JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ—(SBN)—As KC-135 Stratotankers circled the skies over Burlington County practicing aerial refueling maneuvers, about 200 military personnel and their spouses were circling conference tables at Tommy B’s community center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, to learn about transitioning their careers from the military into civilian life.
You can hear more about the event in the radio news story below.
The base is holding a Career Transition Summit, aimed at helping service personnel leaving the military, as well as those staying in the service, cope with the additional pressures of finding a job in the civilian economy – or having a spouse who needs to change civilian jobs more frequently because of military relocations.
“The whole purpose of this symposium is to empower, educate, and provide the military spouse community with the tools they need to keep a career on the move,” says Amanda Bainton, program director of the Military Family Initiative of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). The military spouse unemployment rate is more than 20 percent, about four times the national average, and underemployment is at 90 percent, Bainton says.
The summit includes workshops on preparing for job searches and interviews, creating and enhancing online resumes and profiles on sites such as LinkedIn, and networking techniques to take advantage of friendships, relationships and other connections from their service careers, she said.
“Networking is everything,” she says. “Three out of four jobs are landed through someone you know, and the military community is a huge network.”
Col. Brian Anderson, who heads transition services for MOAA , says it’s important for military personnel to learn basic civilian job-hunting skills.
“The common question is, ‘what is next?’,” Anderson says. “That’s always the million-dollar question. Oftentimes they are like the hamster on the wheel during their military career, and sometimes they just a little bit of time to sort out what’s out there in the private sector.”
Sergeant Carter Tennyson, who is expecting to retire from the Air Force this year, said he attended the seminar to make sure he’s prepared for the outside world.
“I’m about two classes away from my masters degree in international relations, so I wanted to see what other opportunities there are out there for me, and if those opportunities don’t work out what other things I can fall back on,” he said. “I just want to make sure I am actually able to provide for my family, have a house, insurance, things like that.”