WIESBADEN, Germany - Navigating the successful landing of a new job can be full of challenges.
Thanks to Army Community Service’s Employment Readiness Program, that process has become a lot easier.
“Our intent is to help people find employment,” said Employment Readiness Program Manager Earl McFarland. “Our military spouses are very diverse in their skillsets … and through the years we’ve found ways to connect community members with job opportunities.”
McFarland, a two-decade-long military veteran and experienced Army Community Service staff member, said that he and his co-worker Megan Bryan “work one-on-one with each individual from start to finish” to assist in the job search endeavor. “We have several avenues to assist individuals, and we stay with them throughout their job search.”
“The door is always open – we constantly give them feedback,” McFarland added.
“When I came here in 2018, the program was dormant,” he said, “and I built it up as if I was looking for a job – what would I need to be successful?”
Having served first as a volunteer for ACS in Wiesbaden after leaving the military, later as the Volunteer Coordinator before returning to the United States to work for ACS’s Family Advocacy Program in Fort Campbell, Ky., McFarland witnessed the many facets of assisting community members from the inside. His experience as a military veteran and volunteer, his education – earning bachelor and master degrees – all contributed to his wide range of personal skills and know-how.
“We embrace technology here as well because it helps us to serve the community better,” he said, explaining that having a constantly evolving web presence, maintaining a weekly job listing, online tools such as Home Based Business application forms and lists, outreach forums such as Career Café and Home Based Business Information Sharing Sessions, regular job fairs and a host of employment readiness classes all aim for that goal.
“We built our website to offer easy access and to be user friendly,” he said. This includes access to EURCivJobs, Hiring Our Heroes, Military Spouse Fellowship Program and other online resources through the website.
The office also maintains a client distro list to help get the word out about current available job openings.
“I like this job because I can have a positive effect on families, individuals and their job progression. I can see the lasting results of what I’m doing,” McFarland said.
That includes everything from assisting with creating first-rate resumes to polishing job interview techniques, teaming up with Wiesbaden High School students in support of building job search skills to connecting with potential employers.
“By any means necessary we will find employment for our clients, and we will stick with them,” McFarland said, explaining that both in-person and online assistance is available. “They can reach out by email and we can help them with their resumes online.”
The New Orleans native praised the efforts of his co-worker in helping build up the Home Based Business program. “Megan took it over and expanded it further through information sharing sessions, ways to get a tax adviser and much more.”
Army Community Service Division Chief Jan Meert praised the top-notch quality of the Employment Readiness Program. “We've got two extremely knowledgeable individuals working in the program, and they are responsive, helpful, flexible, energetic and enthused to be serving our customers,” she said.
“We've been fortunate enough to have Earl leading the ERP for just over five years. Due to those years of being in the community, he's built terrific relationships with multiple employers, so he is the first person folks contact when they are looking to fill a vacancy,” Meert said, adding, “Additionally, he speaks German and has several contacts throughout the community, not to mention years of reviewing resumes, job announcements and conducting employment-related classes. He is a valuable asset to the community, and if anyone is looking to find a job, he's definitely a person they should come see at Army Community Service.”
Adding Mini Job Fairs during the year is another way the Employment Readiness Program connects job applicants with potential employers. The next Mini Job Fair will be held Feb. 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the ACS Multi-Purpose Room in Building 7790 in Hainerberg Housing. The Exchange, Defense Commissary Agency and others will be available to accept resumes and conduct interviews.
“We’re partnering with other agencies to provide refreshments,” McFarland said, adding that job applicants should come dressed for success, equipped with their “30-second elevator speech (to sell yourself)” and resume in hand.
“Our program is still evolving. We’re always going to need to evolve and change to meet the needs of our clients and agencies,” he concluded.
For more information about the Employment Readiness Program visit https://wiesbaden.armymwr.com/programs/acs/employment-readiness-program, call civ (0611) 143-548-9201 or stop by Army Community Service.