February 13, 2013BERLIN — The N. H. Employment Security office located at 151 Pleasant Street in downtown Berlin will host a two-hour after-hours job fair from 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, for the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that has some 100 posts to fill with qualified staff over the coming year at FCI-Berlin to bring it to full activation status.
"The goal of holding this event during the evening hours is to give individuals who are already employed — possibly under-employed — an opportunity to explore these exciting careers during non-daytime working hours," explained ES office manager Mark Belanger in a Friday morning telephone interview.
Likely two or three uniformed Bureau of Prison (BOP) staff members with hiring authority will be on hand to discuss the rewarding career opportunities with the Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, Belanger said.
"It's great to have uniformed staff," he said, noting that he has not met any staff members who do not wear their uniform with pride. "The BOP is a para-military organization that maintains a clear chain of command, and all the BOP employees that I've met are happy in their careers."
Job seekers must be able to pass what Belanger calls "computer security" in order to get a face-to-face interview for a variety of positions.
Virtually all the federal prison jobs require that applicants — who must be U.S. citizens — be hired before their 37th birthday and pass a background investigation. There is flexibility in the age requirements for some veterans as well as for a few medical positions and clergy, Belanger said.
Many available positions are for Corrections Officers, he said.
Nonetheless, there are other positions available, including that of carpenter. He recommended that those who might be interested in a BOP career should check out job descriptions and career paths online: www.bop.gov.
For the next step, go to: www.usajobs.gov, which has postings for jobs at FCI-Berlin. An applicant must register to participate.
Similar to the state's ES "job match" service, potential applicants can access a "virtual recruiter," Belanger said.
Being successful requires that an applicant use the "key words" found in the narrative language of federal job descriptions to accurately reflect his or her "knowledge, skills and abilities," he said.
All applicants should understand that what they are seeking is eligibility for a face-to-face interview.
Resumés or applications are graded into three levels, Belanger said. Despite their reassuring sound, neither "qualified" nor "highly qualified" lead, however, to an interview.
Only those whose resumés are judged "best qualified" do actually get interviewed, he explained.
"FCI-Berlin has jobs worth coveting with good wages, health and other benefits, and ultimately pensions after 20 years of service," Belanger said. "There are ways younger workers can prepare themselves to become 'best qualified' by legitimately boosting their experience," Belanger said. "Volunteering at a daycare center, by coaching or working with a youth group are good ways to gain experience. Corrections officers must be able to serve as role models for proper behavior for inmates, and there are lots of volunteer jobs in which counseling and observation skills are honed."
Employer service representative Diana Nelson in the ES office has been very successful in helping applicants understand the ins and outs of filling in an online resumé template. Nelson offers weekend and after-hour workshops at White Mountains Community College (WMCC) that take up to 10 hours to complete.
Those interested in taking advantage of this free service should telephone Tamara Allen (752-1113) at WMCC; when enough men and women sign up, she informs Nelson, who, in turn, then organizes a class.
Nelson also offers one-on-one follow-ups and assistance, Belanger explained.
He pointed out that NHES expects that potential BOP employees who live in Maine and Vermont, as well as those in New Hampshire, will be attracted to the
Belanger and Nelson are both members of FCI-Berlin's Community Relations Board that meets quarterly. He said, "Now that the federal prison is open, the Talent Team has morphed into this Board, which includes many branches of law enforcement"