By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleJune 7, 2013
Military spouses from Fort Belvoir and the surrounding communities learned about job opportunities with flexible hours from local business representatives, Wednesday during the Army Community Service Center's Employment Readiness Program's Family friendly job fair at the ACS building.
Spouses spoke with representatives from The Major Group, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, The Military Spouse Employment Partnership, Kelly Services and other companies present about jobs that will accommodate their schedules.
A total of 12 companies were present at the hiring fair.
"I love hiring military spouses because they are reliable and have great skills," said Jasmina Balog from Kelly Services. "It's not easy for them to find jobs, and we have jobs that fit their schedules. So, we try to hire as many as we can."
The Employment Readiness Program office organized the fair because most of the job fairs they put together only offer full-time Department of the Army contracting and Federal employment opportunities which is not always possible for military spouses, according to Laureen Dupree, Employment Readiness Program manager.
"I think statistics show that military souses tend to be underemployed for their education level and also for their career intentions. Part of the reason for that is because so many jobs aren't Family friendly," said
Dupree. "Of the 400 people that attended our October job fair, only 100 of them were military spouses. That says that you are not bringing in enough opportunities for them."
Nina Bray, Gerber Village resident, is one of 55 spouses who attended the fair. Bray, who has been at Belvoir for a year left the fair satisfied with the employment options she found.
"I found a few interesting options," said Bray. "One is a house care product you sell from home and the other one is a company that makes sure when you PCS you can still have a job in that company. You also have career advancement options with them."
Other spouses like Rita Winborne, Old Towne Alexandria resident, found they can work as a recruiter of military spouses. Winborne talked with The Major Group about a sales position that would have Winborne recruiting military spouses to take advantage of the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) scholarship.
The MyCAA scholarship provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance from the Department of Defense for military spouses to pursue training, licenses, certificates and degrees in career fields like Medical Office Assistants, Pharmacy Technicians and Electronic Records Specialists.
"I would love to do that because I've never heard of MyCAA until a few minutes ago," said Winborne. "I did not know they have scholarships to get training in specific areas."
Finding a job that keeps Winborne accessible to her two college-age children is also helpful, said Winborne.
"Sometimes they need our assistance to bring them stuff at college," Winborne said. "So, having a job with flexible hours will allow my husband and me to do that."
Having an event like the hiring fair with so many different employment opportunities for the spouses is an opportunity that Bray said she is extremely thankful for.
"The fact they have all these companies willing to send you throughout the world and still be able to work with them is fantastic," said Bray. "I'm very thankful they put this together."
Considering the amount of companies and spouses who came to the job fair, Dupree said it's a sign that she needs to organize another fair that caters to spouses looking for part-time work.
"We had 55 spouses come and that says to me this is exactly what our population is looking at," said Dupree. "I'm thinking maybe the fall for the next one."