NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- More than 100 state employees at Camp Robinson will be out of a job within the next 12 months.
These employees are all civilian jobs associated with a federal education program. About 200 state employees currently work for the National Guard Professional Education Center. Now, because of a law change, more than half will be contracted out by the federal government and force state jobs to diminish.
"The 117 positions that are affected are the service oriented positions...That includes house keepers, desk clerks, bus drivers those that are doing day to day operations that support the federal side of this facility," says Major Chris Heathscott, with the Arkansas National Guard.
The Professional Education Center is a tenant at Camp Robinson, but is not part of the Arkansas National Guard. The federal program trains around 25,000 military personnel every year and employs nearly 500, 200 of which come from the state. In 2010 Guard Command found a glitch in the process.
"The functions that we're using these state employees for... this federal operation is not authorized, or no longer authorized," says Heathscott.
Meaning 117 state employees will be let go by next October.
"This has nothing to do with politics; this has nothing to do with budget cuts. It's per the legal determination made by the National Guard Bureau in reference to regulations that cover these facilities," says Heathscott.
Now the federal government will contract out the jobs and the program will continue at Camp Robinson.
"The economy as a whole won't be affected because the positions that are going away will actually be replaced by new positions just funded in a different manner," says Heathscott.
Major Heathscott says there is a chance the federal government could retain some of these employees, but they have no obligation to do that during the contract bid process.
The National Guard will give severance pay to those who have worked for more than a year. Employees who've worked there one to five years will get $800, six to 15 years $1200 and employees with 16 or more years of service will get $1600.
Here's a helpful link to search for jobs: http://arkansas.jobing.com/search_results.asp?q=desk%20clerk
Arkansas unemployment was measured at 7.3 percent in August: http://on.kthv.com/Tshx3x