BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) sought shipyard volunteers to help overcome a staffing shortage of more than 600 mechanics, a result of the Navy-mandated hiring freeze.
Despite being exempt from Defense Department-wide employee furloughs, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and IMF is struggling to minimize the hiring shortfall on planned availabilities for the submarine USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), the Trident ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), the submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) and the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
Shipyard Commander Capt. Steve Williamson asked interested parties to put their name on the volunteer list. He is seeking both shipyard employees, with specialized experience who have moved into management, and unskilled workers who can perform basic manual tasks to allow the more experienced employees to fill in for the vacant mechanic positions.
"We are at a pivotal point," said Williamson. "We are going to rely on the talent of this command to step up and earn the trust we were given with the furlough exemption. Let me give you the bottom line here. We need you. We must do something different, so we can do what we have been asked to do."
The potential volunteer's list is being built rapidly. People can be assigned to where they are needed and where their initiative and skills can support the workload. A process is in place to match the volunteers' skills with the work that needs to be accomplished.
During fiscal year 2013, all four naval shipyards are exempted from furloughs, as there is a critical need to return nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers to the fleet. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and IMF was preparing to offer jobs to more than 600 mechanics before the Navy mandated a temporary hiring freeze.
Already, the volunteer initiative has been well received by the shipyard employees, and it is expected the volunteer program will remain in place until staffing returns to required levels.
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