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Human resource office captures AETC award

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The 81st Services Division's human resource office is No. 1 in Air Education and Training Command for the second year in a row.

The office claimed the 2007 AETC Service Program Award.

The award considers performance for fiscal year 2006.

How the office faced the challenges of Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster ever to hit the nation, had a big impact on winning the award.

The ability to fill over 150 of the over 200 nonappropriated fund employee positions left vacant because of Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the office's innovation.

The office successfully filled the NAF positions while competing against more resourceful businesses outside the gate. They were able to promote open positions at job fairs and offer immediate employment to sway potential employees.

"An emergency job fair was held with on the spot hiring," said Sherry McGrath, 81st MSG human resources officer. "HRO teamed up with supervisors and managers to make this happen quickly."

The office's ability to replenish needed positions during a critical period, its unstopping drive to account for missing workers and its determination to fulfill their needs guaranteed NAF employees were available to support the base in a time of crisis.

Management made it a priority to account for all missing employees. They contacted the missing member's friends and relatives, visited destroyed homes and shelters and searched temporary morgues until every member was accounted for.

The management team helped find housing for its employees. When no housing was found, they teamed up with the lodging office to convert office space into livable space.
Their efforts paid off.

The office's response enabled them to act quickly during a period when the base depended on their support.

"Our initial mission was to get military and civilians out of shelters and back in lodging," said Ms. McGrath.

The office's innovation and management skills saved thousands of dollars while maintaining the appropriate number of positions to get the job done.

The cost savings and innovative response to the natural disaster enabled the office to create policies that will be used by other bases in response to leave and pay issues for NAF employees during a natural disaster or emergency.

"Please join me in congratulating our terrific human resource office for receiving the AETC Human Resource Office Services Program Award," said Col. Richard Pierce, 81st Training Wing vice commander.