Spouse Symposium prepares Team Dover spouses for job hunt

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Happy wife = happy life. This age-old adage described the secrets to success in the traditional relationship of a bygone era. If the wife was happy, the marriage would be fulfilled.

Contemporary marriages are less cookie-cutter. Not all families have the luxury of a stay-at-home spouse. Many marriages rely on the incomes of both spouses, and a growing number of households are built on the shoulders of two professionals each seeking their own career progression.

“Today’s culture of professionalism can cause spouses to experience a lot of stress associated with the military lifestyle,” said James Brown, Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness technician. “His or her professional desires are often placed on the back burner to follow their spouse who is obligated to go when and where the government says to go. This makes it particularly challenging for spouses to pick up and move their profession to a new area.”

With this in mind, members of Dover AFB hosted the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, intended to help spouses find gainful employment in the local area. Approximately 40 spouses and 20 local employers attended the event.

“The goal of the Spouse Symposium is to provide military spouses with the resources, tools and career guidance to prepare for current and future employment opportunities,” said Susan Holliday, 436th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center director. “This forum was targeted to military spouses who were planning to enter or re-enter the workforce, or for those who were looking to take the next step toward their professional career.”

The event featured panel discussions, personal accounts, tutorials and a small career information fair.

“It was very informative,” said Angela Lewis, the wife of Master Sgt. Christopher Lewis, 436th Operations Support Squadron wing tactics superintendent, about the symposium. “There were real people sharing real experiences to help us on our journey to find meaningful employment. I loved the vendors they brought in from a variety of careers and also the booths set up to help us spouses better understand what the base had to offer us.

“We got even more tools for our toolboxes,” Lewis said. “I used to have a screwdriver and a hammer, but now I have a socket wrench too. I didn’t even know how valuable LinkedIn was until I just learned about it, so you know what I did? I just created an account during one of the breaks. I’m so glad they held this event and I was able to attend.”

Coordinators also hoped the event would prepare military spouses for the upcoming Transition Summit slated for April 12 here.

This upcoming employment opportunity is open to all active duty and reserve Airmen and their spouses with the goal of improving retention and resilience. It is also intended to ease the stress of transitioning from the military to civilian workforce for Airmen looking to separate or retire from the military.

“The 2018 Transition Summit is one of the many resources we offer our Airmen and their families going through life transitions,” Holiday said of the upcoming event. “Whether it be moving to or from Dover; acclimating to the military culture; transitioning out of active duty to civilian life; or looking at a new career life chapter, AFRC representatives are here to ensure they have the vital tools and information to make an educated, creditable decision.”

While the base is ramping up for the upcoming Transition Summit, the spouses who attended the recent symposium are reflecting on the stories, training and skills they received at this event.

“The Spouse Symposium provided Dover AFB spouses with the unique opportunity to network, learn about current hiring practices, hear real-life stories and, for the lucky few, get hired,” said Erin Griffin, wife of Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander. “I hope everyone was able to walk away today with more tools and knowledge to help them feel empowered for success; I know I did! I look forward to watching the spouse symposium grow and continue to cater to the needs of Team Dover spouses.”