News Local

New employment program launched

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

On Friday, the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre accepted $10,000 from Canada Company, to pay for the launch and operating the METSpouse job program for Garrison Petawawa. In the photo are, starting from left,  Garrison Petawawa Chief Warrant Officer CWO Bill Richards; Todd Stride, Senior Manager and Community Development, Military Family Services; Claudia Beswick, Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre executive director; Kerry Wheelehan, METSpouse director (Canada Company); Louise Anderson, PMFRC employment services co-ordinator, and Col. Mark Misener, Garrison Petawawa and 4CDSG commander.

On Friday, the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre accepted $10,000 from Canada Company, to pay for the launch and operating the METSpouse job program for Garrison Petawawa. In the photo are, starting from left, Garrison Petawawa Chief Warrant Officer CWO Bill Richards; Todd Stride, Senior Manager and Community Development, Military Family Services; Claudia Beswick, Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre executive director; Kerry Wheelehan, METSpouse director (Canada Company); Louise Anderson, PMFRC employment services co-ordinator, and Col. Mark Misener, Garrison Petawawa and 4CDSG commander.

PETAWAWA – A program designed to help job-seeking military spouses has arrived in Petawawa.

The METSpouse program, for Military Employment Transition Spouse, which helps bring military spouses together with businesses willing to hire them and places ready to train them, officially launched in the Ottawa Valley on Friday out of the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre Employment Service office.

It is the eighth MFRC location to launch it across Canada since METSpouse debuted in April, with the entire program set to go national in the spring of 2017.

METSpouse, developed by Canada Company to assist military spouses seeking jobs in the civilian workforce, has employer partners, service providers and mentors to help translate the unique skill set and experience of military spouses, while providing the Canadian workplace with an exceptional and untapped employee resource.

Canada Company, which in itself is a federally registered charity dedicated to helping the military community among other tasks, donated $10,000 to the PMFRC to assist them in the METSpouse launch. The centre is an important partner in this endeavour, as are local employers and education partners.

Claudia Beswick, PMFRC executive director, said currently there are 60,000 spouses in the Canadian military, many of whom have trouble getting jobs despite their qualifications. She said one of the biggest challenges identified by military families is employment, and the METSpouse program is designed to meet that challenge.

Col. Mark Misener, Garrison Petawawa commander, thanked those business and institutional representatives gathered for the breakfast meeting for their support of the garrison and its people.

“This is an amazing program,” he said, which will be of benefit to the partners and spouses of the 6,000 soldiers they have based here in Petawawa.

“The military spouse is the strength behind the uniform,” Misener said, and METSpouse gives them the opportunity to apply their own skill sets to the local job market.

Kerry Wheelehan, METSpouse director, said since the program was launched in April, she has been travelling the country talking to everyone about the value of military spouses as employees, and trying to dispel the myths about them as being underskilled and unreliable.

“I would hire a military spouse before I would hire a civilian,” she said. Military spouses are loyal to their organization, with more than 64 per cent possessing post-secondary degrees, and of that group, 37 per cent are professionals such as engineers, doctors or lawyers.

Changes to the way the military works means most postings are for three years of duration at any one location, and Wheelehan said the average time anyone stays on the job these days is 18 months. When one combines that with the loyalty military spouses have shown to groups they are a part of, not to mention the military and their country, it indicates they are a very good prospect for employment.

“That hits home with people,” she said, adding she believes every business in this country has a level of corporate responsibility to the men and women who defend and protect it, and to a certain extent they are recognizing it.

“There is a lot of people who want to hire military spouses,” Wheelehan said. The key is connecting the two groups together.

METSpouse gives businesses an opportunity to give back. The program is free of charge, she said, and those qualified to do so can sign up. This includes military spouses, ex-spouses, partners, veterans, those soldiers currently serving and reservists.

It also includes those employers who want to be a part of this program.

Wheelehan said all this information is on an interactive website which is more than just a job bank, but includes items like instructional videos on how to be interviewed for jobs, places where one can get one’s skills upgraded as so forth.

To register for the METSpouse Program, visit their website at www.canadacompany.ca/canadacompany/met/en/index.jsp. To become a METSpouse employer partner, send an email to EPinfo@canadacompany.ca.

SUhler@postmedia.com



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