FMEAP helps military members get the job

1 Nov 2006 | Lance Cpl. Regina N. Ortiz

Studies confirmed that spouses’ employment issues have an effect on retention and readiness of military members, which prompted the Department of Defense Military Family Act of 1985 and the Family Member Employment Assistance Program, according to the Marines Quick Series Guide to FMEAP.

FMEAP assists military family members ages 16 and older with a variety of services, said Virginia Sulick, employment development section, Marine Corps Community Services Career Resource Office.

The program offers job fairs, libraries, computer tutorial programs, referrals to job opportunities in the local community, workshops, career planning, self-assessments, resume writing, vocational testing and any employment assistance for military family members, said Sulick.

“We like to find out what they like to do and what they can do,” she explained. “Then start the career exploration process.”
There are two different types of clients that Sulick encounters at her office; people who need a job right away, and people who want to grow and find a career, she said.

Either way, FMEAP can help all types of employment seekers. The first step for all clients is building a resume by gathering proof of experiences and skills, such as diplomas, degrees, transcripts, awards and certificates.

FMEAP can even help clients build skills and receive certification in computer programs that help get job seekers hired, said Sulick.

“We have access to a self-paced program by Microsoft that certifies a client in Word, Excel and PowerPoint that has really made a difference in getting clients hired at higher salaries,” she explained.

Clients are given classes on how to dress for success, prepping for interviews and the interview process.

Sulick and other CRO representatives hold mock interviews for their clients to help build confidence and develop good interviewing skills, she said.

“We also advise clients on the questions that are allowed to be asked and they don’t have to answer,” said Sulick. “We teach them how to politely avoid answering questions that they aren’t required to answer.”

There are questions that are legally not allowed to be asked by an interviewing employer, depending on the state, said Sulick. The CRO is able to give guidelines for job seekers to follow on states’ equal opportunity laws.

A liaison between Sulick and local employers is important to maintain so she and her staff have knowledge of jobs as soon as they are open, she said.

“It’s also cost effective for the employer,” she explained. “They don’t have to spend the money on a classified advertisement.”

Sulick is also there for her clients after they are hired and move on to pursue their careers. She keeps a file on all of her clients for three years that includes their resume, copies of their certifications and other information about each client, she said.

“There have been times that a client had needed their resume right away and I was able to e-mail it to within minutes,” she said.

FMEAP has been helping military family members get jobs and start careers for the past 21 years and is constantly looking to improve its services.
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