600-plus attend annual job fair
August 22, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August. 22, 2014) -- More than 600 job hunters descended upon the 11th annual Fort Rucker Area Job Fair Aug. 13 as people were interviewing, sharing resumes and exploring the jobs that the 49 vendors in attendance had to offer at the event in the Ozark Civic Center.
"We have seen every one from Soldiers to Family members to retirees to civilians. Everyone is taking advantage of this great opportunity and I am happy about that," said Alfred Alexander, Soldier for Life contract installation manager. "It is not only about the Soldier, it is also about building community relations."
Alexander said it is important for Soldiers to go to events like the job fair even if they are not getting out of the Army for a year or more because it gives them the experience of what a job search is all about -- how to talk to and meet potential employers, who to hand their resumes to and how to network.
The fair was hosted by the Fort Rucker Soldier for Life Program, Army Community Service and the Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce. Some of the attending companies included the City of Dothan, URS Federal Services, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Personnel Resources, Manpower and Regions Bank.
Large tables were set aside for people to use to fill out applications, and many in attendance appreciated the effort organizers put into the event.
"This is a great way to get your feet wet and practice you're interviewing, because a lot of these vendors are ready to hire you on the spot. You can gain so much just from attending," said Maj. Timothy Mitchell, 1-58th Airfield Operations Battalion, who is planning to retire next year. "Fort Rucker often partners with other communities and we all know it is big on being a part of the overall team. This program goes a long way with communicating the Army's commitment to not only Army Families but the surrounding communities as well."
Mitchell said that he went to last year's job fair as well to ensure he has a job once his retirement day arrives.
"I have found that many of these vendors will pass on your information to other companies that are not here, and that is almost invaluable. I like this job fair because there are many vendors that are looking for people with my skill set, so Soldiers really need to take advantage of it next year," he said.
Mitchell added that he connected with a few representatives that he had spoken to over the phone, and it was great to make that face-to-face connection with potential employers.
"I think this event will help keep my name and my resume at the forefront of their minds, and I am thankful for that," he said.
Mitchell was not the only military member in the crowd looking for civilian employment. Col. Stanley Smith, currently on transition leave from the Army, said that he wanted to try his hand at the job fair because he is "way too young to not have a job."
"I knew dozens of employers would be here in my field, so what better place to look for a job than here?" he said.
Taryn Rose, an Army spouse looking for a human resources job, said the fair was just what she needed after returning from being stationed in Germany for three years.
"I have found that if you're looking for a job in this climate you have to have a lot of patience and do a lot of networking, and I am doing my networking today for sure," she said. "Having an event like this is awesome. I did my research before I came so I am stopping at the booths that I know will be looking for people with my experience. And even though I haven't been offered a job yet, I am closer to getting one now than I was yesterday."