KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – From military relocations to constant exercises and deployments, being on the move is a way of life for service members and their families. So, no wonder it can be difficult to network and form professional relationships for employment after leaving the military or relocating as a military spouse.
That’s where the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes European Career Summit comes in – to help transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses connect, collect resources and build career networks to find meaningful employment in the civilian sector.
HOH will conduct 26 career summits to include three in Europe at U.S. Army garrisons Italy, Bavaria and Rheinland-Pfalz in conjunction with each garrison’s Army Community Service Employment Readiness programs and Soldier For Life – Transition Assistance programs.
This year’s USAG RP career summit takes place April 3 and 4 at Armstrong’s Club, Vogelweh Housing, and is open to all service members within 24 months of transitioning from the military, veterans and military spouses. During the two-day event, representatives from business and nonprofit organizations will provide employment training, networking opportunities and a career fair to the military community.
“These are regional events that multiple military communities should be able to attend,” said Lew Lewis, USAG RP SFL-TAP manager. “This is an opportunity for attendees to plan, gather resources, connect and create professional relationships.”
Some of the organizations at the summit will include the Veterans Administration, education office, SFL-TAP and local and national employers, Lewis continued. “This event creates synergy, so people feel like they can take action after attending.”
There were 81 job offers extended at last year’s hiring event that hosted more than 360 transitioning service members and job seekers, said Tim Siebeneck, USAG RP Army Community Service Employment Readiness Program.
“Although it was terrific that some attendees walked away with employment offers, not everyone will,” he said. “If people can walk away with updated résumés, more knowledge or new resources from this event, it will enhance their ability to find employment or make their transition from the military smoother.”
Recently, the name of the event changed from Transition Summit to Career Summit “to illustrate how career planning is a process, not an event. This is a planning process people need to work through to make their next career successful,” Lewis said. “The name change is more inclusive to promote military spouse and veteran involvement at the events.”
Day One of the summit is all about spouses with a Military Spouse Employment Symposium hosted by the Military Officers Association of America. Spouses will also have an opportunity to network with human resources experts and hiring managers to gain more career insight and knowledge.
Day Two, everyone is invited to attend the career-planning workshops, receive professional network coaching, obtain an employment headshot and attend the career fair that offers one-on-one discussions with HR experts and hiring managers from national-level employers.
It’s a lot of information to take in, especially for people transitioning from the military, said Lewis, who retired and transitioned from the Army in 2007.
“There are a lot of career and employment resources out there, but we are finding that it’s sometimes difficult for people to connect with those resources or they don’t do an effective job of managing them,” he explained. “The value of coming to this event is the availability of subject matter experts, who can help service members, veterans and military spouses navigate the landscape.”
Schedule of events:
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3
• 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. — Onsite registration for Military Spouse Employment Symposium and LinkedIn photos
• 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. — Military Spouse Employment Symposium
• 5 – 7 p.m. — Networking reception for employers and all job seekers
THURSDAY, APRIL 4
• 8 a.m. — Onsite registration
• 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Career-planning workshops, employer panel discussion, industry briefs
• 1 – 2 p.m. — Individual coaching for resumes, interviews, LinkedIn
• 1 – 4 p.m. — Career fair with national and local employers
“This is a great opportunity for people to network, sharpen skills, obtain resources and ask questions to create a career plan. The more armed with information they are, the more able they will be to find meaningful employment and contribute to society in a positive way,” Lewis concluded. “Helping them – whether they are a military spouse or a transitioning service member – create a positive impact in the civilian employment sector is the best way we can say, ‘Thank you for your service.’”