Spouse Employment Center pic

Veronica Ashford, Career Skills Program installation administrator (left), and Rashad Muhammad, set up desks March 3 at the Spouse Employment Center. Muhammad will be one of two employment services counselors who will help guide client-spouses to the center’s appropriate job services.

The Spouse Employment Center, 5668 Wickham Ave., features a brand-new welcome area where client-spouses will be greeted by employment services counselors who will help guide them to the job services they need, said Duane Soumis, Spouse Employment Center manager.

Pam Humphrey or Rashad Muhammad, the employment services counselors, are in place in the welcome area to ensure the client-spouses’ visits to the Spouse Employment Center are as productive as possible, Soumis said.

Because each spouse has individual needs, Humphrey or Muhammad will conduct initial interviews to determine a client’s needs. Armed with that information they can then connect clients with the center’s employment partners who can prepare and link the spouses with job opportunities.

“I work on post and didn’t even know there was a Spouse Employment Center,” Humphrey said. “How many other spouses are out there who don’t know? And if they know maybe they don’t know all the services that could be provided to them.”

Humphrey has been an Army spouse for 16 years. She is well-aware of the employment struggles spouses face because of the military lifestyle.

“I chose not to go into the workforce until our youngest child was in school full day, because child care is so expensive. We could not justify me working just to pay for day care,” she said.

Humphrey went back to work while her husband was stationed at Fort Irwin, California. The Family moved to Fort Campbell in 2010, and she was able to use military spouse preference to secure a federal job as a Family Readiness Assistant for 2nd Brigade Combat Team. She eventually moved on to the Directorate of Public Works and is now on a temporary assignment at the Spouse Employment Center.

Muhammad attended Austin Peay State University after retiring from the Army.

“I retired in 2007 when the economy tanked,” he said. “My thing is I know how it feels to retire and struggle. It took me a minute to regain my footing financially so that right there are just some lessons learned by me.”

Humphrey and Muhammad will apply the lessons they have learned on their journey to help military spouses achieve their career goals.

Spouse Employment Center

Rather than spouses having to hunt for the right agencies to help them in their job search, the Spouse Employment Center brings the agencies together under one roof as a “one-stop” employment resource, Soumis said.

To make that happen strong partnerships were formed with agencies specifically focused on assisting job-seeking spouses. Those agencies are the Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership and USO Pathfinders.

Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership was made possible through a $7.7 million federal grant from the Department of Labor specifically targeted to help Fort Campbell’s spouses find employment, as well as aid Soldiers as they transition into the civilian workforce. The agency provides employment resource services tailored to the specific needs of each client.

The USO Pathfinders program is a concierge service that assists client-spouses in meeting their employment goals as well as continuing education and building a resume through volunteer service, among other services.

Additionally, an Employment Readiness Adviser at the Spouse Employment Center assists spouses interested in federal employment with resume writing and workshops as well as career counseling and individual career assessments.

“Our whole system over here was developed to take care of our military spouses and remove obstacles for employment,” Soumis said.

Fort Campbell’s Spouse Employment Center is part of the Army’s larger mission to target spouses seeking employment.

“We’re one of the first installations making these changes,” Soumis said.

If successful, the program could serve as a blueprint for other installations to replicate as the Army continues to build stronger opportunities for its spouses.

To make an appointment or get more information about the Spouse Employment Center, Humphrey and Muhammad can be reached 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays at 270-412-1720.

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