By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public AffairsFebruary 8, 2019
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Feb. 8, 2019) -- The Fort Drum Soldier For Life - Transition Assistance Program provided a world of job opportunities for Soldiers, veterans, retirees and family members at the quarterly career fair Feb. 7 on post.
The fair featured dozens of employers - some with local branches and others that span the globe - as well as representatives from veteran services, support organizations and educational institutions.
"This helps Soldiers make connections," said Desmond Jones, SFL-TAP transition services specialist. "We want to help them during their transition to find employment. Whether they decide to stay local or if they are moving out of state, we want them to have opportunities for employment no matter where they go."
Jones said that some people attend career fairs knowing exactly sort of job they are pursuing, but it is equally beneficial to arrive with an open mind.
"The great thing about a career fair is that you can talk to people from companies you've never heard of, and learn about jobs you didn't think you were interested in," Jones said. "There's a lot of small companies that have big opportunities for Soldiers, and you can find that at a career fair."
Jones said that many employers will attend a military career fair because they are looking to hire veterans specifically for what they bring to an organization.
"They are looking for Soldiers who are hard-working, dedicated to the mission and are professional," he said. "That's why they're here - they want that leader, they want someone who can get the job done because that's what they learned in the military."
As a human resources manager for Huhtamaki, a global food packaging operation, Stephen Steiner said that he was interested in meeting Soldiers who have mechanical skills and a great work ethic.
"What's great about this is that they're getting to learn about all the different opportunities there are in this area and in the rest of the country," he said. "I had someone come up to me who plans to go back home to Arizona. Well, we have a facility there. If they decide to stay here, I have a facility that's an hour away in Fulton."
A 20-year veteran who was stationed throughout the U.S. and overseas, Steiner said that he used what resources he could find himself when looking for a job.
"I did all the job searching on my own," he said. "There's a lot more support here than I've ever seen. Doing something like this gives Soldiers a real chance to find employment."
David Dube, tactical recruiter for Constellis, said that a majority of its workforce made up of former military members. As a leading provider of operational support and risk management services to government and commercial clients, Constellis employs more than 21,000 personnel worldwide.
"It's great to be able to come to an event like this and stand in front of Soldiers, shake their hands and speak to them face-to-face," he said.
Dube said that is possible for a Soldier - after a conversation and initial screening - to leave the career fair with a contingent offer letter in hand.
"I've asked the question, 'What do you have lined up?' and a lot of times they don't know yet," he said. "As a veteran myself, it's good to be able to reach out and help them find employment for themselves and their families. And it's best to do it face-to-face."
Dube said Constellis is also working with Fort Drum SFL-TAP to make an internship available for service members.
"That would offer Soldiers who are getting out of service within 180 days to experience our training, have networking and professional development opportunities and, ultimately, it benefits them by giving them some skills and shortening the hiring process if they choose to stay in this field," Dube said. "I had 22 years in the military, and now I'm in the corporate world and things run a little differently. They will have the advantage of getting to see that."
The next SFL-TAP career fair is scheduled May 2. To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/DrumSFLTAP.