LAMPASAS — Master Sgt. Travion Smith, noncommissioned officer in charge of future operations at Fort Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division, said he will retire in a year and attends all the career fairs he can.
One of about 90 people who signed up for the Veteran and Service Member Career Summit, Smith mingled with business representatives and tweaked his resume at the Lampasas County Higher Education Center on Monday.
Put on by William Penn University’s College for Working Adults, the event began at 8 a.m. and focused on educating military personnel about job and education options available once they decide to leave the service.
The university is a small liberal arts college in Iowa that focuses on providing extremely flexible online and campus classes to help servicemen get business-related degrees, among others.
“I set myself up for financial success prior to retiring ... but the thing is, (the Army) is the only job I’ve ever had,” Smith said. “I don’t really know what civilians do, how they interact at work. I mean, we
have a rank structure.”
A military man for 26 years, Smith said one of the biggest challenges transitioning is the opaque divide that exists between civilian life and military life — and all the small nuances that go with it, like putting together a readable civilian-friendly resume.
“Most of the time, when I have someone look over it, they say it’s got too much military jargon. But how else am I supposed to explain it?” he said.
Job fair participants attended an interview skills workshop and then mingled with representatives of several local businesses, including Home Depot, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas National Guard, Principal Financial Group and Edward Jones Investment.
Retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who is on the board at William Penn University, spoke to the crowd about the military skills that can be translated to the job field.
“The reason that we’re here is to make their lives in the transition as good as it can be,” he said after his speech, explaining that he wanted to see former soldiers get both good jobs and an education.
Meanwhile, Army retiree Martin Sherry said he does not have a set career path in mind, but is getting a couple of college degrees in the meantime.
After 22 years with the military, he said, it’s hard to find one job that provides you with the same level of fulfillment.
The career summit continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Fort Hood’s Community Event Center on Clear Creek Road.
For information, call Aubrey Leisinger at 512-422-6173.