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Hanscom hangs out ‘help wanted’ sign for engineers

Hanscom is hanging out the help wanted sign, and seeking 75 engineers at multiple air force bases nationwide.

Hanscom is hanging out the help wanted sign, and seeking 75 engineers at multiple air force bases nationwide. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Lance Beebe)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Hanscom’s top engineer is looking for more than 75 experienced and entry level computer science and general engineers to help program executive offices acquire weapons systems.

Program Executive Office Digital has about 40 engineering vacancies at six locations, and PEO Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks has about 35 engineering vacancies at three locations. Joe Bradley oversees the engineering workforce of both PEOs, and he’s asked his resource managers to advertise these vacancies to attract top talent to the workforce. 

“We’re fighting for engineering candidates in a highly competitive market and in a high cost-of-living area,” said Ed Lee, chief of engineering resources for Hanscom’s PEOs. “We’re expanding the engineering workforce by 27 slots, and still see normal attrition in our workforce. The result is a lot of vacancies for mid-range, journeyman positions.”

Lee’s office is wallpapered with resumes from the dozens of interviews he performs per month. Permanent marker indicates “Job offered,” “Accepted!” or “Declined” on each cover letter. The federal hiring process requires a longer onboarding timeline than private industry, so Lee’s office must get creative to recruit and land the best candidates in a tight job market.  

“Several of our experienced engineers are retiring, which provides promotion opportunities to our mid-level engineers, but there aren’t enough juniors in the pipeline to in turn replace them,” said Lee. “So, we have a domino effect and that creates lots of opportunity for engineers across several bases and specialties.”

Patrick Hart, in charge of engineering recruiting efforts, takes advantage of post-college development programs for engineers with a degree. PALACE Acquire and SMART intern positions offer young engineers rapid ascension through federal employment ranks, coupled with training and student loan repayment options. Currently, Hart’s efforts have resulted in 40 PALACE Acquire and SMART engineering recruits to Hanscom, but even this supercharged program with a 77 percent retention rate doesn’t fill all available slots.

“We’re being as aggressive as possible,” said Lee. “Referrals are a big part of our success, so we’re asking the existing workforce to send us qualified engineering and computer science candidates. If you have an engineering degree, and are looking for career broadening opportunities, our door is open. We have a big demand for those specialties and will look closely at anyone who brings us the right skillsets and is looking for a challenging, mission-driven work environment.”

Engineers who seek employment at Hanscom can expect to work on tomorrow’s most advanced radars; communication and intelligence systems; command and operations centers; network infrastructures; and cyber defense systems. Their work will support America’s Airmen through acquisition and sustainment of complex weapons systems.