MSEJ July 2016 - Page 14

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Volunteer for Your Career

By: Beth Barter

For military spouses, volunteering is often presented as the next best alternative to employment. If you can’t get a job due to a number of circumstances that are

beyond your control, volunteering is lauded as a way to fill your time and connect to your new community. But what if volunteering could be more than the next best option? When military spouse and Veteran Beth Barter added the title “MSCCN volunteer” to her career path, she found out just how professionally rewarding volunteering could be.

When we PCSed to Wyoming, I didn’t set out to be a volunteer. I had over six years of experience in Instructional Design and I wanted to be able to use those skills. My situation, however, seemed to have other plans. There were no jobs in the area that fit my Instructional Design credentials, and my options felt limited. Commuting 40 miles south to Fort Collins, Colorado just didn’t seem feasible because of the winter storms and winds that the area receives, my husband’s deployments, and my other commitments. After looking at my options, I decided to devote myself to my family and volunteering. I started by volunteering at my son’s school and helping a non-profit that held annual events for female spouses and military members.

Although I made the decision to focus on my family and volunteering, I still kept looking for ways to move my career forward. Over the course of my research, I came across MSCCN and registered for its job assistance services, never dreaming that I was about to find the volunteering opportunity I needed. Additionally, I also signed up and completed all of the free trainings that MSCCN offered; they were my first introduction to Amy Rossi, who would become my future training supervisor. When I completed my training, the employment specialist I was working with mentioned that MSCCN has a Career Corps Volunteer Program—and that a volunteer training position was available.

Before I agreed to be a volunteer, I researched the

program and the position to make sure it would be

the right choice. I was already volunteering locally,

and wanted to make sure that the position would