FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
The first-ever Employment Empowerment Summit was a free event organized by the 92nd Force Support Squadron that hosted a variety of employment resources geared toward helping military spouses and open to separating active duty members and veterans, March 29, 2022.
The summit featured networking opportunities from professionals in the community and classes on resume writing, interview skills, Washington state licensure, and more.
“The original intent was that attendees would get the opportunity to learn new information and skills, but as I watched people interacting, I also believe it was an excellent opportunity for individuals to network with people they may not have had the opportunity to network with any other way,” said Janna Keller, 92nd FSS Force Development flight chief. “Connecting individuals, especially the off-base professionals with our active duty members and spouses, enhance their opportunities to learn about what they want to do next and what they need to put into place to get there.”
Strengthening job skills for military spouses was a pivotal component of the summit, driving conversations about what spouses go through and what can be done to help from an employment perspective.
“One of the goals of today was to have a conversation around employment for military spouses,” said Olivia Burley, Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs military spouse liaison. “I’m interested in hearing what [their] thoughts are, what [their] concerns are, what’s working and what’s not working.”
Attendees had the option to gain skills needed to get their desired job and connect with resource providers and peers.
“We wanted individuals to walk away with the skills they need to have the job they want,” said Keller. “I think it’s imperative to bring those off-base resources here to have those conversations and connect people to start thinking about what it looks like to start working off the base.”
Being uprooted every few years can make it challenging to grow professionally and limit professional opportunities for many separating military members and spouses.
“I came [to the Employment Empowerment Summit] to see if there are any similar situations to mine, because I feel like sometimes as a military spouse you can feel alone, and not realize how many people are going through the same thing,” said a military spouse attending EES. “I went from working three jobs to being a stay-at-home mom for six years now. I came here to listen and observe.”
Having a venue for spouses to network with other spouses and peers alleviated some of that uncertainty.
“I think spouses having opportunities is one of the keys to success for the military,” Keller said. “It adds additional avenues, whether income or contributing to something bigger. I also think that when spouses have opportunities and are working alongside their active duty member, it shows that we can do this and we can do this together, and that becomes a retention benefit.”
Team Fairchild strives to take care of people by growing talent and hosting enhancement workshops to improve partnerships within the community. The EES is another way Fairchild provides skills needed to strengthen military-affiliated individuals’ job prospects.