In an email today to The Star, Col. Brent Bolander, depot commander, said the facility will hire 294 temporary employees starting next week. The new employees will work for one year to help the depot meet its 2014 workload schedule, Bolander said.
"Interested individuals will compete for the positions using the official job site for federal government vacancies, www.usajobs.gov," Bolander said. "The vacancies are open to all U.S. citizens."
The depot employs almost 3,000 workers who repair, modify and upgrade combat vehicles and small arms for the military. Bolander said the facility does not yet have enough workers to meet its workload demands.
"Our workload has increased from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2014," Bolander said. “For example, we executed 3.076 million direct labor hours in fiscal year 2013 and we anticipate executing 3.3 million direct labor hours in fiscal year 2014.”
Bolander said some of the depot's main programs for the 2014 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, include repairing and upgrading small arms and Stryker combat vehicles. He said the depot needs temporary employees to work as painters, heavy vehicle mechanics and small arms repairers.
The new hires will replace the rest of the 371 temporary workers the depot laid off March 30 due to federal budget cuts. The depot added 80 temporary jobs in May due to its heavy workload.
Shrene Funderburg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1945, which represents depot workers, said the union will do what it can to help the depot workers laid off in March get their jobs back if they want them.
"We're going to try to get everybody back, but the jobs have to be available to everybody," Funderburg said.
Funderburg said the new employees will definitely be needed to meet workload demands.
"We were going to be behind schedule if we didn't get those," Funderburg said. "We have a lot of work to do."
Funderburg said the union requested the depot leadership hire more workers several months ago when it became apparent that the existing employees were having trouble meeting the depot's workload schedule.
Sherri Sumners, who oversees the Anniston-based Operation 1st Rate job placement program, said her organization knows about the depot's hiring plans and is ready to help residents apply for positions.
Operation 1st Rate, located in Quintard Mall in Oxford, was created with federal funding two years ago to mainly help workers displaced due to the closing of the Anniston chemical weapons incinerator and to budget cuts at the depot. The program's free services include helping build resumes, teaching basic computer skills and providing job-hunting assistance.
Sumners said since its inception, the program has helped nearly 600 area residents find new jobs. Also, the organization recently expanded and bought five extra computers with the federal grant money it received this year.
Sumners said former depot workers and any other unemployed area residents are encouraged to visit Operation 1st Rate if they need help applying for a depot job.
"Some people have come in to already to apply," Sumners said. "Anyone is certainly welcome to come in if they need assistance."
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.