JEMS job fair assists military families with finding employment

Jobseekers attend the 25th Annual JEMS job fair held Sept. 26 at Club Pearl, Joint Base Pearl-Harbor Hickam.

Story and photo by Brandon Bosworth
Contributing Writer

The Joint Employment Management System (JEMS) held its 25th annual job fair Sept. 26 at Club Pearl, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Recruiters from more than 100 local businesses, mainland companies and government agencies were on hand recruiting to fill job vacancies ranging from entry level to highly technical and professional positions.

“Some of the companies here today don’t even have positions available in Hawaii,” said Susan Hodge, JEMS director. “They come over from the mainland to participate in the job fair.”

While many of the companies already have a connection with JEMS and frequently post job openings on www.jemsjobs.com, others specifically seek them out when they have positions to fill.

“Some of them call us because they heard about us through word of mouth,” said Hodge.

According to Hodge, about 60 percent of those attending the job fair at active duty military or retired. Most of those remaining are military spouses.

“Anyone with a military ID card can use JEMS regardless of branch or status,” she said.

JEMS origins date back 26 years ago, when local military leaders realized there was a serious issue facing service members and their family here in Hawaii.

“Commanding officers realized there was a problem: military family members couldn’t find jobs,” Hodge said. “This was causing financial hardship.”

The initial goal was to help connect military spouses with local employers. Today, JEMS is a family readiness initiative funded by Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Marine Corps Base Hawaii to support their active duty, retirees and family members’ efforts to find employment. JEMS provides this support by being an advocate for job seekers from the military community and serves as a central point of contact for businesses to reach these job seekers.

Job fair attendees said they were impressed by the event.

“I’m looking to see what types of opportunities are out there,” said Operations Specialist Jacoby Dixon, Destroyer Squadron 31, who retires in March 2013. “This is very useful. There is a diverse selection of companies of all sizes providing helpful information.”

Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Francis Andaya, U.S. Pacific Fleet, was on hand to assist his spouse in her job search.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone,” he said. “All sorts of companies, big and small, are here.” Andaya also noticed a wide variety of job seekers. “I see active duty, family members, and retirees,” he said.

While it is hard to say how many people actually find employment at the JEMS job fair, there is reason to believe the event makes a difference.

“In 2011, we had an over $3 million impact on salaries,” said Susan Hodge.

In addition to the annual job fair, JEMS provides services and assistance to job-seekers through their website, www.jemsjobs.com. Registering with the website allows individuals to search for jobs by job title, company name, geographical area, job category, work status, and add date. There is also a resume builder and skills checklist.

For more information, call the JEMS offices at 474-1999 or email PRLH-DLCNRJEMS@navy.mil.

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Category: Life & Leisure