Kelly Services Incorporated

A primer on landing one of Fort Meade's jobs

Fort Meade's rapid growth in the past few years has made it the state's largest employer, but getting a foot in the door — or, rather, inside the guarded fence line — can be daunting.

Many of the Army installation's 56,000 jobs require a security clearance. And though it's one base, Fort Meade contains 95 employers, including the National Security Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency.

When local officials held an event last week to demystify Fort Meade hiring, 300 people showed up, armed with notebooks and resumes. The crowd was a testament to how complex the hiring process seems from the outside, particularly for job seekers who have never applied...