Program helps military spouses join workforce
March 12, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - An Army Community Service program gives military spouses the resources they need to launch a government career.
The Employment Readiness Program offers a variety of tools and a job search orientation class to help spouses seek jobs as Department of Defense civilian employees, said Joshua Gannaway, the program's assistant manager.
The orientation covers the intricacies of effective resume writing and applying for a job through the Civilian Personnel On-Line Web site: http://cpol.army.mil. People who attend the orientation also get a CD with resume pointers and tips on navigating the CPOL Web site, Gannaway said.
The Employment Readiness staff offers a lab with six computers for spouses to work on their resumes and also offers appointments for resume review. If no appointments are scheduled, the staff is often able to help those using the lab by doing on-the-spot resume reviews and assisting in uploading the resume on the CPOL site, he said.
In many cases, Gannaway said, military spouses are more satisfied if they are able to find a job, and that helps Soldiers focus on their mission.
"One of the things that we found is ... the military member is a lot more satisfied knowing that the homefront is satisfied. They focus on their jobs a lot better."
While the orientation is focused on job seeking within the government system, the same resume can also be posted to civilian job search Web sites, Gannaway said.
"(Many) companies in Colorado do not offer the walk-in resume handing off anymore. They are going to tell you to go their Web site," he said. "The best thing to do is to have a resume prepared instead of trying to create an impromptu resume.
"Most people who create an impromptu resume ... are going to leave out some of those very, very valuable points ... that are required for those positions. You may be the most qualified person for that job, but if your resume is not reflective (of that), you will not" get the job.
The overall goal, Gannaway said, is to help spouses begin a career that ultimately helps them find jobs whenever their Soldiers are reassigned.
"They don't have to quit their job after three years," he said. "They can go on leave without pay (status). At their gaining installation, they take that leave without pay form and the other required documents ... and report to civilian personnel. That will give them the priority placement."
That was a big draw to the orientation for Jolene Atwood, a Family member who attended the orientation March 2.
"You relocate so often that sometimes it is such a process to pick up your whole life and start a new job," she said. "If they give you somewhere to start, you won't feel so overwhelmed. You have someone to go to" at the new installation.
The class was helpful in that it walked attendees through the process of applying and explained that - even without holding a paying job - the spouses had learned skills at home and through volunteering that could go on their resumes, Atwood said.
"I've been a stay-at-home mom for a lot of years. When (Gannaway) broke it down as to how to include that in your resume - you can (show that) you have skills for a variety of jobs. It was helpful."