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Spouse Symposium prepares Team Dover spouses for job hunt

Tamara Rose Olson-Harper, Military Spouse Employment Partnership, speaks during the military spouse education and employment panel March 7, 2018, during the second annual Spouse Symposium at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The speakers, who represented several agencies that typically hire military spouses, spoke about the value of education and job experience when seeking new employment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Tamara Rose Olson-Harper, Military Spouse Employment Partnership, speaks during the military spouse education and employment panel March 7, 2018, during the second annual Spouse Symposium at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The speakers, who represented several agencies that typically hire military spouses, spoke about the value of education and job experience when seeking new employment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Team Dover Spouses interact with local employers during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. More than 40 spouses and 20 vendors attended the full-day event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Team Dover Spouses interact with local employers during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. More than 40 spouses and 20 vendors attended the full-day event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander, speaks to Team Dover spouses March 7, 2018, during the second annual Spouse Symposium at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Griffin welcomed the spouses and spoke about the importance of supporting the families of the Airmen assigned to Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Col. Ethan Griffin, 436th Airlift Wing commander, speaks to Team Dover spouses March 7, 2018, during the second annual Spouse Symposium at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Griffin welcomed the spouses and spoke about the importance of supporting the families of the Airmen assigned to Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Roger Saul, Military One Source, speaks with Airman 1st Class Jonathan Teissonniere, 9th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, about several job opportunities for his spouse during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Spouses of active duty and reserve Airmen were invited to attend the free event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Roger Saul, Military One Source, speaks with Airman 1st Class Jonathan Teissonniere, 9th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, about several job opportunities for his spouse during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Spouses of active duty and reserve Airmen were invited to attend the free event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Spouses of Airmen assigned to Dover Air Force Base interact with local employers during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover AFB, Del. The purpose of the full-day event was to prepare spouses for the installation’s upcoming Transition Summit slated for April 12. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Spouses of Airmen assigned to Dover Air Force Base interact with local employers during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover AFB, Del. The purpose of the full-day event was to prepare spouses for the installation’s upcoming Transition Summit slated for April 12. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Coordinators of the second annual Spouse Symposium stand for a group photo with Col. Ethan Griffin (center), 436th Airlift Wing commander, his wife, Erin Griffin, and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Zimmerman, 436th AW interim command chief, March 7, 2018, during the second annual Spouse Symposium at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The full-day employment education event included several segments, including salary and compensation negotiation, LinkedIn and social media best practices and a career information fair. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Coordinators of the second annual Spouse Symposium stand for a group photo with Col. Ethan Griffin (center), 436th Airlift Wing commander, his wife, Erin Griffin, and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Zimmerman, 436th AW interim command chief, March 7, 2018, during the second annual Spouse Symposium at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The full-day employment education event included several segments, including salary and compensation negotiation, LinkedIn and social media best practices and a career information fair. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Team Dover spouses visit with various employers during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Approximately 20 local employers attended the career information fair to explain employment opportunities to Team Dover spouses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Team Dover spouses visit with various employers during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Approximately 20 local employers attended the career information fair to explain employment opportunities to Team Dover spouses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Trina Brown-Hicks, Humana, speaks with Maj. Nick Freese, 436th Medical Group practice manager, and Airman 1st Class Morgan Stanfield, 436th Medical Group medical records technician, during the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Representatives of the 436th MDG, Military One Source, the USO and several other base organizations set up booths at the career information fair during the event to help inform spouses of the support provided by the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Trina Brown-Hicks, Humana, speaks with Maj. Nick Freese, 436th Medical Group practice manager, and Airman 1st Class Morgan Stanfield, 436th Medical Group medical records technician, during the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Representatives of the 436th MDG, Military One Source, the USO and several other base organizations set up booths at the career information fair during the event to help inform spouses of the support provided by the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Spouses of Airmen assigned to Dover Air Force Base interact with local employers during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover AFB, Del. More than 40 spouses attended the full-day event to learn more about modern employment practices and to speak with local employers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Spouses of Airmen assigned to Dover Air Force Base interact with local employers during the career information fair segment of the second annual Spouse Symposium March 7, 2018, at Dover AFB, Del. More than 40 spouses attended the full-day event to learn more about modern employment practices and to speak with local employers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Team Dover hosted the second annual Spouse Symposium employment education event March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The full-day event was open to all active duty and reserve spouses seeking gainful employment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)
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Team Dover hosted the second annual Spouse Symposium employment education event March 7, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The full-day event was open to all active duty and reserve spouses seeking gainful employment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- 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.”