FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – The Spouse Employment Center, or SEC, is committed to assisting inbound and outbound military spouses meet their employment needs before or after a permanent change of station, or PCS, said Geneva Hauser, employment readiness program specialist.
When a PCS is imminent, military spouses may find they need to make plans to change jobs. This can be frustrating, especially if there is little information about what the gaining installation has to offer, Hauser said.
SEC works with outbound military spouses to remedy this challenge helping them with resume preparation and research for what is available at the new location.
“We make a point to establish the client’s needs as they are inbound to Fort Campbell, and when they are outbound, we put them in contact with an employment readiness program coordinator in their new location,” Hauser said. “Many spouses are very proactive in researching the next installation and surrounding areas where they will be relocating.”
Military spouses who will be leaving the area should begin their research on the Military OneSource website, Hauser said. All information about every installation can be found there.
Patrice Hamilton, education services counselor, said another way SEC helps military spouses prepare for a PCS is to assist them in researching certification requirements at the new location.
“If a spouse has a license or certification, knowing how to continue to use their credential is important,” Hamilton said. “Therefore, we also share information on how to search for state requirements and the process for reimbursement if there is a cost.”
Inbound military spouses
Spouses who are just arriving at the installation can find a wealth of services at SEC, Hauser said. Helping them find a new job is just one of them.
“The Spouse Employment Center provides services for spouses before they arrive to Fort Campbell by communicating through email and phone conversations about employment needs,” she said. “We are able to assist with resumes and provide local employers who are hiring. We supply resources for credentialing assistance and information for funding education as well.”
SEC offers a variety of classes for both inbound and outbound military spouses to assist them in preparing for life at a new installation.
“The spouses who are currently going through a PCS are offered a variety of classes including Resume Essentials, Marketing Me, LinkedIn, Federal Resume Workshop, The Spouse Entrepreneurship, and Job Search Strategies,” Hauser said.
Class dates can be found on the SEC Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/SpouseEmploymentFortCampbell. For anyone wanting to reserve a class spot or for questions, call SEC at 270-412-1720.
Military Spouse Preference
Abrell Jones, employment readiness program manager, said one way SEC helps spouses moving to a new installation is by using the Military Spouse Preference Program, or MSP, formerly known as the Priority Placement Program, or PPP.
MSP is a special federal hiring authority that allows spouses to be noncompetitively considered for federal positions.
“To exercise your MSP eligibility under the streamlined process, simply complete and include the military spouse self-certification list, along with all other required documentation such as PCS orders and marriage license, when applying to vacancy announcements via USAJobs,” Jones said.
The new system has been simplified to make the process of using the system easier.
“You will no longer be required to report to a human resources office upon relocation to the commuting area of your military sponsor’s new duty station to register or be restricted to five occupations due to system limitations,” she said. “You will simply exercise your priority placement status as an MSP eligible by applying for position vacancies of your choice.”
Hauser said spouses who are most successful at navigating a PCS are those who are prepared and take the time to learn about their options and bolster their professional image.
Taking classes to learn how to use LinkedIn, tailoring resumes to specific jobs, practicing for job interviews, and using the resources available are all keys to securing a job, she said.
“This center is intended to take away the frustration of looking for work and provide real time solutions from resumes to potential employers,” Hauser said. “Come by and visit our center to get assistance before you start applying for positions and allow our counselors to provide guidance.”
If a spouse is not ready to pursue a job or employment isn’t what they are interested in, there are other ways to prepare for when that time arrives, Hamilton said.
Time between jobs can be used for higher education or earning additional qualifications and credentials, or volunteering to add skills to a resume.
“If a spouse is not immediately looking to go to work, knowing what resources are available and preparation is going to be key to success,” Hamilton said.
SEC is a guide to help inbound or outbound military spouses decide what path they want to take professionally, Hauser said, and taking advantage of their free services can help them go a long way.
“The Spouse Employment Center is here to be a resource as spouses are trying to find employment opportunities,” she said. “Spouses are able to contact our center and get resumes reviewed, practice interview techniques, receive career coaching, gain connections to employers, and can even attend workshops to enhance their abilities in searching for positions.”