KILLEEN — Fort Hood’s Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse networking lead, Jessica Hall, organized a professional network lunch and learn for military spouses Sept. 6. Representatives from Workforce Solutions of Central Texas, Spherion, Dignity Memorial and Fort Hood Transition Assistance Program attended the luncheon at the Killeen Workforce Center.

“My goal is to make sure everyone knows where those resources are and who is doing the work. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel by any means. There are already great programs out there doing it,” said Hall.

Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network is a nonprofit organization that promotes employment, career development and networking opportunities for military spouses. Often, a spouse’s career progression is disrupted by frequent moves and deployments. Networking leads connect military spouses to local employment services.

Hall coordinates events monthly with local leaders, Texas Veteran Commission and Workforce Solutions of Central Texas. A member of multiple groups, she uses their forums to find eligible spouses.

Thursday’s lunch started at noon. After introductions, guest speakers shared pertinent information about their services and upcoming events. The conversation focused on grants, job search red flags and remote work.

“Grants are meant to help you get quality jobs that align with your education,” said Eric Putt, business services representative.

Killeen Workforce Center helps eligible military spouses apply for career development grants, but spouses must initiate the process.

“There is free money out there and free programs … You’d be amazed how much support is actually out there. The biggest problem that I experience is a lot of military service members don’t bother to tell their spouses anything. If your spouse is not telling you anything, then you need to ask questions,” said Robert C. Schumacher, Fort Hood transition services specialist.

Military friendly companies partner with Hiring Our Heroes and actively recruit military spouses.

“A lot of sites are asking military spouses to self-identify … most companies don’t ask for military spouses unless they are military friendly,” said Schumacher.

If a spouse self-identifies, their application is sent to a human resource department that understand gaps of employment in their resume.

The luncheon concluded at 1 p.m. Speakers stood by for individual questions and concerns.

Hiring Our Heroes is always seeking volunteers to provide workshops on resume writing and mock interviews. Interested businesses and services can contact Hall at fthood@ingearcareer.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/MSPNFtHood.

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