Workshop to focus on work from home opportunities

The USO Fort Campbell Pathfinder team is hosting a Virtual Military Spouse Employment Workshop with a special emphasis on those who want to work remotely.

The USO Fort Campbell Pathfinder team is hosting a Virtual Military Spouse Employment Workshop with a special emphasis on those who want to work remotely.

The workshop is scheduled 1-3 p.m. July 16. Registration is required and the deadline is noon July 16. To register, visit https://bit.ly/3g304KD. Instructions for the workshop are provided after registration is complete. A weblink to a Zoom meeting will be emailed to participants the morning of the event.

The workshop was specifically designed for military spouses who would like to improve their resumes, learn about legitimate work-from-home opportunities and ask panelists who work remotely about their experiences.

Digital Works, a local job creation program, will be spotlighted. Its mission is to help military spouses and veterans with telework. The program is free to participants, because it is funded by grants through various organizations including the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, and the Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund, said Jessica Golson, Digital Works-Fort Campbell facilitator.

Golson will speak about how the free program can connect participants with a network of vetted employers, provide some basic computer training individuals may need and give an overview of the types of remote jobs available and why they might be an ideal fit for those connected to the military.

Digital Works-Fort Campbell opened in February and had one in-person class graduate a four-week program there. A second class in March was halfway through the course, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the second half of the class to move online, Golson said. Virtual classes have been hosted since, with the four-week program being condensed into two- to three-week cycles.

Golson is excited to partner with the USO- Fort Campbell, which regularly provides workshops for transitioning Soldiers and spouses.

“We have worked with them a lot over the past few months,” she said. “We are very fortunate to have their support since we started up and we are partnering with them to do an informative session. I’m going to talk about the program, how it came about, what we do, what our numbers look like and what types of jobs we help with placement for.”

In addition to training, the program continues its relationship with participants as they job search until they are employed with one of more than 70 vetted employers established since Digital Works launched in 2013, Golson said.

A 2017 survey of active-duty spouses showed spouses face a 24% unemployment rate and a 25% wage gap compared to civilians, according to a Digital Works news release. Although 77% said they wanted or needed to work, frequent relocation is often a barrier to finding or keeping a good career, according to the release.

“What makes this uniquely suited for military spouses in particular is that the positions can move with them – meaning they no longer have to find new jobs every time their spouse is relocated,” said Tom Ferree, Digital Works CEO and chairman. “Military spouses are facing significantly higher unemployment rates than other populations. These are the women and men who keep the home fires burning when our service members are called to duty. We must do more to support them.”

Golson said COVID-19 had already led to more remote jobs and many of those may become permanent.

During the workshop, participants can learn what types of skills, equipment and time requirements are necessary for some companies.

The type of remote work available varies by company. In addition to telework, there could be scheduling and transcription work, among other jobs.

Digital Works graduates will attend the workshop to answer questions and share their experiences with participants, Golson said.

“It really helps to have that perspective from someone who has gone through this exact program and is now working,” she said.

The virtual Digital Works classes offer students fundamental skills teleworkers need to know, ranging from state abbreviations, military time, phonetic alphabet and time zones, in addition to sales and customer service training, videos, assessments and quizzes.

Although the July 16 USO Virtual Military Spouse Workshop is tailored to spouses, it also is open to transitioning active-duty Soldiers as well as National Guard and Reserve Soldiers and recent veterans.

For more information, call USO-Fort Campbell at 270-697-4144.

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