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Pentagon to ask spouses for opinions

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Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:52 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Don Bolding

Killeen Daily Herald

Fort Hood officials are expecting 40 to 45 people to talk to a 15-member traveling committee of the Department of Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services about the experiences of spouses of junior enlisted personnel in the workplace on Monday and Tuesday, July 9 and 10.

The meetings will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, 10:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday and 2 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, all in the Kingston and Wilshire Rooms of the Fort Hood Catering and Conference Center (Building 5764) at the intersection of Wainwright and 24th streets on Fort Hood. Deadline is Thursday for reservations, which are available at (254) 287-8184 or (254) 288-2089 or fthoodacserb@hood.army.mil.

Teresa Shipman, Fort Hood manager of the Employment Readiness Branch of Army Community Services, said the committee appointed by the secretary of defense is visiting 10 military installations to gather information about employment issues of spouses of enlisted personnel in pay grades E-1 through E-5.

"I don't know what they'll bring up, but among the problems I hear are difficulties in finding child care to mount a job search and the cost of fuel in job-hunting," Shipman said. "The committee will listen to everything and put it in an annual report to the secretary of defense."

The advisory committee focuses on different issues each year. Some concern family issues, some barracks life – whatever area seems most important nationwide at the moment.

The committee is visiting installations of different branches of the service, active and reserve. The only other active-duty Army installation on the itinerary is Fort Bragg, N.C., Shipman said.

Members will report their findings to recommend assistance that the Department of Defense can provide to remove obstacles the family members face, Shipman said.

Listed on the announcement as collaborating agencies are the Central Texas Workforce Centers and the Army Career and Alumni Programs. The CTWC has an initiative called "Jobs 4 Military Families" specifically to assist family members in finding employment to stabilize their residence in the community.

Jerry Haisler, director of the CTWC in Killeen, said the center offers assistance to spouses new in the area in understanding the local job market and the relationship of wages to the local cost of living and offers assistance with such problems as finding child care and affordable transportation.

"If no such assistance were available, a lot of people would just decide the search is not worth the effort," Haisler said, "and that's not good for anybody. The provisions of the Jobs 4 Military Families' programs are open only to people who were working at the previous location, but we still can offer other assistance to people who weren't."

A flyer advertising the meetings says the committee "would like to hear about your past and present employment experiences. Your input will be used to improve employment opportunities for military families."

Contact Don Bolding at dbolding@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7557

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