RAFM A&FRC offers TEAMS workshop to aid spouse employment

  • Published
  • By Karen Abeyasekere
  • 100th ARW Public Affairs

A Transition Employment Assistance for Military Spouses – known as TEAMS – workshop was held at Royal Air Force Mildenhall Feb. 23 and 24, 2022. The workshop was the first in U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa to be held in-person rather than virtually, at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Run and taught by the Department of Labor, the spouse-specific curriculum focuses on the challenges of being a military spouse throughout all stages of employment, and is aimed at both spouses with active-duty members getting ready to retire and separate, and those new to the Air Force and looking for employment on and off base.

“We wanted to be able to bring spouses together to network, so they could talk to each other and discuss employment to get the hands-on knowledge and be able to share that with each other,” said Elizabeth Bland, 100th Force Support Squadron A&FRC transition manager.

Due to COVID-19, Bland explained that spouses were restricted from coming to the Transition Assistance Program classes because there weren’t enough seats for active-duty members who are required to attend.

“Initially we wanted this workshop to be just for the spouses, however, we opened it up to all, so it also includes those transitioning out of the military as well as those just arriving,” she said.

Fourteen Team Mildenhall spouses, some former military, and Airmen signed up to the two-day, four-module workshop.

“I think people underestimate that finding a job is a job in itself, and just reacting to job announcements doesn’t necessarily get you the interview that you need. This program – along with other things that we offer at the A&FRC – gives people an opportunity to work out a plan on how to secure interviews,” said Helen Ansell, 100th FSS A&FRC employment manager. “It also gets them prepared, but also gives them the tools to plan the next move; how to take these skills forward and what they need to work towards when they do find themselves back in a solely civilian environment.

“I help with off base employment, which people might not have been able to research,” remarked Ansell. “One of the many things covered in the TEAM workshop is how to research and how to look into the job market in the area. It’s a whole approach exploring the job of looking for a new career.”

The workshop’s curriculum focuses on the challenges of being a military spouse throughout all stages of employment.

“A lot of times we have spouses who are very qualified with degrees, education and experience coming to an overseas, or really any location, trying to find employment. This is beneficial as it will help them no matter what stage they are at in their career,” said Bland.

Ansell explained that one of the primary problems is putting together the different types of resumés and teaching people how to best present themselves, and the workshop includes modules covering both federal and civilian resumés.

“That’s where a lot of people can fall down in employment applications, because they don’t have the right type of resumé,” she said.

Spouses attending the workshop said it was very beneficial.

“It provided me the information I needed in terms of resources, so rather than try and independently search for everything I need, we were provided the websites for us as well as going over how to format a resumé,” said Amanda Latimer, 7th Special Operations Squadron spouse. “We went over both civilian and federal because there are huge differences! One thing they explained was never to put your address on a civilian resumé, as it can be looked up online and could have many negative implications.

“My husband persuaded me to sign up for the workshop to get me out of the hotel room – we just arrived at RAF Mildenhall a couple of weeks ago – to make connections. I’m also quite introverted so don’t do well with meeting new people; once I do then I’m usually pretty good, but it’s just getting myself out there in the first place,” said Latimer. “I’d absolutely recommend this to other spouses. A lot of things you thought you knew just change over time, so we constantly have to keep up with everything that’s going on, so as a spouse we might have to change career fields. I’ve heard that once you get into a federal position it’s much easier to transfer to other federal jobs, whereas getting your foot in the door to one of those positions is much more difficult, so this is a huge help, especially with the networking you can do.”