Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- Hundreds of people flowed through aisles of the semi-annual job fair held at the Community Center Sept. 21 as employers and opportunities came knocking for Combat Center service members and their families.
The more than 430 attendees were greeted with a roar of voices inside as they meandered around to the 56 vendors at the Marine Corps Community Services-organized event.
“We had 59 vendors signed up this time, but we had a couple of last minute cancellations, which always occurs. We also had a few cancellations because of Hurricane Katrina,” said Virginia Sulick, one of the day’s coordinators from the Family Member Employment Assistant Program specialist with the MCCS Career Resource Office here.
“Home Depot was one of a few companies who had to send their people in for relief efforts and could not make it today,” said Sulick.
The main groups offering recruitment into their ranks were various law enforcement and security agencies, both from the regional area as well as from across the country.
“We have a number of law enforcement agencies here today, since they are one of the most requested employers service members want to talk to when transitioning,” said Sulick.
“But we also have commercial retail, educational institutions, resort and hotel services, home-based businesses, government contractors and also placement services that represent a number of companies and can determine where that individual would be most valuable,” Sulick continued.
One of the job fields that Sulick said she would like to see better represented in the next job fair in April is home businesses.
“My goal is to try to expand on the home-based businesses area next year,” said Sulick. “It is something that is valuable because it is very transportable for spouses. Military families move all the time, and those are jobs you can take right with you.”
“But it’s always a goal for us to expand, and I hope to see more service members come, as well as more vendors in general, in the spring,” said Sulick.
The numbers at the event were impressive not only to those who coordinated the event, but also to vendors such as Staff Sgt. Damon W. Brummett, Marine For Life program representative from recruiting station San Diego, 12th Marine Corps Recruiting District, who travels to job fairs like these throughout southern California.
“Two weeks ago I was at a similar event down at [Marine Corps Air Station] Miramar, and that was actually a larger career fair, but had less Marines attending,” said Brummett. “Here I would say there is a great ratio of employers to educators rather than the other way around at Miramar. What I think is that Marines are really looking for jobs, and maybe get their education a little later.”
“A lot of these employers are coming from a national level and want to come to the Camp Pendleton fair, and this is beneficial for Twentynine Palms where they can do both,” said Brummett. “If they can keep scheduling these career fairs at the same time, only good things can come of it — they will get more employers and that means more Marines.”
Job fairs such as these are excellent ways for transitioning Marines to find a job before they get out as well as a way for spouses new to the area to get ahead on finding a job, said Sulick.
“This is a very economical event for someone,” said Sulick. “You might have a spouse who is no longer able to contribute to the family budget after moving here so this is a great way to get them to know what’s available. It’s really a kick-start, because they are able to see more people in one day than they might be able to in several weeks.”
“I also think that [job fairs] are great for Marines transitioning out of the Corps,” said Sulick. “This gives them an idea that they are marketable and that people are looking for those qualities that they have. It’s a stepping stone so you can know that you’re not feeling like you’re just jumping off into the abyss.”