JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
The U.S. Air Force maintainer career field at JBSA-Randolph is a strictly civilian, fast-paced, 24/7 operation which includes aircraft mechanics, aircraft engine mechanics, avionic technicians, egress technicians and many more positions.
Since the beginning of last year, the 12th Maintenance Group has made a huge hiring push. The need for maintainers is a direct result of several new missions being assigned to JBSA-Randolph and the 12th MXG, including the arrival of the T-7 Red Hawk, in 2021.
Roderick “Hutch” Hutchinson, 12th MXG flight programs and resources supervisor, is primarily in charge of the hiring process.
“I plan, coordinate, and oversee resources involving manpower, human relations, transportation, facilities and information technology needs for the unit,” he said.
To keep manning sustained, a five-year ‘Direct Hiring Authority’ initiative was implemented in May 2019. This allows the 12th MXG to physically go out to recruit. Hutchinson and the 12th MXG team use multiple hiring techniques.
“We reach out to the local communities, colleges and universities to set up meet and greets, discussing who we are and what we do,” he said. “We also use the Air Force Civilian Service Talent and Acquisition Team by attending their sponsored hiring events.”
Through these techniques, the 12th MXG has successfully recruited 112 new hires since January 2019 and just recently, seven Hallmark University graduates.
“I never would have thought about working for the 12th Flying Training Wing if it hadn’t been presented to me that one day in class,” said Bethany Dickey, one of the new hires. “It was the best opportunity for me with interesting work, job security and a chance to be a part of something bigger.”
Members of the 12th MXG attended the class’s graduation Jan. 23. There, they presented the new hires with official 12th MXG hats, shirts and coins, and gave them the opportunity to meet 12th MXG leadership.
“The ceremony was nicer than anything I’ve ever seen done here,” Dickey said. “I know it was beneficial for students watching too, because they see that people ahead of them are getting jobs and what they are doing isn’t for nothing – it’s incredibly motivating.”
This ceremony is the first of its kind for the 12th MXG, although they expressed interest in adopting this event for every new hire.
A significant part of the hiring push is the amount of females hired. Primarily, the Air Force maintenance career field is male dominate but four out of the seven new members are female.
“It’s cool because in class, we kind of formed a group and worked together through the class; and now, we get to move onto this opportunity together as well,” Dickey said.
In addition to hiring personnel who obtain a certification in the field or have prior experience, the 12th MXG also offers a developmental program called “Grow your Own.” This is solely for people who have the aptitude to learn the trade and join the maintainer ranks.
“We train and provide classes to these individuals, all while assigning them to intern with a current mechanic to learn hands-on from a professional in a one-on-one setting,” Hutchinson said. “Eventually, the apprentices rank up and begin to complete tasks on their own.
For more information about joining the 12th MXG team, call 210-652-6804.