TSA hiring event draws record turnout in Bloomington, Minn.

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Despite the government shutdown, the TSA's job fair seems to have been a huge success.

423 people turned up at the TSA’s Bloomington offices Saturday to apply for a job where, right now, no one is getting paid. 

The event, which was planned prior to the shutdown in November for the spring break rush, attracted nearly twice as much interest as the last TSA fast track event where federal government employee hopefuls got to apply, test and interview for a conditional offer of employment.

Representatives say the turnout has nothing to do with the government shutdown and everything to do with a strong economy. In fact, applicant Tyler Burns said he applied for the job before the shutdown even happened.

“The shutdown really doesn’t bother me,” he said.

Burns is among hundreds eager to land the federal government job, even though TSA workers have gone four weeks now without pay.

“They’re capitalizing on the aspect of what the mission is about,” said David McMahon, Deputy Federal Security Director for TSA. “The mission is to protect the homeland.”

Fortunately, the number of new employees TSA needs isn't fixed.

“We need at least 40 people, but, again, I need to be able to sustain that number. We do have people that leave our organization all the time; we have people that transfer to other airports across the nation. We got 458 federalized airports nationwide, so we have opportunities for our employees to transfer throughout the system, lose no pay, lose no seniority,” McMahon said.

Which is the kind of assurance applicant Xavier Johnson is looking for.

“$18.75 didn’t sound bad, so I decided to come out this morning,” he said. “I know eventually we’ll get paid.” 

Even if, like Burns, Johnson may have to wait a while for a check.

“You do about a three-to-six-month emergency fund so that when things like this happen you're not in the hole,” Burns said. 

After applicants get a conditional offer of employment, they have to undergo a medical and background check. McMahon said if that goes well, they'll probably be working by the end of the summer.