Exchange to host career, resource fair Sept. 18

Army and Air Force Exchange Service is hiring for at least 50 positions during a career and resource fair 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Exchange Mall, 2840 Bastogne Ave.

“Because of COVID-19, many local job fairs have been canceled,” said Chris Ward, AAFES senior public affairs manager. “The Fort Campbell Exchange is hosting this event to let shoppers and the local community know the Exchange is here for them and that there are still jobs and resources on post to assist them in these times.”

Kim Leipheimer, Exchange recruiting manager, said permanent and seasonal positions are available. The Exchange is hiring employees for e-commerce, food service, retail and customer service.

About a dozen vendors also will participate in the fair, including H&R Block, DOCS Dental and Pepsi Co.

About 600 people work at the various Exchange locations and concessions across post.

Of those employees, about 87% are military-connected, Leipheimer said.

“(Military-connected people) understand our mission and working with the military,” she said. “They understand what our customers are looking for. I was a military spouse and my husband is an Army retiree. I really have a soft spot for those folks who are moving around every two years.”

AAFES has committed to hiring 50,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of the year and they are closing in on that goal, Ward said. In the hiring process, preference is given to veterans and Family members.

Leipheimer said AAFES provides continuity for its employees through the Associate Transfer Program. When an employee moves to a new installation, AAFES will work with them to potentially secure a position with the Exchange team at the new location, she said.

For more information on AAFES positions available, visit applymyexchange.com.

Representatives from Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center, USO Pathfinder and Digital Works-Fort Campbell also were invited to participate in the job fair.

“We work with all of our local agencies trying to find placement for spouses,” Leipheimer said. “It just felt natural to us to invite them. I want our customers to know there are resources for them.”

Holly Nusom, employment services counselor with the Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center, said they will have two tables set up at the fair. One table will be staffed by Abrell Jones, employment readiness adviser, who focuses on federal employment support. The second table will be staffed by employment services counselors.

“We are thrilled to join because military spouses are an incredibly capable and versatile talent pool and we want to see our local spouses reach their career goals,” Nusom said.

Center staff are eager to meet and connect with local spouses interested in advancing their careers, she said.

“Whether that be a spouse with little to no experience, a spouse with gaps in employment, or a working spouse who is looking for a better opportunity, our center can connect them with assistance and resources to help,” Nusom said.

She encourages those who are ready to apply for open positions to attend the fair ready to talk about their professional experience.

“Spouses can visit the Exchange website to learn about the open positions and come with any questions they may have about the company and the specific openings,” Nusom said. “Attending the fair with another jobseeker can help a spouse feel more comfortable and confident.”

Fair-goers also should bring copies of their resumes and dress professionally.

The center assists spouses of active-duty and retired Soldiers with employment readiness and career connection services. Services include resume counseling, interview training and career coaching. Spouse Employment Center, 5668 Wickham Ave., hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, Appointments are preferred. To make an appointment or for more information, call 270-412-1720 or 270-798-0593.

Lauren Kovaleski, USO Pathfinder operations site manager, said the fair is an opportunity to spread the word about USO services and events.

“We hope to connect with transitioning service members and military spouses who are seeking to plan for what’s next, whatever that may be, we are here to help,” Kovaleski said. “We hope to share more about our fall 2020 events and connect the community to informative resources.”

USO Pathfinder program also connects its clients with services, opportunities and resources that best fit their successful transition, she said.

“Fairs are an excellent opportunity for transitioning service members and spouses to network with employers,” Kovaleski said. “The face-to-face time with hiring officials is a great way to build your network, learn deeper insight about career opportunities and make meaningful connections. Our USO Transitions Pathfinder team highly recommends attending events like this. You never know who you’ll connect with.”

The USO Pathfinder office, 5668 Wickham Ave., is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. To connect with a local transition specialist, call 270-412-1722 or visit USO.org/Pathfinder.

Digital Works-Fort Campbell is a nonprofit organization funded through local and state grants that provide job training and placement program for remote work to military spouses, as well as veterans and their spouses, said Chantel Cooke, Digital Works proctor.

“We cover everything from customer service skills and resume writing, to job vendor information and actually applying for jobs as part of our class,” Cooke said. “We really mentor our students not just in class but also after they’ve graduated. We stick with them and follow-up on a weekly basis to make sure we help them find the job they love that really works for them.”

More than 70 vetted vendors who offer work-from-home positions work with Digital Works.

Cooke said the fair is a way for Digital Works-Fort Campbell to educate the military community about the resources available to them.

“A lot of times veterans face difficulties with finding employment for many different reasons and remote work allows them to work around those issues,” she said.

Military spouses also struggle with difficulties surrounding high employment rates, she said.

“They are required to move often and have gaps in employment that shows on their resume. Remote work positions allow them to contribute financially while still being home to take care of (their Families),” Cooke said. “When it’s time for these Families to move, they have a job they can take with them.”

To register for a class, visit www.digitalworksjobs.org and register under the “Fort Campbell, Ky.” option under the “Locations” tab. For more information, visit their Facebook page @digitalworksFC.

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