FORT POLK, La. — The first in-person Military Spouse Employment Fair since the pandemic began took place March 24 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Fort Polk’s Youth Gym. It was a different look compared to past fairs that were packed with employers and large numbers of potential employees. Due to an abundance of caution and COVID-19 requirements such as social distancing and a mask mandate, the fair had more manageable numbers when it came to both employers and attendance numbers.
Stacey Delgado, Fort Polk’s Employment Readiness Program manager, said though the numbers were smaller, she felt the event was a success.
“It has been a positive turnout. There are a nice amount of spouses coming through the doors and the chain of command has been supportive of the event,” she said. “We have employers hiring military spouses on the spot and that’s a great thing.”
Carrie Rohloff, a military spouse, said she thought the COVID-19 precautions were a good thing.
“I think the event has been well done considering the circumstances,” she said.
Rohloff said she attended the employment fair because she was done trying to be a stay-at-home spouse.
“I have to be doing something. I want to be productive and have a purpose,” she said.
Rohloff said many of the jobs she has held in the past have been in the retail sector, but she is open to trying something new.
“I like the exposure I’m getting to different employers at the employment fair. This event is giving me a chance to see what jobs are available,” she said.
Lori Clouse, Fort Polk branch manager of Barksdale Federal Credit Union, said the employment fair gave Barksdale visibility as a potential empoyer.
“Often, people are surprised that we have a branch on post,” she said.
Clouse said many of the spouses she talks to bring experience to the table, but even if they don’t, it’s not a problem.
“We can help train them. It’s a chance for them to get a foot in the door and take those skills with them when they leave Fort Polk. We like to do our part to support spouses,” she said.
Also attending the event, Juwell Pope, an Army spouse, said she liked what she saw at the employment fair.
“I’ve been at Fort Polk for about a month and this is a great opportunity for spouses coming from other posts,” she said.
Pope said the people at the employment fair were welcoming and friendly.
“I was impressed with the potential for advancement, income and their flexibility,” she said. “I think the fair offers a good variety of employers and job opportunities.”
Ashley Rachal, a Lowe’s scheduling and staffing administrative employee, said Lowe’s participated in the employment fair because Fort Polk is an important part of the Leesville community.
“We are here to support Fort Polk spouses because they deserve an opportunity to get a job when they need one,” she said.
Julia Nielsen, Fort Polk Exchange employer recruiting assistant, said the spouse employment fair was a wonderful event and a great way to support the Fort Polk community.
“We have had quite a few spouses stop by to talk to us about possible employment,” she said. “It’s about our family supporting their Family.”