CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The Personal and Professional Development Branch of Marine and Family Programs hosted their first Transition Resource Fair for approximately 200 service members, Jan. 22.
The fair was held to provide service members with resources to enhance their quality of life while transitioning out of the military.
“The Transition Resource Fair was created to address some of the personal challenges that military members face when leaving the military,” said Kristen Newsome, a Personal and Professional Development outreach advisor. “Sometimes there are problems with things like housing, legal issues and support services for spouses; our goal is to bridge that gap.”
The fair showcased programs and services that can benefit participants in various aspects of their move from military to civilian life.
“We have 25 vendors present,” said Newsome, who is also the lead event coordinator for the TRF. “We have the Support The Enlisted Project, the Home Strong Program and on-base training programs for active duty members so that they can be employment ready as they transition out.”
Many of the vendors stressed to their visitors the importance of knowing where to look for help and also knowing that there are many programs available to them after they reach their Expiration of Active Service date.
“My hope is that Marines will walk away today knowing that when they EAS there will still be support programs available to them and they will be more proactive in seeking out the programs they need,” said Newsome.
Some of the Marines who attended had specific vendors they wanted to meet with.
“I’ve got a lot of resources and insight from this experience on the steps I should be taking to prepare for getting out of the military,” said Sgt. Logan Rogers, a switchboard operator and maintainer with the Headquarters Regiment of 1st Marine Logistics Group. “I’m really excited about the [Career Transition Assistance Program] vendor because they bring in employers who teach you how to interview for the jobs they are hiring.”
A community representative with San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s office was also in attendance to observe and connect with the vendors.
“Since my original visit here to Camp Pendleton, I’ve been marketing the transition fair to some of the businesses that I know in San Diego that are veteran owned,” said Darnisha Hunter, an advocate for veterans and the military with the San Diego Mayor’s Office.
Hunter is presently working on a project that will benefit service members and works with employers who support them.
“One of the things I’m pushing for in the mayor’s office is a military directory,” said Hunter. “One of the criteria to be on the directory is that the organization has a tried and proven record of helping military families here in the city and county of San Diego. I knew that the people in this room would meet that criteria and we would like to add them to the directory.”
Master Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Martinez, a motor transportation maintenance chief with the I Marine Expeditionary Force attends events like this whenever they are available and encourages his Marines to do the same.
“Events like this are vital for Marine and Navy personnel, whether they plan on getting out in four years or 30 years,” said Martinez. “It’s never too early, or too late to prepare for your future.”
For more information contact the Transition Readiness Facility and Career Center at (760) 725-4395.