JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. -- Service members learned about a wide range of programs and services available to help them advance in their career or pursue an education at the Military Career and Education Expo Aug. 12 hosted at the Spates Community Club and Conference Center by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Education Center.
The expo, organized by Army education counselors Lashante Thomas and Tabitha Reid, was the biggest in-person education event held at JBM-HH since the pandemic, according to Thomas. In all, representatives and recruiters from more than 50 schools and programs were on hand to talk to service members about what they had to offer.
“We have warrant officer recruiting, as an example,” said chief of education services Timothy Battle. “We’ve got someone with Troops to Teachers for career opportunities in teaching elementary and secondary school after they leave the service. We also have a whole host of colleges and universities from the community college level up to four-year and master’s degrees.”
This was the first in-person expo since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and Reid said she couldn’t be happier about the turnout.
“We really tried to do a lot of marketing to get the Soldiers over here because of the transition from being virtual to in-person; it definitely was hard trying to get Soldiers when it was virtual,” she said. “We are so happy to see everybody that’s here doing this in-person event and hope we are able to put on a bigger one.”
To kick off the expo, joint base commander Col. David Bowling spoke about the importance of education.
“Education is one of the pillars upon which our country has been so successful,” he said. “As you guys and gals look to continue on with your lives, there’s no better way to do that than getting an education. The older you get, the quicker I think you realize the importance of education, so clearly you all are taking the right steps.”
Among the schools present to talk with service members were: University of Maryland Global Campus, Webster University, Northern Virginia Community College, Army Military University, Troy University and Anne Arundel Community College.
Private First Class Nash Rhoderick, who is interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, said the expo helped broaden his horizons as far as what schools were available that might offer what he was looking for.
“I’ve had leadership recommend schools they’ve attended, but being able to talk to representatives from different schools gives me a different perspective,” he said.
Sergeant Nadia Spigner said being able to attend the expo was extremely helpful.
“I mainly came to speak to the (Army Medical Recruiting, Washington D.C.) Army Medical Department recruiter,” she said. “It’s difficult to get information online, because it’s very broad. So being able to have something like this, you’re able to access specific information.”
Recruiters said they also saw the benefit of the expo and meeting potential recruits face-to-face.
“It’s great because a lot of our programs don’t seem to be very well known, so we’re making an effort to go to installations and get in with (education) centers at the different commands in the area to educate people about the programs we offer,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Warner from AMEDD. “These are great because they’re face-to-face opportunities with service members looking to advance their careers, which is exactly one of the populations we want to get in touch with.”
Representatives from the Transition Assistance Program as well as veterans services were also on hand to speak with transitioning service members and explain how they can ease the process.
Battle said service members who were unable to attend the expo can go to any one of three installation education centers - Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Fort Belvoir or Fort Meade - visit them on social media or call directly.
Although the expo was open to all service members, it was geared more toward Soldiers. Marines are encouraged to visit the Henderson Hall Education Center at Building 29 for assistance, but they can also stop by the JBM-HH Education Center at Building 417.
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