FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Army spouse Stephanie Bright is looking to kickstart a career in mass communication, and she found plenty of opportunities to get her foot in the door April 27 at the installation’s third annual Open Air Job Fair.
The Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center hosted the free public event, which brought together 60 employers from surrounding communities to network with an estimated 300 jobseekers across the installation.
“It’s fantastic and so convenient that the installation is hosting this,” said Bright, who also serves with the New Mexico National Guard. “I live right down the street, so this is an opportunity I could not pass up.”
“I really appreciate that Fort Campbell makes these opportunities available for spouses, the community and Soldiers who are looking to transition out,” she said.
From staffing agencies and school systems to local law enforcement agencies and retailers, the fair represented employers from a wide variety of career fields.
“The goal is to make sure we’re able to find employment options for our military community, whether it’s transitioning service members, spouses or veterans,” said Geneva Hauser, employment readiness program specialist, Spouse Employment Center. “We’re trying to cover every single industry that we can with this event, and we wanted to provide an opportunity for our community so they could meet employers face to face and bridge that gap.”
Many of those employers were eager to partner with the Spouse Employment Center for the event because of the benefits associated with hiring Soldiers, Families and Department of the Army Civilian Employees.
“We’re always looking for talent that we can bring on with our company,” said Gabe Kelton, systems vice president, Bank of America. “Specifically military talent, because of the attributes that they already possess coming out of the military and going into the job field: discipline, integrity, honor, intelligence, reliability, and dependability.”
Sergeant Clod Silverio, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), hopes to apply his Army experience to a job in information technology after transitioning out of the service.
“Since I’m getting out of the military, I’m trying to see what they have outside,” Silverio said. “They have Amazon here and some other companies with jobs in the IT field, and I’m checking it all out because it’s good to keep your options open. My unit has been really helpful in giving me the time and the opportunity to go to events like this.”
The Open Air Job Fair has helped Soldiers like Silverio find interviews and job placements since its inception as a COVID-19-safe hiring event in 2020. Many of the employers who attended this year, including Christian County Public Schools, have brought on successful candidates as a result.
“This is an excellent opportunity for out district to be able to partner with Fort Campbell for the possibility of recruiting employees,” said Beverly Fort, teacher recruiter, Christian County Public Schools. “We’re looking for people that are all in, and you always get that from the military.”
Hauser said the event was a success for both jobseekers and employers, noting that many attendees were able to schedule interviews while onsite.
“There were so many different industries, and people really enjoyed that,” she said. “I had a lot of emails from employers who were able to fill up their entire contact sheet with candidates to follow up with, and overall, it was a great turnout. We’re really happy that everyone was able to attend.”