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United States Army
Army Community Service - Employment Readiness Program (ERP)
202 Custer Road
Fort Myer, VA 22211
It’s likely that employment will change when a move occurs, especially for military spouses. The information below will provide you with employment assistance information and resources available such as SECO, MyCAA and MSEP Portals.
The National Capital Region (NCR) has an abundant and varied job market with plentiful opportunities in areas such as Defense contracting, association/non-profit management, healthcare, education, retail sales and of course federal employment. A significant portion of these jobs are located inside “the Beltway” where commutes are shorter but housing costs higher. While DC, Alexandria, Arlington and Crystal City offer the highest concentration of government and defense affiliated opportunities, there are several suburban corporate centers around the Beltway that offer ample employment options as well. Examples of these beyond-the-beltway commercial centers include Reston, Tysons Corner, Silver Spring and Bethesda. The Fort Belvoir area, where many military families choose to live, will see increased employment opportunities as current BRAC initiatives relocate several agencies there with up to 21,000 additional personnel by 2011.
According to Department of Labor statistics, the Washington–Baltimore–Northern Virginia median wage is $24.80. Samples of private sector median wages include: retail cashier ($9.00), secretary/administrative assistant ($19.95), medical assistant ($14.89), registered nurse ($32.00) and network administrator ($33.22).
With a current unemployment rate of 6.1 % for the Northern Virginia-DC metro region, the area has not seen the same drastic unemployment crisis that other regions have. Those persons seeking entry level, middle or upper management positions will find no shortage of job openings. However, the region has a highly skilled work force, so competing for your dream job requires patience and flexible expectations! There are many local staffing agencies who offer temporary positions and this route provides more immediate income while pursuing your long-term career objective.
A large presence of DoD agencies and military installations are located in the DC area. These organizations offer federal employment opportunities most of which are posted on usajobs.gov. However, it is important to note that many departments (i.e. Army, Navy, DLA, FBI, etc.) require resumes to be built and submitted through their own individual web sites.
NAF (Non Appropriated Funds) positions exist in a wide variety of areas that support Soldiers and their families. Positions may be found in child development, food and beverage management (Clubs), bowling, recreation, hotels and billeting, clerical and administrative, to name a few. NAF programs offer many benefits and extend hiring preference to eligible military Family members. NAF opportunities exist at all DOD installations around the region, so include those sites in your search.
The Employment Readiness Program (ERP) at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall ACS provides counseling and assistance with job skills assessment, resume writing, federal applications and navigating the local job market. The program also offers a local job board, computer, printer and fax access for job hunting purposes. In addition, a bi-weekly Job Search Strategies seminar is held at ACS to educate job seekers on local employment options, both federal and private sector, and provide an overview of employment search services. To schedule an orientation, call 703-696-3047 (DSN 312-426-3047).
The Arlington Employment Center, a “Career One Stop” center, is located nearby and is easily accessible by Metro. It is highly recommended that job seekers employ a “multi-resourced” approach to their search. The more agencies and contacts you utilize, the more powerful your job search network will be!
Depending on the jobs targeted, especially in the federal sector, it is important to carry several documents with you that may be required when applying for jobs. For example, prior federal employees will need a copy of their last SF-50–essential for military spouses who wish to enroll in the DOD Priority Placement Program. Other necessary documents may include your marriage license and PCS Orders (to determine eligibility for spouse preference), college transcripts, performance appraisals, certificates, licenses and social security card.
Separating or retiring members are encouraged to register with ACAP in Bldg. 230, Forrest Circle. ACAP offers a wide range of employment assistance services along with benefits counseling to transitioning Soldiers. Contact ACAP for more information at 703-696-0973.
For information on MyCAA and Military Spouse Education and Career Opportunities, visit Military OneSource.
Higher education institutions are plentiful in the region and job seekers would be wise to consider expanding their skill set through additional training and/or college courses if their job search is moving slowly. The Education Center, Bldg. 417, Sheridan Avenue, offers information about tuition assistance programs and several local colleges and universities have offices that offer classes on the installation.
The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) has offices in several Northern Virginia locations and offers resources and help for finding jobs—the VEC is also the agency to visit if filing for unemployment compensation. However, unless you have worked in Virginia in the last 18 months or have just returned from a federal position overseas, you will likely need to file in the state where you were last employed (see VEC website for details).
The unemployment rates for the area are: 5.9% in Virginia, 6.9% in Maryland and 8.7% in WashingtonD.C. Median household income for the area is: $ $86,680. Spouse employment information and assistance is available through the ACS Employment Readiness Program, 703-696-3047/3510.