Maha Ahmed, a child care provider, reads a book to Reilly Estevan, 2, at the Child Development Center at Ord Military Community, Nov. 4.
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Quincee Burks, a child care provider, plays with blocks with Catalina Hardy, 18 months, at the Child Development Center at Ord Military Community, Nov. 4.
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Gabriela Lazaro, lead teacher in a toddler room, helps Parker Caroland, 2, with his shoe at the Child Development Center at Ord Military Community, Nov. 4.
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Maria Martinez, a child care provider, feeds an infant at the Child Development Center at Ord Military Community, Nov. 4.
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Taeseo Lee, 17 months, smiles for the camera at the Child Development Center at Ord Military Community, Nov. 4.
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PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Nov. 9, 2021) – The U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey is hiring child care providers and encourages those who enjoy working with children to apply.

The job pays between $16.50 and $23.95 an hour, provides extensive paid training, and nearly assures future employment at Army installations throughout the world, among other benefits. It also presents an opportunity to positively impact the lives of children and support the military community.

Elaine Vrolyks, USAG PoM school liaison officer and acting Child and Youth Services chief, said the job is open to members of the public, and the Army encourages all applicants, but it can be a particularly rewarding job for military spouses because their credentials easily transfer to Army child care facilities worldwide.

The job also provides a lot of room for advancement. Vrolyks, a former military spouse, said she and some of her colleagues at CYS began as child care providers and have enjoyed long careers in the field.

“I started out as a child care provider in Hawaii many years ago and it’s built a career for me,” Vrolyks said. “I’ve been around for 21 years.”

Child care providers at the Child Development Center at Ord Military Community said they enjoy their jobs and encourage others to apply.

Chelsea Sutton, a child youth program assistant at the center and military spouse, said she spent more than 10 years working as a flight attendant, but left when she became a parent, and has found her calling in the nearly two years she has spent as a child care provider.

“I wouldn’t change it,” Sutton said. “Coming to work in a CDC, even my husband has said, ‘I feel like you love this job. All the other jobs after giving up being a flight attendant, they were just 'jobs.' They were 'jobs.' [They weren't] a career.’ He said, ‘I can see you doing this the next place we go and maybe after I retire.’”

In addition to the money, benefits and weekends off, the job is personally rewarding for those who enjoy working with children and helping the community, Sutton said.

“If you enjoy playing with kids and being able to entertain kids and being able to watch their minds work and help them through the rough times, the laughs, making friends [you will enjoy this job],” Sutton said. “I would also say it’s another way to be able to reach your community.”

Jennifer Shark, a lead child care provider in an infant room who has worked at the facility for 19 years, said she participated in a career program at Monterey High School that led to her volunteering in an infant room at the facility as a senior.

“I just liked the whole community vibe that they had here and I applied right after I graduated and I got hired in August,” Shark said.

Shark said she is not a military spouse, but several members of her family have served in the military and she feels a strong connection to the community. The job is also a perfect fit for her because she knew she wanted to work with children, she said.

“It’s always fun helping the kids learn and grow and being there helping new parents learn, because primarily I was in the infant room,” Shark said. “I just love to see the kids progress and I like to help them go through their stages.”

In addition, for those who might find the responsibility of taking care of children intimidating, the training is extensive and helpful, Shark said.

“If you like working with children, if you already have your own children, and you feel like, ‘Oh, I don’t know how to do certain things,’ they’re going to teach you. We’re mandated for the CPR and first aid, communicable diseases. They do all these trainings all year.”

Maria Craig, meanwhile, said she began working as an Army child care provider 23 years ago, and worked for the Navy for five years before switching to the Army. Although she is no longer a military spouse, her husband served in the Army earlier in their marriage.

“I just like playing with the children, nurturing them, doing art with them,” Craig said. “I think it’s a good job because it’s fun to play with the children.”

Craig said she works primarily with the toddlers and they can be really sweet. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, I missed you,’” she said.

For those who believe they might be a good fit, Vrolyks said she encourages potential applicants to visit a child care facility.

“People can come to the center any time we’re open just to do a tour,” Vrolyks said. “We will tour them around so they can see what we do—accompanied of course, people can’t just walk around our facilities. I would encourage them to just come check out and see what we’re doing.”

Candidates can apply using the USAjobs.gov website, searching for “Child and Youth Program Assistant” at the Presidio of Monterey. Applicants must be at least 18 years old or the 17-year-old dependent of a service member or Department of Defense civilian employee and have a high school diploma or GED.

Vrolyks said that after a one-week initial training class, successful candidates complete an 18-month, free training program. Depending on how quickly employees complete the training, they begin receiving part-time benefits that include sick leave, annual leave, retirement and medical within six to nine months.

In addition, child care providers are at the top of the priority list for child care, Vrolyks said.

“Obviously, if our employees have kids and they don’t have child care, they can’t work, and so we do give them priority for child care,” Vrolyks said. “They go straight to the top of our waiting lists.”

Child care providers, however, do not receive a child care discount, Vrolyks said.

According to USAjobs.gov, the Army is offering a $500 recruitment bonus to eligible selectees who complete six months of employment, have completed entry-level training modules and are in good standing.

For more information and help with the application process, call the PoM human resources office for non-appropriated fund jobs at (831) 242-6119.