As many U.S. numismatists know, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was one of the first government agencies to hire large numbers of
women to work on its production lines. I don't know the history of female employees at the U.S. Mint, but a press release this week
highlights the department's latest recruiting efforts. Here's an excerpt. It's a collaborative piece written by Rhett Jeppson
(Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint) and Elisa Basnight (Director of the Center for Women Veterans at the Veteran
Mint’s circulating coin production levels over the past several months had increased dramatically due to an improved economy. The Mint was
receiving orders for circulating coins from the Federal Reserve (Fed) at levels approaching those not seen since before the recession in
2006. In fact, the orders were so significant that the Mint’s leadership realized that it needed to add another shift at its Denver and
Philadelphia facilities to meet the demand from the Fed. Both Denver and Philadelphia had been operating with two shifts.
Going to three shifts, however, was going to require hiring additional people—quality, committed, disciplined and dedicated people. And
what a better and more deserving force to offer employment opportunities to than our veterans? After all, the qualities the Mint was
looking for are those that our veterans embody. So it was like a match made in heaven. Clearly, the Mint had a mission critical need to
make coins in order to fulfill its orders from the Fed. Coins are an absolute necessity to sustain the economic fabric of our nation. At
the same time, the partnership was providing some outstanding paths to sustainable careers to a very deserving cadre.
The Mint committed to holding two career fairs—one in Denver and the other in Philadelphia. Although open to the public, the fairs
focused on veterans with a special outreach effort to women veterans. The positions that needed to be filled included metal forming machine
operators; coin manufacturers; tool and parts attendants; and materials handlers.
The first career fair was conducted in late May in Philadelphia. Of the 41 people who attended, 20 were veterans. Seven were selected to
be interviewed and all seven were offered positions. Four were women. In early June, the second fair was held in Denver where 42
individuals attended—38 of which were veterans. Nine veterans were interviewed and eight were offered positions. Seven of the eight were
women. Prior to the career fairs, the Center for Women Veterans alerted VA’s Homeless Office to ensure that veterans who are homeless or at
risk of being homeless were made aware of the events and able to participate.
We considered both career fairs extremely successful and couldn’t have been more pleased. The events said “thanks” to our veterans in a
subtle but still very substantive way.
So... who were the earliest female U.S. Mint employees? Anyone know? Answer from the U.S. Mint Historian next week. -Editor
For more U.S. Mint information, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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