administration has received responses from 3,160 people applying for 450 screening personnel jobs at Oklahoma's five state airports.

The new agency has until Nov. 19 to have an all-federal work force in place to screen passengers. Those who will screen airport baggage must be selected by Dec. 31.

Dave Steigman, Transportation Security spokesman, said about 750,000 applications were received across the nation for the roughly 52,000 available jobs. About 30,000 of the jobs are for passenger screeners and 22,000 will screen baggage.

Candidates must be U.S. citizens and have a high school diploma, a GED or equivalent, or one year of security or aviation screening experience.

Teams assigned by Transportation Security are at Will Rogers World Airport and Tulsa International Airport evaluating baggage-screening procedures and personnel positions.

The changes are a result of an aviation security act, which mandates Transportation Security recruit, hire and train personnel to assume responsibilities at airports across the nation.

The act was passed in the awake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Karen Carney, Will Rogers spokeswoman, said Transportation Security is sending teams to each airport to examine existing facilities. After reports from the teams are complete, Transportation Security will start the hiring process.

Hiring for the Oklahoma City airport will begin later this month or early September, Carney told The Daily Oklahoman.

At Will Rogers, 245 people employed by two private security companies are handling screening procedures.

Rory Garien, a spokesman for Olympic Security Services Inc., said his business is the fifth-largest security company in the nation, with employees working at several national airports.

Once the federal government begins management of the screeners, Olympic and others will lose a portion of its business, Garien said.

``I can't comment on what it would do financially, but I'm sure it will be quite a toll on all of these companies,'' he said.

Transportation Security expects to hire 25 people for the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport; 175 for Will Rogers; 30 at the Ponca City Airport; 190 for Tulsa International and 30 at Woodring Regional Airport in Enid, Steigman said.

Of the 3,160 qualified applications received so far from Oklahoma residents, about 240 are for jobs at Lawton's airport and 1,700 are for jobs at Will Rogers.

At Ponca City, about 90 applications have been received and 1,050 have been taken for Tulsa. About 80 have responded to positions at Woodring.

Transportation Security wants to fill half of all screening positions with women, but the turnout of female candidates hasn't been as high as expected.

``If a person is going to be searched closely, we want to have a person of whatever gender they (the passenger) request to do the search,'' Steigman said.

Carney said half the current screeners at Will Rogers are women. She said she expects many of the employees will apply for Transportation Security jobs.

According to the agency, salaries of the screeners will range from $23,600 to $35,400 annually. Many screeners employed at airports nationwide are paid minimum wage.

Brent Kitchens, director of airports in Tulsa, said Transportation Security representatives from Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been at the Tulsa airport in recent weeks doing survey work.

Representatives will return to the airport to implement the changes in personnel and to oversee the installation of new equipment later this year, Kitchens said.