Nearly 1,500 new jobs are forecast for Fort Detrick in the next few years and Frederick needs to prepare for them.
About 8,000 people pass through the base gates each day.
A panel of representatives from agencies were on hand Friday at the Frederick County Workforce Development board meeting to discuss growth the Federal Base Realignment and Closing, or BRAC, recommendations will bring to the military research base at the heart of Frederick.
Fort Detrick is the largest employment site in the county, made up of about 40 different government entities. It will become the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research, as well as continuing as a U.S. Army garrison.
“Most people don’t know who is on the fort and how to access jobs,” said Darlene Carver, chairwoman of the workforce board.
There are websites such as americajob.com that shows available job postings in the government. The meeting Friday was a step toward making those job opportunities listed through the local workforce office.
Bad credit? No job
One of the main factors in landing a government job, especially at Fort Detrick with the Department of Homeland Security and high technology laboratories, is security clearance.
Mike Hayes, director of military and federal affairs for the Maryland Department of Economic Development and a retired Marine brigadier general, said most people fail a security check because of bad credit.
Hayes and other panel members said young people need to realize early that handling their finances poorly or bad behavior can preclude them from a government job in the future.
Andy Moser, assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, said the Maryland Workforce Exchange is a key site for job searching.
Maryland received a $4 million grant to help with planning and implementation for the expected influx of people because of BRAC changes, which will move personnel into Fort Detrick, Aberdeen and Fort Meade.
Construction at the bases is the first step, Moser and Hayes said, to build the facilities for the agencies on the bases.
That will create a lot of construction jobs, they said, but security clearance is still paramount.
“Even construction workers have to be cleared to get in the gate,” Hayes said.
However, Moser, even with its boost in employment, the BRAC influx is only 15 percent of Maryland’s growth. The rest is because of the state’s expanding economy. Moser said employers are also looking at an impending drop in the workforce as more people retire.
Hayes and Darryl Rekemeyer, director of the Fort Detrick Business Development Office, said the two main areas for employment at Fort Detrick will be medical research and information technology. Rekemeyer’s office deals primarily with companies that want to do business with the government.
1,500 new jobs is a good thing, but I can’t imagine what that’s going to do to the Rosemont corridor. Maybe a few more places to eat will pop up, if you can fight the traffic. I just hope this culls a few more cars off 270 every morning!