MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Events like the semi-annual Career and Education Fair, held March 23, 2011 at the West Gym and Fitness Center, help keep the Combat Center community from becoming part of a frightening statistic.
According to the California Employment Development Department, the unemployment rate is hovering at 12.4 percent for non-military citizens and 9.8 percent for military veterans.
“Last quarter, California Marines drew $10 million in unemployment insurance claims,” said Virginia Sulick, the Combat Center’s Career Resource Office manager. “If we can help Marines find jobs before they get out, then we’re going to help the Marine Corps as well as the service member.”
Many participants said they were taken aback by the size of the event.
“I am very surprised at all the opportunities,” said Staff Sgt. Jesse Silvas, the administrative chief with Delta Co., 4th Tank Battalion. “It’s an eye-opener with all the other people out there looking for jobs.”
Hiring companies and schools looking to fill enrollment quotas knew this was a great time to receive new employees and students. With all the competition in the same room, they were putting their best foot forward.
Ken Enfinger, local site manager and recruiter for Troop Transitions, said his company has helped train and secure jobs for many service members as a result of career fairs like this one.
Among the presenters was a success story from the Combat Center.
Austin Sanderson, a student at Yavapai College and Guidance Helicopter School, finished his active duty contract last November and just started his first semester in the school. He credited his time in the military for him being able to complete school.
“If I didn’t join the military and learn what it offered me, I probably wouldn’t have been able to join this course,” Sanderson said. “There is a lot of self-discipline in going to school.”
Others broadened what being in the military can do to give young Marines an edge over their peers.
“[The Marine Corps teaches Marines] strength of purpose, organizational skills and the ability to represent themselves. It’s [that] self-confidence a lot of people their age would not be able to pull off,” Sulick said.
For more information on upcoming career and education fairs or job opportunities, contact Sulick at 830-4029.