Hiring fair aims to boost staffing at Steamboat post office | SteamboatToday.com

Hiring fair aims to boost staffing at Steamboat post office

A customer walks past an inflatable stick figure set up by the U.S. Postal Service to draw attention to a job fair Thursday, April 20, 2023. The Postal Service was hoping to attract candidates in an effort to fill open staff positions at the Steamboat Springs Post Office.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Veronica Gallegos, manager of human resources in Colorado for the U.S. Postal Service, was on hand Thursday, April 20, at the Steamboat Springs Post Office welcoming applicants she hopes will find careers in Steamboat Springs.

“I’d really like to see a higher turnout, but we still have some hope,” Gallegos said, as she waited for more applicants after noon on Thursday. “We’re here until 2 o’clock.”

At the halfway point of the Postal Service job fair, the second held in Steamboat Springs this year, four candidates had completed applications for the local post office.

The fair was part of an effort by the Postal Service to target communities at eight post offices including Buena Vista, Crested Butte, Dillon, Edwards, Vail, Durango, Golden and Steamboat Springs. These are post offices that have struggled to maintain full staffs, resulting in customer service and delivery issues.

“If we can ramp this office up to where it needs to be, then we wouldn’t have and shouldn’t run into those issues,” Gallegos said of the Steamboat Springs office, which faced a number of issues in December 2022 and January and February of this year. “Even if there’s an illness, we should still be able to be more self-sustaining.”

Like many other mountain communities, Gallegos said Steamboat Springs faces several issues when it comes to finding new hires.

“We are actually always trying to keep every office as close to cap as possible,” Gallegos said. “We have a lot of challenges in places like Steamboat Springs in terms of cost of living, as it is viewed as more of a resort town. It’s not really a friendly place if you want to put down roots and buy a home unless you have a very high income, and the reality of it is that we don’t provide that kind of an income — we’re more of a federal benefits kind of thing, and a steady salary.”

To be fully staffed, she said, the Steamboat Post Office would need seven employees. The office currently has four, but Gallegos said there is help on the horizon.

“With what we have in the pipeline working through the application process, or the hiring process, we should see two more people come on here within the next two to three weeks,” Gallegos said.

The hiring process at the Postal Service is lengthy. Those who applied Thursday have taken the first step in a process that can take weeks or months, Gallegos said. Those applicants will be assessed to gauge customer service abilities and will undergo background checks and drug screenings. Gallegos, however, believes that the post-pandemic hiring climate has started to shift in the last few months, and she maintains her optimism.

“We’ve had some pretty viable applicants that really want to work here,” Gallegos said. “We had an event in Buena Vista at the end of February and you can kind of see the tides are turning, and people are more interested in getting back out into the workforce.”

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