By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Amidst the partial government shutdown, one agency that hasn’t been able to pay its workers wants you to know its hiring.

The Transportation Security Administration is hosting a fast-track hiring event for MSP Airport this weekend, which was scheduled before the shutdown started.

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As travelers approach the security checkpoints at MSP, it’s not only bags their carrying.

“When I stop I give the fellows my card. I just thank them for being here,” said Phil, a traveler from New Jersey.

Cliff Van Leuven, TSA Federal Director for Minnesota, has been taken aback by the gratitude for his workers in blue who haven’t been paid in weeks.

“Frankly, the traveling public has just been amazing,” Van Leuven said.

While he and his staff weather the storm that is the government shutdown, Van Leuven also needs to fill 40 TSA job openings at MSP. That’s why they’re hosting a fast-track hiring event Saturday, where applicants can knock out roughly three-quarters of the application process in one day.

(credit: CBS)

Van Leuven said they discussed putting the event on hold, but several busy travel periods lie ahead, including spring break, the Final Four and the summer season.

“We feel like we need to press ahead. We’ve got all the resources ready to go,” he said.

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Given that screeners aren’t being paid, some wonder if it’s worth it.

“Couldn’t imagine anyone taking the job,” Phil said. “You’re not going to be paid, why you going to go through this hassle.”

Van Leuven countered that thought.

“We will get paid and [the shutdown] will end at some point. And when it does, it can be a very rewarding opportunity,” Van Leuven said.

To remain competitive in the job market, Van Leuven said they raised the starting wage of a screener from $16.71 per hour to $18.38 per hour. He said the reason they have had job vacancies for several months is because of the low unemployment rate in the Twin Cities. He added that other careers don’t require the level of focus necessary to be a TSA worker, as well as sacrificing weekends and holidays.

Despite the government shutdown, he feels it’s a can’t-miss opportunity for people looking for work.

“My dream would be that everybody that walks in the door, we have a job offer for,” he said.

The TSA held a similar event for MSP last April. Van Leuven said roughly 250 showed up, and about 85 were either eligible for the job or were hired.

The fast-track event is Saturday, January 19 at the TSA Administrative Offices in Bloomington, located at 2001 Killebrew Drive #400. It runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The entire process might take three to five hours.

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Click here to learn more about the job requirements.

Jeff Wagner