FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (March 18, 2021) — The Fort Leonard Wood Transition Assistance Program and United Services Organization’s Pathfinder program — which provides professional development resources — are collaborating to open an office dedicated to helping military spouses find jobs.
Named the “Spouses Employment Lounge,” the new space will offer career consultation, resume building and networking opportunities, according to Casey Thompson, USO Transitions team member for the Fort Leonard Wood area.
“We will help them through really any resources that they need,” she said. “This is going to be a place for spouses to feel welcome and comfortable. They’ll be able to come in and use computers to apply for jobs.”
Thompson, who formerly worked as a recruiter, will head the new office, offering services to all spouses on a no-referral-needed, walk-in basis.
She said getting connected to local resources for job hunting can be challenging for military spouses who uproot and travel with their service member.
“That’s just something that can be hard to navigate, especially when you’re new to an installation,” Thompson said. “Really, it’s going to be a one-stop resource shop to get the spouses whatever they need.”
Crystal Bryant-Kearns, who leads the USO Pathfinder program at Fort Riley, Kan., said this initiative came from a desire to work with TAP in alleviating burdens from military spouses.
“It is important to understand that 650,000 military spouses are constantly transitioning to new communities,” she said. “They often have to start over — they start over building social networks, professional networks in their new homes. Like service members, they face lots of stress, but particularly employment stress.”
Bryant-Kearns added the lounge is closely related to USO’s own program for transitioning, which aims to eliminate the stress in five ways.
“We want to focus on employment, education, financial wellness — which is huge — mentoring and access to relevant resources within their community,” she said.
Walter Harris, the transition services manager at TAP, said the lounge is meant to assist spouses both while their service member is arriving to Fort Leonard Wood and when they depart.
“For the spouses to register with the program, all they will need is an ID card,” Harris said.
The Spouses Employment Lounge is tentatively scheduled for a mid-April opening. The office will be located at Bldg. 470, in rooms 2226 and 2226A. Business hours are expected to be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In addition to the lounge, Thompson will be holding a series of professional development workshops for military spouses. For more information ahead of the opening, email Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission