News: MCRD helps transitioning Marines find career paths
Story by Lance Cpl. Eric Quintanilla
SAN DIEGO — Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego hosted its semi-annual Career and Education Fair at the Semper Fit Fieldhouse, Feb. 1.
The Career and Education fair had 120 booths set up with information on military friendly organizations looking to help service members and their families meet their goals.
“This is a great opportunity to find out the various fields open to you,” said Staff Sgt. Kelly Miller, Marine musician, Service Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion. “Some people don’t know the things that are available to the military.”
The depot hosts these fairs in order to ensure attendees get the information they need to further their careers, in or out of the military. The fair can help service members find a college that fits their needs or an employer seeking their skills.
“Some Marines have been doing this for so long they don’t know how to do anything else,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jeff Brownfield, operations chief, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
This year’s fair has been the largest ever and attracted 648 service members and spouses. All colleges present were researched to ensure they were accredited and eligible for tuition assistance and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits.
“It’s a time for them to present their programs to the service members,” said Annie Villalon, education and career specialist, Personal and Professional Development. “[Service members] have different needs and goals.”
Many companies made sure to highlight the need for military-specific skills to create a smooth transition into the civilian work force. Employers often recognize the leadership abilities that come from serving in the military.
“We know how the transitioning process can be stressful,” said Mina Threat, career resource specialist, Personal and Professional Development. “One thing that can help to minimize that stress is finding a job.”
Another purpose of the fair is to ensure that service members transitioning out of the military don’t have a break between paychecks, according to Threat.
Although many of the organizations were catered toward service members getting out of the military, there were companies looking for spouses to fill their positions as well. The companies who attended understand the unique situations that can come into play with the military, such as frequent moves.
“Some employers don’t like to hire spouses because they know they are going to leave in two to three years,” said Threat. “We try and connect with companies that understand military spouse life.”
The Career and Education Fair are held together to give attendees the option to find a school that can assist them in qualifying for a career they are interested in, explained Villalon.
“We work with education and career at the same time because some companies require a specific type of education to get the job,” said Villalon. “So right then and there they can go find the school that provides the education.”
For more information concerning career or education opportunities contact Mina Threat or Annie Villalon at (619) 524-1849 or (619) 524-1275.