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Hero 2 Hired mobile job store visits Pa. Army depot

Military reservists stepped into a spacious, air-conditioned black truck outside Letterkenny Army Depot.

They took turns Monday at computer screens, checking on job opportunities with military-friendly employers.

They face uncertain times. They are not sure if their active duty assignment will be extended for the next year. While civilian employers are to keep a slot for them when they return from active duty, the servicemen and women have acquired skills in the military that could qualify them for better jobs. Others were in college without jobs.

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"When our active duty orders expire, we have to find something," said Tech Sgt. Julie Lozinski, who is finishing her master's degree in integrated marketing and communications. She left her reporting job with WRNR in Martinsburg, W.Va., to return to college and she's halfway through her three-year assignment at Letterkenny.

The Army trains soldiers for specific tasks and it can be difficult to translate those specific skills to civilian employment, she said

Master Sgt. Natasha Hoyle on Monday spent a few minutes in the cool dark of the Hero 2 Hired mobile job store. Her active duty assignment at Letterkenny Army Depot could end in November, or it could be extended.

"It's never too early," Hoyle said.

She found two potential opportunities for a logistics management specialist in Mechanicsburg and in Georgia, near her home in Dallas, N.C. Unlike monster.com and other job searches, H2H caters to her background in the Army, she said.

Hoyle is serving as a liaison to assign soldiers to work at Letterkenny. After four years active duty with the Army, she had helped assemble Freightliner trucks in North Carolina before going active with the Reserves.

H2H, established in December with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, is open to members of the military Reserves and National Guard. It uses an electronic job and career web platform, mobile applications, Facebook integration, and virtual and physical career fairs. "We're not here to generate jobs," said Frank West, who drives the truck and directs participants to the computers. "What we have here are military-friendly employers who want to talk to military people. This is not a resume-file-builder."

Employers sign up to be included in the H2H list, he said.

First Sgt. Scott Wachter said he was curious about H2H.

His second year at Letterkenny ends in September. A middle school science teacher, he's working in logistics at Letterkenny.

"I always like to keep my options open so I can give my family a better life," said the Air Force reservist from Berkeley Springs, W.Va. "I'm very happy where I am. I feel like I'm part of something special here. This has been an opportunity to make myself a better leader."

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