By Ms. Jessica Marie Ryan (IMCOM Europe)September 13, 2019
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- Navigating the employment process in a new location can be stressful. To help community members become aware and get resources on local job, volunteer and education opportunities, employers and organizations in U.S. Army Garrison Benelux came together for the Benelux Employment and Career Expo Sept. 5 on SHAPE, Belgium.
The expo, however, was more than exchanging résumés and business cards. Some employers, such as Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Child and Youth Services, interviewed job applicants and gave on-the-spot offers.
"We want the community to understand what different opportunities we [CYS] offer," said Elizabeth Brady, CYS programs operations specialist.
According to Brady, the CYS jobs are diverse as many roles, ranging from caretakers to administrative support, are necessary for the mission. CYS leaders encourage staff members to use their skills and interests, whether it be teaching music or leading a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, for example, to develop more enriching programs and activities for the children and teens.
In addition, CYS jobs are careers. CYS offers training in addition to professional development opportunities such as scholarships for those interested in studying early childhood education.
"What is great about Child and Youth Services is that, within the Army, we promote the theme of 'Stay CYS.' When our employees move [to a new duty station], we have a program that allows them to transfer so they can fill another CYS job," she said.
One applicant was Katherine Garzon Castro, an Army spouse based in Brussels. Castro and her husband attended the Brussels Welcome Expo in late August. After meeting with Randy Stephenson, Employment Readiness Program manager at USAG Benelux, there, they found out the employment expo and how employers were serious about recruiting candidates.
New to the community, Castro and her husband drove to SHAPE. She did an interview with CYS staff and received a job offer.
"The event was very helpful," she said. "If you want to open to new opportunities [in your career], I recommend that you give the expo a try."
YEAR ROUND SERVICES
For those who missed the Benelux Employment and Career Expo, they can still receive employment readiness and volunteer services year round.
Army Community Services' Employment Readiness Program and Volunteer Corps are located in SHAPE Bldg. 318. Services are also available through Army Community Service in the Brussels and Schinnen communities.
For more information about the Employment Readiness Program, please call DSN 314.366.6815 or +32(0)65.32.6815. For more information about the Army Volunteer Corps, please call DSN 314.366.6833 or +32(0)65.32.6833 (Belgium) or DSN 314.360.7451 or +31(0)46.443.7451 (The Netherlands).