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March 18, 2020 - Many volunteers often ask our staff if we expand our crews leading up to AirVenture. We certainly do! With AirVenture only being a short four months away, we are starting to focus heavily on AirVenture hiring, as more than 750 workers are needed to help prep our grounds for the largest air show in the world.
Six hundred fifty of these workers are only needed for seven to 10 days, and with low unemployment rates, you can only imagine how challenging it may be to find 650 one-week temporary workers. You might be asking, what do we need all of these people for and what are they tasked with? Well, I'm writing to share a little information on the planning and logistics that are needed to prep for AirVenture from a hiring aspect.
We have several different areas that we staff during the event, all equally important and necessary to help EAA pull off such a big event. These areas are security, retail and grocery, bartending, camper registration, auto parking, facilities, and several summer-long seasonal workers. Strong marketing techniques and word of mouth helps us spread the word that EAA hiring has begun and workers are needed. Many hiring events are scheduled in the spring and early summer months, where hundreds of people come hunting for a job, and many leave the building with a temporary job offer in hand and an experience like no other awaiting.
The biggest area in which we employ is security. We hire about 425 security staff alone. Security holds a vital role leading up to, and during, AirVenture. We have a year-round security team that includes about 35 people; however, 35 people is not nearly enough to provide safety and security throughout the grounds for more than 600,000 guests during AirVenture. All security goes through training before the event, and all are great resources during any emergency or nonemergency situation. Some of the security roles include gate and bag check, and patrol/operations. The most important part of a security team member's role is to provide great customer service to all guests!
Retail and grocery is another area in which we staff several extra people during AirVenture. I'm sure many of you are familiar with our EAA Wearhouse and Red Barn located on the grounds. The Wearhouse is where we sell AirVenture souvenirs like clothing, books, toys, mugs, and much more. The Red Barn is a mini market where we provide common grocery items, a convenient place for campers so they don't have to leave the grounds and navigate traffic. In the retail and grocery area, we hire an extra 100 workers for the week of AirVenture. These individuals do a variety of tasks, including cashiering, stocking, customer service and sales, and more.
Another part of retail and grocery is our summer helpers who are brought in to help prep our Wearhouse with proper inventory. Here, we bring in an extra 20 summer helpers. Tasks might include setup of racks and tables, folding, stocking, pricing, and making sure the Wearhouse is ready to sell more than $3 million in merchandise during AirVenture.
Every large event needs extra bartenders! We staff an extra 70 bartenders who help at a variety of different events held during AirVenture. One of the largest events we hold during AirVenture is called The Gathering, an invitation-only dinner where more than 1,000 guests gather to share The Spirit of Aviation and help raise money for EAA. Our bartenders are always hard at work on the grounds, making sure all of our guests are having a good time and, most importantly, staying hydrated in the hot weather.
One of our hardest-working crews at AirVenture is our facilities/grounds crew, another area that we staff well before AirVenture begins. We begin staffing workers as early as March and through the rest of the summer, and some even work into autumn until snow starts to fall. Our facilities/grounds crew helps set up and take down our AirVenture grounds that will hold more than 600,000 people and 10,000 aircraft. We hire 40 hardworking summer staff and seven driven weekly staff to help maintain facilities during the event. Some tasks our facilities/grounds crew helps EAA with are preparing and setting up tents, buildings, landscaping, and much more.
Camper registration is another key area where we hire extra staff to ensure a smooth operation for all of our arriving guests to Camp Scholler. Our campground can house 60,000 people, and we hire 36 people to help us ensure a smooth check-in process. Tasks include helping campers check in and find their site and giving them the necessary credentials and other helpful information. Camper registration employees work a lot with cash handling and processing other payments, but they also provide great customer service, as they are often the first faces our guests see and interact with when arriving.
One job area at AirVenture that should not be overlooked is auto parking. Could you imagine what our parking lots would look like at AirVenture if we didn't have people guide and direct vehicles into the proper areas? If parking lots aren't running smoothly, major bottleneck would form in traffic flow and slow down everything. Another 34 people are needed in this area to help ensure a safe, quick, and easy parking process for our guests.
The hiring process has already begun and is well underway by March. EAA is very thankful for all of the returners we get each year, and all of the new hires who are interested in helping us run an extraordinary event. Notice I haven't even mentioned our 6,000 volunteers who come to help out at AirVenture and throughout the year. That in itself is a whole extra project and function. Without all of our seasonal and temporary workers, and especially all of our volunteers, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh would not be what it is today. Thank you for all of your hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm! Hiring is a huge project and takes a year's worth of planning, but when AirVenture rolls around, being able to take a step back and see the operation work out as a whole is a great feeling for all of the hiring managers and the human resources team.