• September 1, 2014

‘Mini’ job fairs fill the gap for soldiers leaving Army

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Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:30 am

For job-seekers and soldiers leaving the Army, Monday is becoming the day to get a job.

Last month the Army Career and Alumni Program began hosting weekly “mini” job fairs every Monday. The events have taken off, said Tamara Brethouwer, ACAP Marketing Coordinator.

Each week, 120 to 150 job-seekers have taken advantage of the 15 or so employers who fill the Oveta Culp Hobby Soldier and Family Readiness Center with positions ranging from part-time and full-time employment to companies offering certification classes necessary for certain industries.

“The excitement is there,” she said. “It’s always great to have soldiers walk out and say, ‘I got the job. I got an offer.’”

With each week offering a new list of prospective employers, Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Johnson, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, said he plans to come to several Monday events before retiring next year.

While his Army background is medical, he said he is not limiting himself to just one field.

“The more faces you see and the more people you have interaction with, the better chance you have at finding a job,” he said. “It makes me feel better about getting out, too.”

The smaller, weekly job fairs will not replace the two large hiring events hosted by ACAP, but instead allow soldiers transitioning at any time of the year to get the same opportunities.

“We are seeing a lot of soldiers getting out rather quickly and they may not have access to our job fairs,” Brethouwer said. “It bridges that gap.”

The weekly events also cater to the increase in solders leaving the Army, because of drawdown effort, said Linda Christ, Fort Hood transition services manager.

Last year Fort Hood’s ACAP separated or retired 9,881 soldiers — that’s an average of 823 a month.

“About 10 percent of the Army is stationed here at Fort Hood, so large numbers like this are to be expected,” Christ said. “Next year, we anticipate even more separations.”

Round Rock Police Department attended Monday’s job fair. It was the department’s first time recruiting at Fort Hood and Officer Joseph Claypool, community affairs officer, said he was impressed with the maturity level of soldiers.

“They are very squared away,” he said. “This is different from college career fairs, because you can see the maturity and the training come through.”

Claypool said he met several soldiers during the job fair he hoped would follow through and contact him for a cadet position available.

Brethouwer said this sort of response and feedback has been constant throughout this new weekly initiative.

“Employers will say they’ve got five people lined up for interviews right away,” she said. “I see soldiers getting hired and gaining confidence.”

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