Patrons seek opportunities at job fair, education expo

29 Sep 2011 | Pfc. Nik Phongsisattanak

Service members, retirees, families, base employees and Coastal Carolina Community College students, some curious and others seeking a new plan for their futures, arrived with questions and resumes in hand for the Job Fair and Education Exposition at Goettge Memorial Field House and Marston Pavilion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 29.

“These guys have an opportunity to get a glimpse of what type of jobs and careers are available to them,” said Josh Chandler, a detective representing the Roanoke Police Department’s recruiting booth at the event.

More than 140 employers and schools set up their booths to showcase their organizations and education courses. Representatives answered questions, took resumes and some even executed on-the-spot interviews.

“I’m excited to check out the vendors with robotics,” said Cpl. John Ostrander, a logistics embarkation specialist with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.

This event has been held aboard the base for more than 10 years and brings new vendors each year.
Peter Harris, the education chief with John A. Lejeune Education Center, MCB Camp Lejeune, said it gives the service members and the surrounding community an opportunity to see what sort of programs may be available to them, so that they can achieve their goals.

Within the first two hours of starting the fair and expo, more than 600 patrons attended both events.

“We have our local colleges and universities, and we also have our distance learning programs,” said Harris.
The schools offered many avenues of education from certificate programs to master’s degrees. Those in attendance left with business cards and brochures, but they also left with a better idea of what they may want to pursue in the future.

“A lot of Marines get out and they don’t have a plan,” said Ostrander. “It’s good to have events like this because it gives us an idea of what we could do for a future career.”

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos is proactive about having events and programs to offer a helping hand to Marines, whether they are still serving or have left the Corps.

According to Harris, there is a mandate for base education centers to improve the programs that they have to accommodate the mission of assisting service members and patrons in obtaining a career or education.

“The old education center was a 10-classroom facility that had tents and tables with maybe 10 to 15 schools,” said Harris. “But now we’re utilizing a building that can house hundreds of different (vendors).”

“It has improved drastically. When I first came in, you as the individual had to actively seek out the resources available and try to use them. But now there is a partnership between the programs, organizations and service members,” continued Harris. “I think that this event is a great opportunity, and people really need to take advantage of it. What we do on our end is try to improve the educational awareness aboard (MCB) Camp Lejeune and (Marine Corps Air Station) New River.”

Lance Cpl. Jacob Howard, a logistics vehicle system operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, agreed that the event was great.

“It’s reassuring to know that there are programs and events that are here to help him,” said Howard.

The next expo will be held this coming spring. For more information on the Job Fair call 449-9706 and for information on the Education Expo call 451-9076. To speak with an education counselor with the Education Center, call 451-3091.