OKANG career event supports upcoming mission change

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kasey Phipps
  • 137th Air Refueling Wing
More than 300 Airmen from the 137th Air Refueling Wing participated in a free career fair, March 7 at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma City.

Airmen attended the fair to submit resumes and speak with representatives from 46 potential civilian and military employers.

The event was held in conjunction with an upcoming mission change that moves the 137 ARW from the Air Mobility Command to the Air Force Special Operations Command, the second change within recent 137 ARW history.

"This time it's different in that the career fields are changing so much," said 2nd Lt. Joey Conell, 137 ARW executive officer. "In the last [mission change] people just needed to learn a new aircraft. Now we're having people who need to completely change career fields."

Senior Airman Benjamin Nathman, a 137th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief and a civilian pilot finishing his degree at the University of Oklahoma, says he has until August to find a new position with the Guard.

"Location is important," he said. "I'm currently in school within the state. I'd like to remain in aircraft maintenance because it's more toward my field. I know that in just the three years I've been here, I've had so much more experience with aircraft that has helped me out a lot."

Prior to the event, Airmen were asked to submit a survey detailing potential job areas and employers they would like to see at the fair as well as submit resumes, said Conell. 137 ARW Family Readiness joined with the Oklahoma National Guard Employment Coordination Program to bring civilian and military employers to the event.

"We essentially hand-picked the companies that we wanted for this event," said Col. Warren Griffis, National Guard Employment Coordination Program director. 

The event supported Airmen both in their military and civilian lives because many have professional and personal obligations near Oklahoma, said Conell. Of the 46 employers in attendance, 25 were military-related from Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

"At the beginning of such a large conversion, it's important for us to give everyone an opportunity to look and see what is out there, whether that is with the reserves, guard or active duty in the Air Force or Army," said Conell. "We want to encourage them to follow their path - whatever it may be."

Additional Oklahoma employment events are slated to occur at the end of March and the beginning of April through several military-supported organizations.