FORT KNOX, Ky. – Army Community Services has welcomed a new face to its staff, and she’s bringing a rare combination of both life and career experience with her.
Summer Carney began working at Fort Knox’s Graham Hall in March. In May, she said she already has her sights set high for the spouse optimization program:
“What I would like to see is for ours to become the standard, not just for the Army, but DoD-wide.”
Carney’s credentials showcase how she is the right person for the job. With a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and a master’s in human development and leadership, Carney has also previously worked for the Department of Defense in family readiness and the federal government helping Soldiers facing legal hardships.
It’s not only her education and job experience which make her distinctively qualified, however.
“I come from a military family,” said Carney. “My mom was active duty, my grandfather retired active duty, I went to basic training with an aunt, and my mom and I were even in the same unit at Fort Campbell.”
She also had one other experience that contributes to her unique qualifications: “I’ve been a military spouse.”
Because of her previous career path and her deep personal connections to the military, Carney said she instantly gravitated toward the position.
“I always liked working with Soldiers [and Families],” Carney said. “Just working in this environment feels like home to me.”
While part of Carney’s job includes managing the Spouse shared workspace, she said her services expand much further. She is also the specialist that provides employment assistance.
“I am the point of contact for military Spouses who are in need of references, resources and referrals for employment information,” Carney said. “There are so many untapped and unused resources.”
According to Carney, there’s a great deal of information many Spouses either may not know about, or which they are unsure how or where to find. She explained she is the one to help.
“I believe knowledge is power,” said Carney, “so if I can be in a position to help and share the knowledge I’ve gained with other people, hopefully I can make it better for the next person.
“I want to see everybody succeed.”
Carney encourages interested Spouses to reach out to her about any of the services she provides, and said she wants them to know she’s eager to help.
“I try to give people the same type of service I would want.”
Additionally, Carney said she’s networking with local businesses in hopes they will be inspired to employ Spouses.
“Military Spouses play an integral role in the economy,” said Carney. “They can bring a plethora of experience and knowledge.”
When the pandemic caused many job positions to become remote, Carney said it was especially beneficial to Spouses who may have had to move quickly when their Soldier received orders. It also opened the door for the opportunity to use shared workspaces while at Fort Knox.
“COVID has allowed a lot of companies to realize that working from home is not a bad thing,” said Carney. “That’s where our shared space comes in, because some of our Spouses who are working from home may need that break for two or three hours without any distractions.”
The next step is finding ways they can improve on it, said Carney.
“It’s one thing to have this beautiful space, and to put into it what we think it should have,” Carney said, “but we need to know what the Spouses would like to see.”
Several Spouses have already begun taking advantage of the shared workspace on post. Carney said the coworking space and her new position really show how Fort Knox is putting Families first.
“This is a token of appreciation to the Spouses,” Carney said. “It’s to say ‘We see you, we acknowledge you, and your service matters.’”
Editor’s note: To reserve the Spouse coworking space or find out more about employment services, contact Summer Carney by phone at 502-624-8068 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.