FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – More than 100 people interacted with 23 employers and eight support organizations during the Open Air Hiring Fair May 6 at the Spouse Employment center.
A diverse variety of employers such as Amazon, the Nia Association, Old Glory Distillery and Oak Grove Gaming participated. Different facets of City of Clarksville including Parks and Recreation, human resources and the Clarksville Police Department also engaged with jobseekers.
Holly Nusom, employment services counselor with the Spouse Employment Center, said this hiring fair was larger than previous ones. She said this event was particularly beneficial to military spouses, not just because of the number of employers present, but because the Spouse Employment Center staff dedicated their time and effort to advocate on their behalf with employers.
Being a military spouse herself, Nusom understands the difficulty in finding a job after relocating. She can relate to spouses who might struggle with employment after moving to a new installation, a challenge she believes employers at the event understood.
“I think our messaging has always been that spouses many times have education, they have the experience, it’s kind of varied, they have the skill sets, they just want the opportunity,” Nusom said. “They may only be here for a little bit of time, but they’re going to make such a big impact that it’s going to be worth it to have them for a couple years.”
While getting their foot in the door might be hard at first because of potential gaps in resumes or what employers may see as jumping from job to job because of the constant change of station, once spouses get the opportunity to work this could lead them to stay in the area, Nusom said.
Colonel Jeremy D. Bell, Fort Campbell garrison commander, echoed Nusom on the importance of maintaining an ongoing process of education for the employer side of the relationship as well as for Soldiers and their spouses whether they are living on post or preparing to transition into civilian life.
Bell said the strong role surrounding communities have taken in the process of assisting Soldiers and their Families is what makes the employment services offered at Fort Campbell unique.
“What I like about this event is we’re having more involvement from the community and for me as garrison commander, one of the things that I talk very strongly about at Fort Campbell is the linkage between us and the community is different than any other place I have ever been in the Army,” he said.
That strong community relationship combined with great training, employment and educational opportunities is what Bell thinks will help motivate Soldiers and their Families to keep their talent in the region even after they transition out of the Army.
Kim Leipheimer, a military spouse and Fort Campbell Exchange recruiting manager, was excited to contribute her support to the military community through employment opportunities.
“We’re about 87% military-connected here at Fort Campbell Exchange,” Leipheimer said. That represents a little more than 480 employees of the 560 staff at the Fort Campbell Exchange. Though the focus of the event was spouse employment, all were welcome to attend.
Private First Class Caleb Chittenden, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), came looking for a specific type of job and didn’t leave disappointed.
“I’m trying to transfer over into the civilian lifestyle as a law enforcement officer or as a firefighter, and I came down here and found the answers to the two questions that I was looking for,” Chittenden said.
He filled out an application and left the fair with an interview scheduled next month.
Sapphire Thal, an Army spouse who has been in the Fort Campbell area for several years, said she was pleased after attending the event.
Thal came to the event with an open mind, and by the time she was ready to leave she expressed interest in applying with the Fort Campbell Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and Fortera Credit Union. She hopes there will be more events like this in the future, and strongly recommends more spouses attend events like this if they’re looking for employment.