JOHN DAY – Freshly mustered out of the Army in January, Jason Leighton, 30, is hoping for a job with the U.S. Forest Service.
“I’ve been out in the woods pretty much my whole life,” he said. Plus, military service included plenty of exercise to prepare the John Day man for outdoors work.
“They had us walking miles in the sun, in New Mexico, carrying 95 pounds of gear,” he noted.
Leighton was one of nearly 60 people to attend two job fairs last Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Malheur National Forest offices in John Day. The agency plans another job fair at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at Burns High School.
The Malheur Forest expects to hire at least 50 temporary workers, over the usual summer hiring, as part of its Accelerated Restoration Program.
Sherri Preston-McGuire, budget officer for the Malheur, said the fairs are a way to help applicants through the job process.
“We want to make our local folks as competitive as possible,” she said.
Forest staffers were on hand last week to talk about an array of work areas: archaeology, timber, range, wildlife, hydrology, fisheries, soils, botany, engineering, and fire.
They also set up a bank of computers for people to get acquainted with USA Jobs, the federal government’s online application program. The program allows applicants to set up accounts and upload their documents, such as resumes and school paperwork, for use in the hiring process.
In addition to the job fairs, Forest staffers are going to local high schools to talk to teens about the application process and job possibilities.Read more on bluemountaineagle.com.