FORT KNOX, Ky. – Leadership from the Fort Knox and Garrison command teams toured the recently opened military spouse co-work space on post and met with spouses using the facility to get feedback.
“It’s worked out really well,” said Jessica Hall, an Army spouse who said she long desired a shared place where fellow spouses could work free of distractions and outside of the home.
Prior to this opportunity, Hall said several Fort Knox military spouses went off post or used Barr Memorial Library. “Then, when we saw this was happening everybody reached out [on social media],” she said. “We’ve been coming here for six weeks; some of us come weekly to use the space.”
Maj. Gen. John Evans Jr., U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox commanding general, engaged the spouses to learn what about the spouse optimization program is helpful and could be improved.
Hall brought up a specific need that she and other spouses discovered early on.
“We talked about an extra monitor if you wanted a double screen, having those available to sign out,” she said. The desire to have printers was also discussed.
Listening to the recommendations, Evans responded positively: “Those are things we can get after.”
Another spouse proposed promoting the workspace at the monthly Fort Knox newcomer briefings.
“Let’s do that,” he said. “We don’t get as many spouses at those as I would like, but I think [we will] hopefully as we come out of COVID and vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks.”
A concern brought to Evans’ attention was whether the current configuration may soon be outgrown because of the co-work space’s growing popularity. However, Evans said there’s additional capacity on post to support a larger footprint as the need arises.
For many of the spouses using the co-work space, they said it’s not only about having a place to work without distractions but also a place they can simply be together.
“Personally, I like to come here to socialize,” said Olga Hansen. “It would be nice if there could be one room where we could all gather if we need to. Then if we have meetings where we would need to have privacy, we can go into the single offices.”
Evans welcomed the suggestion since as of now, the layout focuses more on offering private office space.
“That really becomes kind of a physical thing facility-wise, so we can see what we can do to accommodate there,” said Evans. “That’s a good point.”
For those seeking more information about the co-work space, the main point of contact is Summer Carney. In addition to overseeing the shared space, Carney’s position also focuses on career advancement for spouses. She said she recently has been networking with area businesses and has made a promising discovery.
“I’ve met several employers and when I told them who I was and my mission, they [said] ‘We are looking for military spouses,’” said Carney.
Carney said she encourages interested spouses to reach out so she can offer advice, give tours of the space, and answer any questions they may have. The full article about her, along with her contact information can be found HERE.
After viewing the space and hearing what the spouses who use it had to say, Evans said the key now is to continue to shine a light on this resource.
“We were afraid that we would make it and nobody would want to come use it, and I’m glad to see that’s not the case,” said Evans. “I think we just have to make more people aware.”