CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- The SHAPE Club was bustling as community members walked in the doors for more than just a lunchtime break. The Benelux Employment, Volunteer and Career Expo was held Sept. 6 at the popular community spot as job recruiters and organization representatives were available to speak to attendees about job, volunteer or education opportunities in the Benelux.
The expo was a time for community members to have face time with organization representatives who are looking for potential job candidates. There were also other services to help candidates with finding jobs such as one-on-one résumé reviews and critiques.
A new addition to this year's event was on-the-spot hirings. Child and Youth Services employees were on-site to accept applications, interview candidates and begin processes such as background checks.
Shawn Ticho, CYS chief for U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, spoke to the crowd during the opening ceremony. Ticho narrated his journey from starting his career as an 18-year-old CYS recreation specialist at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, to becoming a leader.
"One of things that my staff get to do is make a difference in kids' lives every day. We strive to make sure it's a positive difference in a child's life," he said.
After working in CYS for 20 years, Ticho reflected on the organization's opportunities for career growth.
"A career with CYS has provided me a number of rewarding experiences that I wouldn't change for the world," he said.
"CYS is built so we are promoting from within. Wherever you go [in the Army], there is a job in CYS and we help our employees find jobs at their next duty station."
MORE THAN A JOB FAIR
In addition to helping attendees find jobs, Randy Stephenson, Employment Readiness Program manager for USAG Benelux, wanted people to also consider other developmental opportunities such as volunteering and education as well as resources for service members who plan to transition
out of the military in the near future.
One organization in attendance was the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Andrea Waugh-Caldwell, VA benefits advisor, met with active-duty service members and veterans who wanted to learn more about their benefits.
"Our sole purpose is for outreach. We assist military personnel who are transitioning out. We also assist veterans who decided to live abroad with compensation, housing and educational benefits," she said.
"I tell people to know their benefits and go to VA.gov. As a veteran, it can be scary to transition from military to civilian life, but you can do that if you are informed."
According to Stephenson, the employment, volunteer and career expos are planned to be held annually at each USAG Benelux location. The next event is scheduled to be held in January in Schinnen.
Stephenson added that employment readiness services are offered year-round. Throughout the year, classes are taught by Army Community Service staff and projected VTC to all communities.
Stephenson also does one-on-one sessions at his office on SHAPE Bldg. 318.
"If they did not find the type of employment they want at this event, they can still come see me, and I can connect them with other employers who weren't in attendance today," he said.
Visit https://chievres.armymwr.com/programs/acs for more information about ACS's Employment Readiness Program.