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USO Pathfinder

Boeing’s veterans promote jobs

Northwest Guardian

Published: 01:37PM February 15th, 2018
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Northwest Guardian

Bill Fehrenbach, left, and Cynthia Ellis, center, conduct a mock interview with Sgt. Shango Harvey, right, during the Pathfinder Employment Readiness Workshop at the Hawk Transition Center Jan. 25.

Unlike many other job fairs on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the USO Pathfinder program’s monthly Employment Readiness Workshop doesn’t include walking around to various business and community group tables and receiving pens, note pads, toys and other marketing freebies.

Instead, the monthly Employment Readiness Workshops offer individual interview and resume help, as well as classroom time to learn about the company partnering with USO Pathfinder for that particular month’s offering.

The Boeing Company — the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems — was the USO Pathfinder partner for the Employment Readiness Workshop at the Hawk Transition Center Jan. 25.

“We’re a community connector,” said Kevin Henry, center operations and programs manager for the USO Pathfinders in Lakewood. “We try to remove the barriers, smooth things out and give a warm hand-off so transitioning service members can have a seamless transfer out and into their new career.”

Henry said Pathfinder opts to partner with various organizations across the country. Many times when service members leave the military, they move back to their home state, which may not be in the immediate area.

The workshops are designed for service members, veterans and military spouses.

Craig Murphy, a retired lieutenant colonel, was one of several veteran Boeing employees who spoke briefly at the event.

“Don’t get discouraged when you are transitioning,” he told the service members who attended the event. “You’re going to get turned down; it’s part of the transition. You’ve got to quantify what you’ve done in the military and sell yourself. You’ve got what it takes, but you have to show how what you’ve done in the military transfers to what (the company) is looking for.”

Murphy retired at JBLM in 1997 after 21 years in the Army and worked for two other organizations before taking a job as a systems product line senior analyst with the Boeing Company two years ago.

“I’ve worked other places, but I love it at Boeing,” he said.

Other speakers suggested applicants need to bring the things that a company is looking for to the top of one’s resume, and also find ways to quickly show an interviewer one is right for the job.

“You’ve got 30 seconds in an interview to articulate all your skills and why we should give you the job,” said Gary Connor, academic and policy engagement for workforce development at Boeing, and Army veteran.

Connor suggested applicants research the company they are applying to prior to being interviewed.

“The more you know, the better questions you can ask,” he said.

As for the Boeing Company, it has about 150,000 employees in 65 countries. Veterans represent 15 percent of its workforce, at about 22,000 people, Connor told workshop attendees.

Several of those who attended said they felt better prepared for their transition after the event, even if they don’t plan to work for Boeing, including Sgt. Shango Harvey, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

Harvey, who is originally from Detroit, plans to transition out of the military in five months. He’s been at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for two years.

Prior to joining the military, Harvey worked in heating and cooling. He plans to move to Nevada to find a job with an HVAC company after ending his military career.

“I’m a supply and logistics guy now, and I’m always open to what’s available, “ he said. “This has given me some ideas, and I don’t want to close myself off to what else is out there.”

The next USO Pathfinder Employment Readiness Workshop will be with Accenture, an international consulting company, at the Hawk Transition Center, 11577 41st Division Drive, Lewis North, Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.

To register, visit tinyurl.com/y8bwvoa3.