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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Community gives back to transitioning service members

By Cpl. Stephanie Ingersoll | | September 24, 2009

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A variety of organizations lined the walls of the Camp Pendleton South Mesa Club for the 22nd Annual Fall Career and Education Expo, Sept. 24.

Local fire and police departments, truck driving schools, online colleges, four-year institutions, specialty training programs, private detective and personal security companies and many more had one common goal—to support the Camp Pendleton community by offering information about how they can help service members achieve a successful career post-Marine Corps.

About 2,500 Camp Pendleton service members and family members attended the event hosted by Marine Corps Community Services.

“(The fall expo) is an opportunity for transitioning service members and their families to research employment and education as it pertains to civilian life,” said Autumn L. Rillos, an employment consultant for the Family Member Employment Assistance Program with Marine and Family Services. “Many transitioning service members are entering a new phase of their careers, careers as a civilian employee, and we would like to afford them every opportunity to make valuable connections with wonderful companies seeking their expertise.”

Some Marines attend the expo to consider options in the distant future and others merely stop by to see what fun trinkets venders are offering, but many Marines, especially those pending retirement or separation, use the expo as a way to generate ideas for which direction to take after the Marine Corps.

“I came to see what options where available to me,” said Staff Sgt. Enrique Quintanar, motor transport maintenance chief with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “I got out once before. The difference between the options I had then and now is night and day. I highly recommend this event to Marines.”

Not only does the expo help service members post-Marine Corps, it also supports their spouses with employment and educational opportunities.

The expo venders benefit from receiving employees and students with excellent work ethic, high standards, determination, and commitment, which they’ve learned through military service.

“We’re searching out talent with a certain specific skills,” said Tony Morocco, a talent selection specialist for EOD Technology, Inc. “We need highly trained personnel and Marines already have the skill set to do the job. They’re already accustomed to working in hostile environments. They have the values we search for. They can come right on board and work for us,” he said.

Many organizations are also committed to helping transitioning service members leap hurdles and challenges such as paying for education, resume writing and job placement.

“We’re all about hiring Marines and sailors,” said Police Sgt. Alex Peraza, the senior lead officer for military recruitment with the Los Angeles Police Department. “It’s not only helpful to us (to hire former service members), it’s also a community service. It’s a way to give back by offering good jobs to Marines and sailors,” he said.

The next career and education expo is scheduled for spring 2010. For more information, call (760) 725-4737.


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