Stepping outside of her regular role as an office manager at U.S. Army Europe in Brussels, Belgium, Stephanie Condon took a chance to take on a special career-broadening developmental assignment as a recruiter at Fort McCoy.
The assignment was for four months — March-June 2023 — where Condon would be doing something not only new for her but likely a new approach for Fort McCoy as well.
“Stephanie was on the front lines of Fort McCoy’s most challenging problem — leading, developing, and implementing a civilian recruitment strategy to fill 56 positions,” said Fort McCoy Resource Management Officer Bonnie Hilt. “She developed multiple means to rapidly leverage recruitment talent to eliminate vacancies. She networked with local community leaders, universities, students, educators, and other prospective job candidate pools to establish opportunities to recruit and fill positions with the most qualified candidates.”
Condon said when she arrived at Fort McCoy, she admittedly didn’t take on the recruiter role with a much experience but was eager to get to work.
“When this came up, I was like this is a great opportunity to come and learn a little bit about human resources, personnel, and recruiting so that I could possibly incorporate that back into my own job as well as hopefully and provide a little bit of help here, too,” Condon said. “Learning about civilian personnel, recruiting, and human resources — which I knew nothing about before I arrived — was a great opportunity to learn something about an area of my career field that I've never done.”
So, as she got to work, Condon had a big task of figuring out where the greatest needs where in hiring new employees to Fort McCoy’s workforce. The installation must compete for an employee pool with many other large employers in the region and the current job market regionally also remains strong.
“The stated goal was definitely to come here and improve hiring,” Condon said. “But there were a lot of little things in that, you know, such as learn how the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) works … and we had to look at how to make some position descriptions right.”
Condon said one area where she and others focused on position descriptions were with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services and some of the police officer positions. She looked at ways to improve the entry-level requirements and incentives to bring in new police officers.
“One of my first tasks when I got here was really tracking that down,” Condon said.
But most importantly was Condon’s involvement in Fort McCoy’s new Hiring Process Action Team, or HPAT. The Fort McCoy Resource Management Office teamed up with the Directorate of Human Resources, the CPAC, and the Civilian Human Resources Agency to find solutions to fill positions and decrease the time it takes to hire talent through this team called the HPAT. And Condon became an important part of that team as the recruiter.
Condon participated in regular HPAT meetings and set up a workspace for herself in the Resource Management Office area. She was busy her entire time at Fort McCoy.
“I attended several military spouse task force meetings to identify solutions for getting spouses hired, and I met with each of the directorates to understand more about how they interact with CPAC for hiring actions,” Condon said.
Condon also made a special trip to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works Director Liane Haun.
“We went to UW-Platteville to meet with the senior engineering students and discuss engineering opportunities at Fort McCoy,” Condon said.
And there was so much more Condon worked on. She researched various sign companies to find someone who can make hiring fair signs and selected a vendor. She researched various marketing opportunities and helped the Fort McCoy Multimedia-Visual Information Office create hiring fair/civilian hiring information flyers and signs and banners for hiring fairs, designed items for the table throws and retractable banners, and supported the making of a civilian hiring video for Fort McCoy.
Working together with the HPAT, Condon also worked to register and coordinate government purchase card payments for spring hiring fairs in the area, and she attended those same spring hiring fairs in the area. She also assisted with USA Jobs training for local workforce development and chambers of commerce, and she researched Handshake and created a Handshake account for Fort McCoy.
“This is a required third-party website used to register for university hiring fairs,” Condon said. “I also worked with the Fort McCoy’s Network Enterprise Center to create a hiring mailbox that can be accessed by anyone on the HPAT.”
In May, Condon talked with dozens of people about working at Fort McCoy during the 2023 Fort McCoy Armed Forces Day Open House. She also created Fort McCoy-specific USA Jobs info sheets to help applicants get their USA Jobs accounts set up and search for jobs on post. And she also created a contact form for hiring fairs.
“The contact sheet was to allow me to reach out to people who might be interested in jobs and give them more information later on,” Condon said. “And I did reach out to all people who left their information to provide that info on available jobs, how to apply, and more.”
One of last big events Condon supported was the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Kamp, or STEMKAMP, at Sparta Meadowview Middle School in Sparta Wis., in mid-June.
“In supporting this event, I was bringing awareness of STEM opportunities at Fort McCoy for students as they are thinking about their college majors,” Condon said. The event, according to https://stemkamp.net, “is a 5-day summer camp that offers hands-on STEM experiences for third through eighth grade students at military-connected schools.”
Condon took the opportunity at the event to fully set up a Fort McCoy display that can be used at future hiring fairs, too. It featured several signs, flyers, and more that help market the positions available at the installation for hiring.
The time spent at Fort McCoy wasn’t her first time, Condon said. She had once before been at the installation years ago as a Soldier for some training. However, this time at McCoy she was on a different mission and was making a difference in a different way.
Condon said she appreciated working with Hilt.
“I think it’s worth mentioning Bonnie Hilt, the lead for the HPAT and my POC here,” Condon said. “I didn’t really have a boss exactly, but she was kind of filling that role and did a great job along with the RMO team to really make me feel welcome. She's a great leader and a fabulous asset to the HPAT process.”
Hilt said more about Condon’s accomplishments during her time on post.
“Through meetings with CPAC and directors and managers across Fort McCoy, she quickly developed a comprehensive understanding of Fort McCoy’s hiring and retention challenges and translated many of those challenges into potential solutions,” Hilt said. “Stephanie established Fort McCoy’s presence at local career fairs, expanding the knowledge of Fort McCoy and the opportunities offered. She planned, designed, and acquired various display and informational items to be used at these fairs. She successfully advanced a long-standing issue of police qualifications and entry level requirements. With her assistance we have opened opportunities for entry level police officers at lower grades.”
Now that Condon has completed her time at McCoy, post leaders hope to continue having someone continue in a similar role to help build on the work that Condon has done.
Hear more about Condon’s time at Fort McCoy in her audio interview at https://www.dvidshub.net/audio/74829/interview-with-stephanie-condon-recruitment-coordinator-fort-mccoy-hiring-process-action-team-member.
Fort McCoy was established in 1909 and its motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”
Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.