MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Fifty years ago, Marines who just finished a four-year term were basically issued a pat-on-the-back and wished ‘good luck’ to be sent on their merry way back into the civilian world.
In an effort to ease the burdens of transitioning from military lifestyle back into the civilian world, Camp Pendleton hosted the Annual Spring Career and Education Expo at the Pacific Views Event Center, March 22.
“When I first joined, there wasn’t a lot of advice on what was going to happen for life after the Marine Corps,” said Master Sgt. Rick Duran, logistics chief for Marine Special Operations Detachment West and attendee of the event. “Now there is light at the end of the tunnel because there are so many outlets and opportunities for Marines when they get out where they can use what they learned in the service in a civilian job.”
The expo, hosted by Marine Corps Community Services and the Family Member Employment Assistance Program, showcased more than 160 different employers and schools for Marines and their families to explore and get a better understanding of the different opportunities available for them.
“This is the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” said Gammy Rodriguez, transition career specialist, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “We believe the economy is coming back up, so now there are more career opportunities and more companies that want to come and participate.”
The event is hosted semi-annually and features career paths such as federal agencies including FBI and CIA, border patrol, veteran affairs, medical specialists and even other branches of the military.
“We host this event in hopes that the Marines can find a good pathway to get started on their way to a new career,” said Rodriguez. “They gave a lot to our country so it’s up to us to assist them in being successful.”
In addition to the career vendors, local college representatives provided the Marines and families with information on the importance education.
“Nowadays the civilian sector is more dependent on education and college degrees,” said Allison Callahan, an education career technician and co-coordinator of the event. “It’s important for Marines to go to school as well so they are well-rounded and have a wider range and skill set as they are exiting the Corps.”
For more information about FMEAP and transition assistance, call 725-4737 or visit www.usmc-mccs.org.