Forum focuses on spouse jobs, training

More than a dozen spouses, dependents and other U.S. ID cardholders attended U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s first Spousal Forum on Hiring March 3 at the Community Activity Center.

Greeting attendees was Garrison Commander Col. Noah Cloud and Deputy Garrison Commander Scott Mowry who said this first employment forum will serve as a launching point on where to go from here.

“You (spouses) are very important to us,” Cloud said. “You support our Soldiers and Airmen and they are important to us. We want to be able to fulfill the needs of our Soldiers and their families.”

The forum brought representatives from the Directorate of Human Resources, Workforce Development, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, Army Community Service and U.S. Army Europe G1 to a single location to engage in dialogue, answer questions and provide guidance in the federal hiring process.

Personnel from Defense Commissary Agency, Army & Air Force Exchange Service and the Wiesbaden Community Spouses’ Club, Inc. Thrift Shop were also on hand to provide information about current paid positions available within those organizations.   

“It’s important to have all the people in the right spot being supportive to those looking for opportunity,” Cloud said. “We want to help you understand which opportunities exist and how to get those opportunities.”

Recently the garrison hired five spouses in the on-post housing office. Creating new civilian positions, which many spouses may be eligible for, allows more opportunities for spousal employment within the community.

“Who better represents the needs of the community” than the spouses who live within the community, Cloud said.

The morning session dedicated time to answering questions about general hiring practices, how to find employment opportunities and how to maximize the abundant amount of time many spouses put into volunteer work.

Along with paid positions available throughout the garrison, volunteer opportunities are becoming available in a variety of agencies and organizations as a way to get more spouses and dependents into the federal training systems.

The goal is to provide opportunities for people to get real job training experience and hopefully into some of the training available online or digitally, Cloud and Mowry said.

While volunteering in a role doesn’t guarantee a job within that agency or organization, the volunteer hours will translate into on-the-job experience.

ACS Volunteer Manager Mary Cheney and CPAC representative Angel Rivera Valentin explained how to tally and quantify those hours spent in service so that it translates into job experience during the hiring process.

“Your volunteer hours serve as equal to paid experience. It’s important though to quantify your time in these roles so hiring managers can see you have the same level of expertise. You can upload your volunteer service transcripts to USAJOBS or simply put in the hours and date ranges you were in those roles,” Cheney said.

Anyone who has questions or needs assistance in obtaining their records from the Volunteer Management Information System should contact the Army Volunteer Corps. on Clay Kaserne or CPAC office in Mainz Kastel.

The afternoon session offered an in-depth look at individual resumes and navigating USAJOBS, the main portal for federal jobs.

Three of the main points delivered to participants were:

1. Complete your resume in narrative form — the more detailed the better, especially with dates worked (or volunteered) and highlight functions related to the job posting.

2. Select all preferences in USAJOBS you believe to be applicable — the CPAC reviewers will confirm the selection most advantageous to the individual.

3. Be honest in your assessment responses, but learn to relate job experience that you may not immediately see a correlation with the job posting.

The garrison continues to seek paid and volunteer roles for spouses and dependents. Additional paid positions will be available during the summer at the post office, vehicle registration, commissary, youth sports and ACS , according to human resources and Commissary representatives.