Job fairs like the one hosted July 27 at the Fort Campbell Career Center and Campus are essential to helping Soldiers and spouses transition from the Army into the civilian workforce, said Geneva Hauser, employment readiness program specialist at the Spouse Employment Center, or SEC.

The job fair, attended by 47 local and regional employers with positions to fill, spanned across the three-building campus that includes the SEC, Transition Assistance Program, or TAP; and Career Skills Program, or CSP.

Important resource

Knowing what opportunities are out there is key to finding a job once a Soldier transitions out of the Army.

“The importance of having these job fairs is not only to bring employers to our local community but to also help them educate on the variety of positions they have available and the requirements,” Hauser said. “A lot of people come to these job fairs just to network, so they might not be getting out to look for a job but want to know what’s out there in the community.”

Soldiers and spouses who plan ahead and research what the job market looks like prior to transitioning out of the service are more likely to be successful joining the civilian workforce.

Dennis Davis, unit manager, Tennessee Department of Corrections, said he is glad Fort Campbell hosts job fairs, and wishes he had been afforded the same resource as a Soldier.

“I’m retired Army myself and if this could be a seamless transition from the Army to the civilian world that would be great,” Davis said. “They didn’t have this when I got out and I was afloat for a while and so I think this is the best thing they could do for the Soldiers.”

The job fair also provides a space for applicants and potential employers to interact on a more personal level, Hauser said. This face-to-face interaction can make all the difference by putting an identity to the name on the resume or application.

Changing needs

There has been a shift in the kinds of jobs Hauser sees being offered at the job fairs hosted on Fort Campbell. More employers are beginning to diversify the kinds of positions they advertise, specifically in jobs that can be done remotely, she said.

COVID-19 changed the way employers think about work responsibilities and how they can be carried out, Hauser said.

“A lot of employers now are bringing hybrid, remote and in-person opportunities because that’s what people want now,” she said. “They’re getting more interest in the remote side of employment because of COVID-19, and now we are seeing a big jump in remote positions being offered.”

More Families are prioritizing jobs that allow them to spend time at home to raise children and to offset the cost of child care by taking it on themselves.

“It’s appealing because there are lots of people who have Families and right now because child care facilities are full or have long waiting lists, a lot of the remote positions are working better for people’s schedules,” Hauser said. “The remote positions add that element of flexibility that a traditional workplace lacks.”

Planning ahead

Sergeant Ramonte Johnson, 129th Division Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), will transition out of the Army February 2023.

While that is still months away, Johnson said he doesn’t want to waste time trying to plan his next chapter.

“I’m trying to look for potential employers when I get out, especially around Clarksville in case I decide to stay,” he said, adding he hopes to find employment in law enforcement or in the field of criminal justice.

Coming to the job fair helped Johnson scope out potential opportunities and network. The job fair provided him a valuable resource in making the transition, and he recommends others take advantage of the opportunities events like these provide.

“It really helps people who don’t have an idea of what they want to do afterward to get an idea of what they would like,” he said. “For people who already know what they want I think it makes it easier for them to go and pinpoint exactly what direction they want to go when they get out.”

Newcomers to Fort Campbell also attended the job fair looking for ways to integrate into the local job market.

Paula Ricketts, Army spouse, moved to Fort Campbell with her husband two months ago and said she is ready to job hunt.

“I’m seeking employment and I came here to get an idea of what’s available in the area,” Ricketts said. “I think events like these are important for military spouses and Soldiers.”

For information about upcoming job fairs and workshops hosted by SEC, visit the center’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SpouseEmploymentFortCampbell, or call 270-412-1720. For information about upcoming job fairs and classes hosted by TAP, visit the program’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FortCampbellSFLTAP, or call 270-798-5000.