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Scott AFB military members meet up with potential future employers

From Illinois Business Journal news services

More than 60 military members gathered this month at The Scott Club at Scott Air Force Base to participate in a networking session aimed at linking them with quality job openings as they transition from Scott AFB.

The second “Networking Night at Scott Air Force Base” featured 49 companies with a total 3,000 job openings, and their representatives onsite networked with an average of six qualified job seekers during the two-hour event. The informal job networking session was co-sponsored by Madison and St. Clair counties, the Belle-Scott Committee and the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois.

The networking events are part of an ongoing partnership between these groups and the Airmen & Family Readiness Center at Scott AFB to help facilitate employment in Southwestern Illinois for as many separating military members and their spouses as possible. They are an outgrowth of the continuing efforts of the Scott Air Force Base Task Force, which is being spearheaded by The Leadership Council, St. Clair County and Madison County to determine the best ways to protect, enhance and grow the base.

“We remain committed to helping those that are exiting SAFB and are excited about terrific participation in these networking events,” said Ellen Krohne, executive director of the Leadership Council. “They are proving to be a very effective and fun way to make sure that the organizations with the job openings are connecting with the incredibly talented individuals who will be transitioning out of Scott Air Force Base.”

John Lengerman, representing the 65-year-old Belle Scott Committee, added “There’s no question it’s the right thing to do for them, and it’s the right thing to do for Southwestern Illinois, which stands to benefit when we keep these talented individuals here. It’s wonderful to be a part of this outstanding community partnership that aims to serve the military personnel who have served our country so well.”

As with the inaugural event held back in September, businesses from industries such as health care, financial services, industry, technology and education were present at the networking event. Among the businesses represented were Southwestern Illinois’ significant employers, including Phillips 66, Progressive Recovery Inc., Illinois Department of Trasnportation, Jet Aviation, McKendree University, Challenge Unlimited and Scott Credit Union, and major St. Louis-based corporations, such as Ameren, Edward Jones, Graybar, Enterprise and BJC Healthcare. Specific positions available ranged from those in information technology, engineering and project management to health-care services and administration and more.

Scott Raether is a community readiness specialist for the Airman & Family Readiness Center, which offers members of the military in house transition assistance and employment services, such as courses on interview skills and resume writing. He highlighted the importance of events that afford military members transitioning to civilian life upon separation or retirement the opportunity to meet face-to-face with business representatives who are willing and eager to hire them.

“The event was very well received by everyone involved, and they look forward to doing it again,” noted Raether.

Creative initiatives like these recurring networking events and the growing Scott Patriot Program are among the many ways the Southwestern Illinois region demonstrates its support for the military members at Scott AFB and their families. That first class support was recently recognized with the announcement that, for the second time in just three years, the region had captured the coveted Abilene Trophy. The prestigious award is presented annually to recognize the community that provides the finest support to an Air Mobility Command unit. The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois spearheaded this year’s nomination on behalf of the St. Louis region, submitting an application that highlighted a series of “firsts” that really brought to life the depth of the region’s ongoing commitment for the men and women at Scott.

For more information about future networking events, the Scott Patriot Program or other ongoing efforts to protect and grow Scott Air Force Base, contact the Leadership Council at (618) 692-9745.

The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois is a member-based, economic development corporation representing Madison and St. Clair counties. The council works to attract/retain jobs and stimulate capital investment through its coalition of leaders in business, industry, labor, education and government.

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