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Tanya Aiken, NCIS staffing specialist, left, greets an applicant at the 2019 Fort Belvoir Fall Career Fair, Oct. 24 in the Fort Belvoir Community Center. More than 40 federal, state and local agencies were interviewing transitioning service members and spouses at the event.

More than 40 employers met with eager, transitioning Service members, military spouses, veterans and retirees in the Community Center, Oct. 24, at Army Community Service’s Fall Career Fair. Two ACS programs hosted the event: Soldier for Life/Transition Assistance and Employment Readiness.

Matthew Passmore, a transition services specialist with SFL/TAP, said it was a busy event, with a lot of job seekers excited to meet with the federal, state and local employers looking to hire transitioning Service members.

“When you hire a Soldier, you’re going to get workers with Army values already instilled, and there’s a lot of transferrable skills to set themselves up for success,” he said. “They offer leadership; discipline; teamwork skills; and are great problem-solvers, ready to adapt to all types of situations.”

Tonya Aiken, a staffing specialist with Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said the ACS fair is a goldmine for them.

“The Fort Belvoir Career Fair gives us access to a lot of military veterans and active-duty Service members, and, since veterans get hiring preference, it’s easier to find them at an event like this,” she said.

Laureen DuPree, ACS Employment Readiness Program manager, said the fair is a fantastic opportunity for military spouses, who, having to move every two to three years, have to start over, often with a new career.

“We’re bringing employers here, so they’re face-to-face with spouses, and that tends to lessen some of their anxieties and frustrations,” she said. “We have a number of employers here who are looking to hire on the spot, and I always encourage our military spouses to come out and use this opportunity by meeting these employers.”

DuPree noted that financial strength in military households creates an environment of greater readiness, so there are less stressors on famililies, especially in this high cost-of-living region.

“My job is to get spouses employment that works with their military lifestyle of moving around, where they may need alternative work situations. These job fairs create bridges to opportunity and feeds into that financial resilience of the military Family,” DuPree said.

She added that Service member conversations with the hiring agencies helps them understand the value of their military skills and values in the civilian world, and that they are job-ready.