On May 20, Soldiers, Civilian employees and Family members of the Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem communities gathered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Commons at Fort McPherson to take part in the Joint Forces Career Fair. The fair, sponsored by Army Community Service, Army Career Alumni Program, Georgia Department of Labor (DoL), Georgia National Guard, Virginia College and the Employer Partnership of the Armed Forces, featured 45 different potential employers attendees to interact with.

The joint venture marked the first time Army Reserve, National Guard and community entities combined their efforts in such a manner, said Ronnie Brincefield, program support manager with the Military Personnel Services Corporation. Brincefield said all employers were actively seeking applicants to fill openings they had.

"They're really committed to offering jobs," he said, adding that jobs ranged from blue to white collar and also included several law enforcement agencies.

Small and large companies were represented to try and best meet the needs of job seekers, Brincefield said. Attendees' needs ranged from seeking a first time job, finding a new job, or in the case of Sgt. Anita Redden, chemical NCO with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Third Army/U.S. Army Central, finding a job outside the military.

"I'm transitioning out (of active duty) in three weeks," she said. "I'm just seeing if there's any good job leads and maybe find some good contacts."

Redden said she plans to stay in the area and was interested in potentially joining one of the local law enforcement agencies.

For Halimah Allah, 16, daughter of Robert Cook, a Vietnam veteran, the fair was a chance to jump into the work field.

"It will help my social life and make me more independent," she said. Allah said she is hoping to find summer work and was interested in positions being offered at the Atlanta Zoo.

"I like animals," she said. "I'm really excited. Hopefully I'll get a job." Even if she isn't able to land an employment opportunity, Allah said the fair allowed her to get in touch with some of the local colleges in the area and see what they have to offer.

Even for those with jobs, the fair was a good chance to refresh job seeking skills, said Robert Elliot, Georgia DoL response coordinator.

"A lot of people don't have a clue on where to start. They've been working in a job so long they don't know what to do when they have to look for a new one," he said. "It's like they're in a foreign world." Elliot said this is important because some employees at Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem may lose jobs they have held for many years when the bases close as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Act in September 2011. Elliot also said it is important for these employees to remember what it's like in the job market.

One of the goals the DoL was trying to accomplish at the fair was to help people see skills they may not realize they have, Elliot said. Often, people are qualified for jobs they never considered because they forget to list skills they haven't used in some time, Elliot added, saying it was important for DoL to be on hand to help educate people on this and other career enhancing opportunities.

"If (a person is) looking for a job, the DoL is a good place to start," Elliot said. For those who missed out on the fair, Brincefield said there is another planned for November. He added the goal is to hold similar fairs semi-annually until Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem close.