Spouse Employment Center to reopen for on-site services

Holly Nusom, employment services counselor at the Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center and Teresa English, Region 1 Career Skills Program Coordinator, set up the welcome station with clear plexigalss dividers July 13 at the center. The Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center, 5668 Wickham Ave., will reopen July 20. To make an appointment, call 270-412-1720. Messages also can be emailed to Nusom at holly.r.nusom.civ@mail.mil or sent to the Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

There are new signs at the entrance, new faces at the welcome desk and new opportunities waiting at the Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center scheduled to reopen July 20.

The Spouse Employment Center, 5668 Wickham Ave., connects military spouses with resources to find careers, education or skills training and a support network while they job hunt.

Although the Spouse Employment Center closed its office because the COVID-19 pandemic, it continued to work with its partners, including USO Pathfinder, Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership, the Career Skills Program and others to provide virtual assistance, said Duane Soumis, Spouse Employment Center manager and Soldier For Life-Transition Assistance Program transition services manager.

Although many virtual services will continue, beginning July 20 spouses can once again meet with employment services counselors in person.

There will be noticeable differences with the implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols to slow the spread of the virus. Clients will be required to wait downstairs or in their cars if there are too many people inside the building, Soumis said. Upon entering the Spouse Employment Center, clients will have their temperature checked, must wear face masks and practice social distancing.

Two new employees will greet clients, assess their needs and provide assistance, or direct them to one of the onsite partners for additional services. One of those new employees is Holly Nusom, employment services counselor, who started July 6. The other employee starts July 20.

Nusom, an Army spouse, has plenty of experience navigating the system, even if she is new to the Spouse Employment Center as an employee.

She arrived at at Fort Campbell about a year ago, prior to that she worked remotely as a research and evaluation assistant for Penn State University researching and developing content and curriculum for the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Transition Program.

To assist with her personal professional development, Nusom participated in hiring events and volunteered for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes career fair in October 2019 and the Empowering Women Career Summit hiring event in February.

When Nusom heard about the opportunity to be an employment services counselor at the Spouse Employment Center, she thought it was a perfect fit, she said.

“I have moved many times and it’s something that spouses have to deal with,” Nusom said. “The military moves you. Many spouses want a career. There are a lot of resources out there but often you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s where the Spouse Employment Center offers the solutions to some of the obstacles you might have. You may need training, you may need additional education, you may need financial assistance with child care, you may need help with a resume. You may just need to know what’s available, what the major industries are in this community, so that’s the type of assistance we provide.”

Depending on what a client needs, Nusom can review their resumes, prepare them for interviews or put them in touch with a partner agency that may assist in numerous other ways. Representatives from USO Pathfinder, Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership, Wounded Warrior Project and Fort Campbell Career Skills Program are all available at the Spouse Employment Center.

“It’s a one-stop facility where all the partners and service providers are all housed, so when spouses come in they’ll get what they’re looking for, career-wise, in this building,” said Nusom, who has already been hard at work making connections with work partners.

There are many spouses Nusom has met who have the skills, education and desire to work but do not know how to connect with employers. The Spouse Employment Center staff can point them to companies that are looking for employees with certain skill sets or help them access training to learn those skills.

She recently completed the project management professional (PMP) training through Fort Campbell’s Onward to Opportunity Program, a program offered through the Spouse Employment Center.

“There are lot of opportunities that could either get you the career you want or just move you along on that path,” Nusom said. “Spouses do have to make the call or come in and see us and we will strive to provide direction or resources to help them.”

As of July 20, the Spouse Employment Center will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Soumis said walk-ins are accepted but appointments are encouraged to reduce wait times.

For questions or to make an appointment, call 270-412-1720. Nusom can be reached by email at holly.r.nusom.civ@mail.mil or direct messages sent to the Fort Campbell Spouse Employment Center Facebook or LinkedIn pages.