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Working Iowa: United States Postal Service in need of more carriers in Cedar Rapids area

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 6:01 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Michaela Wanek has been with the United States Postal Service for about 10 years now in Cedar Rapids. Lately, she’s been busy, putting thousands of steps in every day.

“We have been working extreme, long hours,” she said. “I’m probably at like 9 to 10 miles at work per day. We are shorthanded and we do need people.”

The Post Office says its biggest need is to hire more carriers, like Michaela.

“We come in, in the morning and we case our mail, we load up our trucks and from there, depending on if you’re a city carrier or a rural carrier, there are a variety of different delivery points that we do for a day,” she said.

City carriers usually deliver in the downtown area and the residential areas within Cedar Rapids. Rural carriers work on the weekends, delivering Amazon packages.

Certainly, the pandemic has created a need to hire more people. But there’s another reason.

“Our workforce is aging,” said Andrea Havig, the Human Resources Generalist for the Hawkeye District of the postal service. “A lot of our carriers are 55 and up and eligible to retire. The probability and the timeline to get into a career-level job with full-time benefits and retirement are as good as they’ve ever been.”

Havig says the rural carrier position is ideal for someone who might be looking for a second job, and carriers come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

“We’ve got people who are teachers with certificates, we’ve got people with Masters degrees, we’ve got scientists,” she said.

In fact, Havig actually has a biology degree.

“I actually worked in microbiology in molecular genetics,” she said. “But you know what? The postal service offers great benefits and the package they offered just couldn’t be beat.”

Havig says the post office is also hiring rural carrier associates in addition to postal support employees, commonly known as clerks.

“We have openings for the processing plant which is more of a factory-type setting where we have clerks employed,” Havig said. “We also do have some customer services branches at the stations, that would be handling more of the direct customer service.”

Part of the application process is a virtual entry assessment which varies by job opening. These assessments reflect learning personalities found in the private sector. Havig says it’s not just about common knowledge.

“So if we were hiring for a city carrier, that person needs to demonstrate a trait of resilience,” Havig said. “That job is different every day, that mail volume is different, the weather is different, and they could be carrying any number of different routes or parts of multiple routes every day.

Michaela Wanek says the job can be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from considering a career. A good work ethic can help.

“Everything that we do is trainable,” she said. “I think it’s just about having the ambition to get out every day and everything becomes muscle memory, your body just goes.”

Click or tap here to learn more about career opportunities with the United States Postal Service.

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