Story & Photos by SPC Charles Ames - Posted Mar, 2001
Why would any organization encourage its employees to attend a job fair? For the citizen soldiers of the National Guard, it makes perfect sense. It's just one more way to ensure that families are cared for. It was the grand opening of the new Washington National Guard Job Service Center, held in building 33 during the February drill weekend.
The Family Support Office, located on Camp Murray opened the doors of its new Job Service Center recently, with the help of some very special and dedicated Guardsmen. A hundred Guardsmen milled about the dozen stands set up by employers such as the Washington State Patrol, Pierce County Sheriffs Department, Fed-Ex & UPS.
There was a ribbon cutting ceremony, dignitaries were present, speeches, that sort of thing - but this was all about the Guardsmen and their families. LTC Beverly White, Coordinator for Family Programs for the Washington National Guard beamed with excitement at a dream come to fruition. "From here we can give our Guardsmen and their families the tools they need to find a new and better job."
With only a few funded positions, the Family Support program relies heavily on volunteers. The Job Service Center has been the pet project of one particularly driven volunteer - the center's Coordinator, CSM (Ret) Ronald Graves of the Washington State Guard. He had already been working on the center for six months just preparing for this day. Now the real work starts! "We assist our Guardsmen and their family members in finding employment, help them to write their rsums... we can even help them improve their interview techniques." Though retired from the Washington Army National Guard, Graves stays busy working with the Washington State Guard, an auxiliary of the Army National Guard.
Technology will eventually play a significant part in the operation of the center. CSM (Ret) Graves is working with National Guard database administrators to enhance his operation. "Our long-term goal includes a computer network linked to employers vacancies so that when an individual walks into the office, and he's interested in such-and-such, I can bring up that particular area and say this is what I have open, what would you be interested in doing, setting up an appointment for the interview, making sure they've got hard copies and disks of their rsums and send them off to their prospective interviews."
Apart from the employers present at the opening, CSM (Ret) Graves has enlisted another new recruit to help him out - the Washington Employment Security Department. Sal Cantu is Employment Security's Veterans Representative for Pierce County. He commends CSM (Ret) Graves for its success. "He's done a great job and has a solid, workable plan for the future. I think this is going to turn out to be an excellent partnership between the National Guard and the Employment Security Department."
A larger job fair will be held at the same location on March 21st, 2001. That event will be geared toward opportunities for women and will recognize March as National Women's History Month, and honor the contributions of women in the military, on this 10th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm.
The new Job Service Center is now open for business during normal duty hours. It is located just inside the main Camp Murray gate, in building 33.
Volunteer-power runs this great new facility. If you'd like to volunteer some of your time to help Guard families, please contact the Job Service Center at...
... or email...