Help wanted, says the National Park Service.

This spring, the agency that employs 20,000 workers to protect and preserve some of America’s most beautiful landscapes stood up its “first ever” National Recruitment Team to focus on hiring of diverse candidates for the most in-demand jobs.

“The NRT is engaging-in [and] hosting resume-building workshops, career fairs, virtual recruiting events, social media marketing, and community networking,” a spokesperson told Federal Times.

While visitation has skyrocketed in recent years at many national parks, stagnant budgets have led to a 16% reduction in staffing capacity for the agency in the last decade. Hiring for these jobs can also be a tough sell given work must often be done in remote locations and amid slipping employee morale. The NPS ranked 371 out of 432 federal agencies in terms of “engagement and satisfaction” in the latest Partnership for Public Service poll.

Historically, NPS has sourced candidates in communities it already has a foothold in, Director Chuck Sams said during a Washington Post live event last month. Going forward, the agency is looking to boost recruitment efforts at historically black colleges, military installations, trade schools, universities with Native American ties and other groups.

“We’ve just recently hired recruiters for the first time to go out and meet people where we’re at,” he said.

The agency’s budget for 2023 proposes five new employees who would focus on employee engagement, staffing, recruitment and workforce planning by helping devise a position tracking process to monitor vacancies.

NPS also said “to the extent fiscally possible,” it is looking to recruit for career seasonal employees who are entitled to permanent positions with benefits as opposed to temporary workers who may rotate to find other work during lulls.

The Inflation Reduction Act set aside $500 million to the Department of the Interior through Sept. 30, 2030, including funds for the hiring of NPS employees.

Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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