Fort Bliss program helps match spouses with jobs
By DAVID BURGE | El Paso Times | Published: January 18, 2013
The Employment Readiness Program at Fort Bliss wants to remind military spouses that there is plenty of help available to make their job search a little easier.
"You don't have to do it by yourself; we can help," said Deana Garcia, an employment readiness specialist at Fort Bliss.
"We know the area. We know who is looking for employees," Garcia added.
The program is open to active-duty military, retired military, their families and Department of Defense civilian employees, but the main focus is on helping military spouses find work.
Military spouses often face special challenges in trying to find jobs, because they have to move around so much, Garcia said.
Everyone on the Employment Readiness staff is either a military spouse or has been one, Garcia said. That gives them firsthand knowledge of the challenges this group faces.
To get started, job seekers must attend an orientation session in which they can learn about what the program has to offer. Everyone who attends the orientation leaves with one-on-one appointments with Employment Readiness and its partner agency, Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande, the local state employment agency.
Workforce Solutions has an office right next to Employment Readiness in the Army Community Service building, 2494 Ricker Road.
"We work hand in hand," Garcia said.
Bernadette Flores, public affairs coordinator with Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande, said its satellite
location at Fort Bliss works to help military spouses and soldiers who want to transition out of the military find jobs.
"It's kind of the same thing we do at our other locations, but with more of a focus on military families and their challenges," Flores said.
"We help them tap into the El Paso job market, see what's out there, help them with résumé writing, alert them to job fairs we have and provide job coaching," Flores continued. "We do whatever we can in helping them with their employment challenges."
What both programs try to do is provide the help and guidance that's needed to find meaningful work.
Employment Readiness, for instance, offers classes on how to find a federal job, write a résumé, ace your next job interview and network, among other topics. Classes are held throughout the year, and many are held monthly.
It also offers one-on-one assistance to improve job-hunting skills, Garcia said.
"Anyone can fill out an application and turn in a résumé," Garcia said. "But if it's not up to par, you won't get called in for an interview."
All services provided by Employment Readiness and Workforce Solutions are free.
Twice a year, Employment Readiness organizes job fairs. The next one is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Centennial Club, 11199 Sergeant Major Blvd. Garcia hopes that 80 employers will attend. They will need job openings to participate, she said.
The Employment Readiness Program at Fort Bliss holds orientation sessions at 10 a.m. Wednesdays at the Army Community Service building, 2494 Ricker Road.
The orientations are free, as are other services provided by the program.