Workshop helps female veterans transition into civilian careers
By AMANDA DOLASINSKI | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: June 9, 2016
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — In the coming months, these female soldiers at Fort Bragg will leave behind their uniforms to take on new jobs in the civilian world.
"It's bittersweet," said Meghan Lyon, who has been a military police officer for the past seven years. "It's overwhelming and exciting."
She was among about 50 women from Fort Bragg who participated Wednesday in Operation Reinvent, a nonprofit organization specializing in helping female veterans transition into civilian careers. The workshop helps women gain confidence, polish their resumes and learn to dress professionally.
This year, the workshop was held over a webcast so a group from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, also could participate. Another workshop will be held at the Soldier Support Center on Fort Bragg today.
The workshop connected the women directly to experts in human resources, workforce initiatives and job interviewing.
Lyon, whose job is dominated by males, said she appreciated the workshop was targeted for women.
"To be in a room full of women going through the same experience, it's awesome," she said.
Lyon joined the military after she graduated from high school in Virginia. All she's ever known has been working as a military police officer, she said.
The workshop eased her fears that she would be embarking on a career without vast experience.
"Everyone starts somewhere," she said. "These women gave me a whole new outlook."
Before Lyon jumps into a civilian law enforcement career, she said she wants to explore other fields.
"There's so many opportunities," she said. "This is all I've done since I came out of high school. I want to have other experiences."
Julie Lewit-Nirenberg, founder of Operation Reinvent, said the U.S. Department of Labor found female veterans have a higher unemployment rate than male veterans. The workshop helps women prepare as they transition out of the military, she said.
"The transition process is fraught with uncertainty, elation, joy and scariness," Lewit-Nirenberg said. "So what we are providing is the tool box. It's up to the women to take the tools and use them."
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