ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Military members from the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, attended a “SUPER Skills Employment Certification” workshop at the Freedom Community Center, March 3-5, 2021.
The workshop was part of the Military Spouse Employment State initiative – a Department of Defense program focused on helping service members and their families find employment after a move or separation from the military.
“These skills are really important, especially for military spouses and transitioning service members,” said Christine McElreath, 97th Force Support Squadron community readiness specialist. “This training is bridging that gap, re-orienting ourselves with civilian employers and how to better communicate our skills and what we bring to the table.”
The workshop taught participants how to network, create a targeted resume, deliver a 60-second pitch, and build rapport during an interview. Since 2013, the skills taught at the workshop have helped more than 1,300 transitioning service members find employment.
Meegan Kriley-Mackay designed the workshop as part of her “Skills for L.I.F.E. Foundation” – an entity she created when her husband, an evaluator pilot stationed here, had difficulty finding employment after leaving the Air Force.
“Most people have the skills to do the job,” said Kriley-Mackay. “Their skill sets qualified them to do a job, but outside of the military culture, it is very difficult to get the job. Our focus is on interactive learner-based training. As facilitators, we assess hard technical skills in addition to people skills. It's about verbal, nonverbal, listening and written communication, all of which is a learned skill set.”
After completing the workshop, participants put their new skills to use by networking with community officials during an official ribbon cutting ceremony launching a new, collaborative, free-to-use work center located on the second floor of the local NBC Bank.
McElreath said base, community, and business leaders teamed up to create the center in order to give military spouses feeling isolated at home, whether employed or unemployed, the chance to take part in a communal work environment. The leaders felt both the training and facility initiatives were important, especially in smaller communities where finding employment can be more difficult.
“We have a lot of military spouses that work from home and they take their jobs with them,” said McElreath. “They can feel secluded in their homes and not really able to get out and interact in the community or with other spouses. This new facility will provide them with that human connection and they can continue to work on their skills. We really want to get them integrated into the community to network.”
Kriley-Mackay said the foundation plans to conduct the workshop in the Altus area quarterly to give military families more opportunities to receive instruction.