Park Service seeks local, Alaska Native applicants for top jobs

Jun 21, 2016

Superintendent positions are open in King Salmon and Kotzebue, and the National Park Service's Alaska Native liaison is encouraging locals to apply. 

Bear watching at Brooks Camp, Katmai National Park & Preserve.
Credit Wood/NPS

The National Park Service has two top-level jobs open in Alaska right now. Katmai National Park and Preserve out of King Salmon is hiring for a superintendent, and so is Western Arctic National Parklands out of Kotzebue. The federal agency is pushing for more Alaska Natives and locals to apply for these and other Park Service jobs.

When Adrienne Fleek joined the National Park Service as the Alaska Native Affairs Liaison about a year ago, she and some colleagues decided to take a hard look at the demographics of who works at the Park Service.

“So we gathered some statistics. 20% of Alaska is Alaska Native or American Indian, but here at the Park Service we only employ about 4% of that group," said Fleek. "So we’re very underrepresented.”

Fleek says the higher-ups within the Park Service are recognizing the value in hiring homegrown land managers, rather than people from outside the state. 

That’s due in part, she says, to people like Jeanette Koelsch, a Nome Native who a few years ago became superintendent of the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Fleek says Koelsch’s familial and cultural ties in the region allowed her to become more effective, more quickly.  

“People understand they can trust her. And she also understands that the tribes and the community have that government-to-government relationship," explains Fleek. "I’ve seen that she’s been able to do a high level of consultation on any land management issue. So it’s a really big success story of getting that local involvement.”

Fleek hopes that high-level employees like Koelsch will, in turn, inspire more locals and Alaska Natives to apply to jobs at all levels of the Park Service.  

But she realizes there are many barriers, including an application with job requirements that might seem intimidating.

Fleek's advice to local applicants? Don't be afraid to have multiple pages in your resume, and brag about any and all experience that shows your management abilities.

“If you didn’t have the exact experience they’re describing, you might have had something similar. Like, maybe you haven’t done law enforcement planning, but you’ve done subsistence resource planning, some very similar efforts," Fleek suggests, "so go ahead and put that into your comprehensive resume. It’s very different than the private sector, where you’re supposed to be brief with a one-page resume. In the federal government, it’s supposed to be as comprehensive as possible.”

The deadline to apply for the head positions at Katmai and Western Arctic is Thursday, June 23rd. You can find those applications by searching Alaska at usajobs.gov.