FORT POLK, La. — Employment opportunities are important to military Families. The bottom line on the bank statement affects quality of life and a job can be the difference between just making ends meet and having a little extra to put away each month. That’s why the hiring event held Aug. 31 at Army Community Service was such a significant gathering for the Fort Polk community.
The event turnout included 93 job seekers and 15 employers and was
open to anyone looking for a job, but many of those in attendance were spouses.
Stacey Delgado, Army Community Service Employment Readiness Program manager, said she tries to help people connect with the job they want. She steered one spouse toward the Acadian Ambulance company.
“They have a new program for military spouses to train as an emergency medical technician. She was excited about the program and what they had to offer,” Delgado said. “Many employers at the hiring event talked with those looking for employment or to volunteer.”
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service talked to 45 people about jobs, 25 people interviewed for open positions at Fort Polk’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and at least two people submitted applications for the Sulphur Police Department.
“Networking at a hiring event like this can open many more doors than just seeking employment online,” Delgado said.
Julia Nielsen, AAFES recruiting manager, said AAFES likes helping military Families with employment opportunities because it’s a win-win situation, especially for spouses.
“We get good employees and members of the Fort Polk community get a good job,” Nielsen said. “This is the kind of event that brings the community together.”
An additional benefit of working for AAFES includes the ability to stay with the organization when a military Family has to move due to a permanent change of station.
“They can pick up their employment with AAFES at their next duty station,” Nielsen said. “They don’t have to start from scratch. I think that’s a great benefit.”
Hiring events like this allow candidates to meet potential employees face to face and engage in one-on-one conversations.
Stacey McLean, American Red Cross of Louisiana interim program manager, manned a table at the event.
McLean said this is a situation in which Fort Polk Families have the opportunity to interact with several organizations in a central location, making it easier to navigate network and put a face to a name.
“Spouses were able to be transparent, ask questions and inquire about various organizations at the event,” McLean said. “As for the American Red Cross, there were 25 candidates who signed up to volunteer. Many people also inquired about gaining work experience through one of our programs, which in turn, would give them the skills they need to get a job in that field.”
DeLisa Ponder, military spouse, attended the event to look for a job. She and her husband, Staff Sgt. Jermaine Ponder, 41st Transportation Company, are new to Fort Polk.
“This hiring event is convenient. We appreciate it so much. We just got here it’s amazing to have this kind of help available to us,” DeLisa Ponder said. “I’m impressed because at other locations we haven’t had this kind of hands on help. It’s so nice not to have to do this on my own.”
Gavin Williams, military dependent, said the hiring event was helpful.
“It’s a great opportunity for myself and others to find a position,” Williams said. “It’s nice to have all the employers in one location.”
Barksdale Credit Union manager Tricia Turner said her organization is committed to the Fort Polk community.
“We are aware of the need to employ spouses. We keep that in mind when we hire,” Turner said. “Military spouses come with a lot of experience and we understand they are beneficial to the growth of our organization.”
Delgado said people have to realize there are job opportunities available on the installation, as well as in the surrounding community.
“We support each other, and having our area communities work with us on employing members of the Fort Polk Community is awesome,” Delgado said. “Spouses attending the event were excited about the career choices available, including opportunities that can move with them when they leave Fort Polk and organizations, such as the Red Cross, that offer programs which allow spouses to gain skills in a career field free of charge.”
For more information call the Employment Readiness Program at (337) 531-6922.