By Ms. Anne Fugate (Grafenwoehr)March 1, 2016
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria hosts a Transition Summit March 7-8 and USAG Rheinland-Pfalz hosts March 10-11.
Organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes Foundation and U.S. Army's Soldier for Life initiative, the event is focused on helping transitioning service members, veterans and their spouses build skills and connections that will lead to meaningful employment.
You should mark your calendars now, whether you're transitioning in the next six months or in several years, said USAG Bavaria's Transition Services Manager, Robert Reed. Here's why.
1. THE TRANSITION SUMMIT IS BRINGING EMPLOYMENT RESOURCES TO OUR DOORSTEP.
There are a lot of advantages to being stationed in Germany--unique training opportunities, travel, travel associated with those unique training opportunities (Lithuania, anyone?). But some things can be harder from overseas, and transitioning from active duty to civilian life is one of them.
The Transition Summit provides overseas transitioners a career fair experience similar to what stateside transitioners can access, Reed said.
"It gives transitioning Soldiers and family members a chance to talk with a number of experts face-to-face about employment, education, training, and veterans benefits," Reed said. "Overseas, we can't take this kind of opportunity for granted."
The two-day event brings together employers and representatives from organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Small Business Administration and Chamber of Commerce.
Currently, about 20 employers are signed up to be on-site during the career fair March 8, including Amazon, Hilton Worldwide, J.B. Hunt Transport, Lufthansa, COMCAST/NBC Universal and CACI International. Another two dozen employers will participate through a virtual employment web portal.
2. HEAR EMPLOYER PERSPECTIVES ON JOB HUNTING.
Especially if you want those employers to hire you.
The first day of the summit includes a town hall-style panel during which employers will talk about job hunting best practices and what they are looking for in applicants. Summit-goers will also be able to talk with employers during a networking event that same day, and during the workshops and career fair on day two.
Employer feedback is invaluable, Reed said, especially if you are new to job hunting outside of the Army.
"The first resume I created when I transitioned looked nothing like the later version that got me a job," Reed said.
"In my case, I had to delete a lot of minutiae, stuff that seemed important when I was active duty but that cluttered up the page. Someone else might have a much tighter resume, but be using language that doesn't communicate to a civilian."
3. IT'S NOT JUST FOR TRANSITIONING SOLDIERS.
The primary audience for the summit is Soldiers who are separating or retiring in the next 12-18 months. However, the summit is also geared to leaders, veterans, and spouses, with panels and workshops focused for each group.
Reed encourages spouses to attend along with their Soldiers.
"It's not just a Soldier's transition, it's a family's transition, which is why it's critical for spouses to be involved," Reed said. "The summit offers spouses a great opportunity to learn about employment and education opportunities they can access now, to network with other career-minded spouses, and to talk with employers."
In fact, Reed encourages all Soldiers and spouses to stop by, even if their transition is several years in the future.
"Everybody transitions at some point. Sometimes that transition is planned, and sometimes the timing is unexpected," Reed said. "Take steps throughout your career to get informed and build connections, so when the time comes, you're prepared."
The USAG Bavaria Transition Summit will be held at the Multipurpose Facility, Bldg. 134 on Rose Barracks. The agenda is as follows:
• 2:30-4 p.m.: Soldier for Life professional development session for commanders, command sergeants major and first sergeants
• 4-5:30 p.m.: Interactive forums and panel discussions for employers, leaders and job seekers
• 5:30-7 p.m.: Networking reception for employers, senior leaders and job seekers
• 9-10 a.m.: Registration
• 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Workshops and panel discussions for job seekers
• 12:30-1:30 p.m.: Lunch
• 1:30-4:30 p.m.: Career Fair
The summit at USAG Rheinland-Pfalz takes place at Armstrong's Club, Bldg. 1036, Vogelweh Housing. The current schedule includes the following:
• 2 p.m.: Soldier for Life leadership professional development session for commanders, command sergeants major and first sergeants
• 3 p.m.: Interactive forums and panel discussion for employers and leaders
• 4:30 p.m.: Networking reception for employers, service members, military spouses and veterans
• 8:30 a.m.: Job seeker registration
• 9:30 a.m.: Workshops and panel discussions for job seekers
• 12:15 p.m.: Lunch
• 1 p.m.: Career readiness fair
To register for the Transition Summit, visit www.hiringourheroes.org. If you have questions about how to prepare for the event, contact the Soldier for Life: Transition Assistance Program at DSN 476-2055, CIV 09662-83-2055.