Soldiers speak with prospective employers and educational institutions during the Fort Jackson Education and Career Fair held May 16 in the NCO Club. (Photo by Robert Timmons)

Fair brings jobs, education

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

It wasn’t all about cookies and cake pops. It was about jobs and education with those delights sprinkled on top.

See this was Fort Jackson’s Education and Career Fair held at the NCO Club on post and the sweets were provided by companies looking to hire service members and their families.

The cherry on top was the educational opportunities offered by educational institutions like the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina, Midlands Technical College and more.

The NCO Club was nearly packed, May 16, as educational institutions and prospective employers gathered for the fair.

“A lot of energy has gone into advertising, marketing and hand-picking employers” who attended the fair, said Carolyn Andrews, transition services manager for Fort Jackson. “We have some super ones here ... It is really hard (for an employer) to get in here because they want the military and spouse talent.”

There were 32 educational institutions, and 37 employers present at the Directorate of Human Resources and Army Community Services hosted fair.

“We have 12 employers who say that hiring a military spouse in a priority,” Andrews said.

She added military spouses and service members are great hires because “they are reliable, and fully trained.” The prospective employees also have “great soft skills and their experience is tremendous compared to those outside” the military.

This was the first time ACS has partnered with DHR to put on the fair.

One of ACS’ nine core programs is employment readiness, said Danielle Hanson, ACS specialist.

“Our foundation is hiring military spouses,” Hanson said, “and support transitioning Soldiers.”

The events are a “reminder that we are here to support you,” she said.

Ramona Ortiz’s first impression upon entering the fair was “Wow” because of the number of employers and institutions present. “I wasn’t expecting that many,” she said.

“This is very important,” said Ortiz, whose husband works for Child, Youth Services on post, “because there are not a lot of advocacy for spouses” outside of Fort Jackson. “So, coming here and having a resource I think is very important.”