The Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center, or SEC, hosted an indoor hiring event Oct. 5 at Cole Park Commons Community Activities Center to give transitioning Soldiers, spouses and veterans the opportunity to meet with potential employers on the installation.

Approximately 150 people attended and spoke with employers including representatives from the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, the Armed Services YMCA and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, among others.

Army Family

Events like these contribute to the People First initiative put forth by the Army, garrison commander Col. Andrew Q. Jordan said, because it affords military spouses the opportunity to remain close to the Army community.

“It’s a great opportunity to keep our spouses in-house on the installation,” Jordan said. “As an Army, our priority is people, and a very important part of that priority is our military Families and spouses. Providing them with an opportunity to find employment on the installation, close to their servicemember, close to their child’s school is a great thing. And then we’re able to keep that passion for the military in military Families within our workforce on Fort Campbell.”

David Roudybush, deputy to the garrison commander, said hiring events such as this are essential to a military spouse’s ability to maintain employment security.

“The good thing about this on-installation hiring is that it allows spouses to stay on the installation, but these jobs are ones that are highly transferable to other installations,” Roudybush said. “So, as our spouses transition it’s going to make it easier for them in their next duty station to be able to find a job there as well. The same people who are hiring here, are organizations that are at any of the other Army installations where they’ll go. That’s another huge benefit of keeping our Army Families within the greater Army Family.”

Anne Fugate, transition services manager, said it is in the interest of the community to make an effort to employ military spouses, particularly if the surrounding area wants Soldiers and Families to remain in the area after leaving the Army.

“If a community is interested in encouraging transitioning Soldiers and their Families to stay and make this their home, whether or not a spouse is employed and is satisfied with their career is a big factor in that decision because it’s a Family decision,” Fugate said. “And so, if spouses are also able to get settled and have things going on that they are interested in, then this is a big opportunity for that.”

Versatile skill set

Fugate said that both employers and military spouses themselves are increasingly recognizing what spouses can bring to the workforce in addition to their technical skills and experience.

“A lot of the aspects of a military spouse’s life that might make steady employment more of a challenge, such as frequent moves and the need to take care of things during their partner’s absence, also contribute to some very valuable skills for employers such as resilience, adaptability and being very results-oriented,” she said.

Employers at the hiring event said they value the skills military spouses bring to the workforce and actively work to make them a part of their teams, said Lindsey White, Armed Services YMCA director.

“We love hiring spouses and we love having that military connection because it’s direct and personal and we want that in our facility,” White said.

Evelyn Penaloza, military spouse, said the hiring event was a valuable opportunity she hoped others would use in the future.

“With all the resources that the military provides for spouses I think it’s very good to use the resources that you have and also to network and put yourself out there,” said Penaloza, who came to the event looking for jobs in customer service.

She had high hopes of leaving the event with information that could lead to a job or point her in the right direction.

“I have gotten a lot of good information,” Penaloza said.