FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- In today's competitive job market, the importance of education can't be understated, and the Fort Rucker Education Center is making sure Soldiers and families know what is available to them on post.

The center hosted its Spring Fling education fair April 26 where more than 20 educational institutions were on hand to meet and greet with prospective students, and answer any questions people might have.

"Education fairs are just a chance for community members to come out and talk to other institutions that are here to find out what they may offer them," said Randy McNally, education center supervisory education specialist. "One of the benefits of education is that it's evidence that an individual can complete long-term commitment, and we want Soldiers to go out there, got to school and continuingly be here so we can support them through their long-term commitments."

For many who attended the fair, it was an opportunity to explore options and ask questions from various institutions that better allowed them to make decisions when it came to education prospects.

For Pvt. Ahyasha Bolden, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, who hopes to go into nursing, the fair provided her the opportunity to inquire about different paths to reach her goal.

"I just wanted to branch out and look at different schools and options, so this was the best thing for me to be able to come out and look while I'm in the military," she said. "Having all of this out here is a good way for everyone out here on post to get to interact with different (institutions) and get an idea of where they might want to go with their education and see where they are."

The fair was also a great opportunity for those who might not be sure where they want to focus their studies, like Sgt. Chris Ivy, 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt., who hasn't decided on a major, but wanted to come out to explore his options.

"I'm just out here trying to gauge what I might be interested in," he said. "Continuing education is always must, because if you want to survive in this world, then you've got to be able to compete, and in order to compete, you've got to get an education."

That upper hand is exactly what McNally said the center hopes to be able to provide Soldiers and families on the installation.

"We want to move people forward, hopefully as early as possible in their military career," he said. "Regardless of when they plan on getting out, they need to start today."