Transitioning military families to civilian workforce

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- A Hiring Our Heroes Transition Summit was held at the Charleston Club, Aug. 21 to 23, 2017.

HOH is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce foundation initiative to assist veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find employment opportunities outside the military.

“This event has given members and spouses of our local area a chance to really find work they excel at in the civilian sector,” said Sandra Liotti, a 628th Force Support Squadron work life consultant. “Approximately 50 individuals came to support the event, offer their knowledge and provide different options for attendees to pursue.”

Two former military spouses who wanted to help current spouses learn about what’s available to them were Betty Welsh, wife of retired Gen. Mark Welsh III, former chief of staff of the Air Force, and Paula Roy, wife of retired Chief Master Sgt. Jim Roy, former chief master sgt. of the Air Force. Both offered advice and options to military spouses.

“The summit gave attendees the opportunity to get wisdom from someone like me who has been a military spouse for over 30 years,” said Roy. “During the summit, other spouses spoke about their experiences to help others understand how to balance their lives as a spouse and as an employee.”

Welsh is one of the newest ambassadors for HOH. Her role is to provide any information she can to spouses who are seeking new employment options.

“I didn’t have anything like this when I was looking for work,” said Welsh. “I started out job hunting and searching through the employment advertisements in the newspaper. There weren’t any computers for me to use back then. Spouses and military members now have the opportunity to make the transition as easy as possible and I am so proud to be a part of this foundation.”

The summit provided representatives from industries such as law enforcement, aviation manufacturing, mining technologies and transportation. These representatives gave attendees the opportunity to learn about other careers and network with the leaders of the various industries.

“Where they are on their career journey will dictate what the event might offer to them, which is why networking is so important,” said Mick Mahon, a 628th FSS work life consultant. “Whether or not you’re looking to get hired at this very moment, networking gives you the chance to get connected with the people who can open those doors for you.”

Chief Master Sgt. Darrell Amoruso, the 437th Maintenance Group superintendent, is retiring after 30 years of service and is preparing himself to find a new career path.

“I have been a part of the military for over half of my life and this life is all I know,” said Armoruso. “This lifestyle is something these industries are looking for. Taking part in this summit gave me and others a chance to really see what’s out there and who is interested in us. It made me feel better and more prepared for when I finally do retire from here.”

HOH began in 2011 and has helped drop the unemployment rate of Department of Defense members from 15 percent to approximately 3.7 percent. The foundation travels to all U.S. military bases worldwide continuously providing help, knowledge and services to those who are interested.

“This program is a blessing to our military members, veterans and spouses,” said Roy. “HOH itself is constantly growing and evolving to meet the needs of our people as times and opportunities change. I hope everyone takes an opportunity to at least look them up and see if the foundation can help them in any way.”

For more information on HOH, visit their website at https://hiringourheroes.org/.