Woodworks: Hiring a priority for Fort Leonard Wood agencies

Matt Decker
Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is hiring — that was the message from those representing Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and other agencies during the Woodworks community information forum held April 7 at Pershing Community Center.

“We’re critically short across the installation with employment,” U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Sean McGlensey said. “The Commissary is very short of employees, as well as IHG (Army Hotels) and Candlewood (Suites). We’re short about 200 positions, so for us to get back to normal we need those positions filled. So, if you know someone who needs employment, please reach out.”

Katy Carter, FMWR Chief of Business and Recreation, said FMWR has a large number of open positions from recreation aides, to food-and-beverage workers and more, including positions beyond its annual summer hires.

“We have a lot of great positions coming open within our ranks that will be permanent,” she said.

Beth Pritchard, Fort Leonard Wood Exchange general manager, promoted her organization’s April 8 hiring fair. She added those who missed the event may still apply.

“We need people, and we are hiring,” Pritchard said, adding that, for a limited time, the Exchange is offering $100 hiring bonuses and $100 retention bonuses to those who accept restaurant positions and hold them for more than 90 days, respectively.

“You can still apply at applymyexchange.com or feel free to call our 573.329.4970 or stop by in person at Building 498,” Pritchard said.

Megan O’Donoghue, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director, told the audience introductory jobs can often lead to careers.

“I started out with Food and Beverage as an intermittent on-call (worker) with MWR, and with every installation (I moved to) I went to MWR,” she said. “It took me an installation or two to realize that it’s not just a job — this can be a career, and it’s been my career for a long time. I know a lot of us have high schoolers, college kids, spouses who are looking for employment — please send them to one of our facilities, and we each have information about all the other opportunities available.”

FMWR job listings are available at www.leonardwood.armymwr.com/happenings/family-mwr-job-openings.

The Defense Commissary Agency also has positions available, with announcements posted at USAJobs.gov.

Persons interested in applying for positions with hotels on post should apply online at https://careersearch.ihg.com or https://www.indeed.com, or contact Angela Landreth, human resource manager, at 573.586.4788 or by email at angela.landreth@ihg.com.

An in-person milestone

The April 7 event was the third community forum held this year and was significant for the fact that it was the first in-person community forum since the COVID-19 mitigation measures began. A large number of masked guests attended the event in the center’s large ballroom with seating arranged to provide plenty of distancing. Many presenters welcomed the return of the in-person format, including Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general.

“We’ve been about a year away from this, and there’s a lot of demand out there to know what’s available here on post, how we’re opening the post up, etc.,” Bonner said. “We want to be able to share that information about (our programs), our stance coming out of COVID-19 and how we support the community here at Fort Leonard Wood.”

O’Donoghue, who was the master of ceremonies and also led last month’s virtual Woodworks forum, said holding the event with an audience was a welcome change.

“I am so excited to be able to hold this event in person and to see all of your faces — even behind masks,” she said. “It’s one step closer to our normal.”

Month of the Military Child

A central focus of this month’s Woodworks event was the Month of the Military Child.

Tamara Smith, Child and Youth Services coordinator, spoke about the events planned in observance of the month, which this year followed the theme, “Military Children and Youth: A Resilient Force in a Changing World.”

“As we know, we are definitely in a changing world, and over the past year, our children have shown true resiliency,” Smith said.

The month’s event will conclude with a drive-through Month of the Military Child Celebration with giveaways, informational flyers and more from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 30 at the Bldg. 470 parking lot facing Replacement Avenue.

“We’ll have different vendors and different booths along with some surprises along the way,” Smith said.

For more information about MOMC events, visit https://www.armymwr.com/programs-and-services/cys/month-military-child.

Updates, announcements

Some of the highlights and updates from the forum included the following:

— Jeremiah Harcourt with Army Community Service Family Advocacy talked about upcoming activities in observance of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, including a drive-through event happening today in the ACS parking lot, assistance with the CYS drive-through event April 30 and pole banners placed on Missouri Avenue feature blue ribbons to raise awareness about child abuse.

— Walter Harris, Fort Leonard Wood transition services manager, reported that the Spouses Employment Lounge is complete and is on track to open with full services, making Fort Leonard Wood one of only four installations in the Army with such a facility.

— Environmental Division Chief Charlie Neel promoted the ongoing “Earth Day Challenge” with multiple events taking place now through April 22, including contests to identify plants and animals, a scavenger hunt, photo contest, fishing challenge, logo design challenge and more. For more information, click the “Earth Day” link on the Fort Leonard Wood Community Resources page at https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/contact/cr.

— Mike Estright, Directorate of Public Works Housing Division chief, announced plans are in the works to resume the monthly Yard of the Month contest and a new Pet of the Month contest in the housing areas.

More information

The purpose of Woodworks is to provide the Fort Leonard Wood community with a better understanding of community issues, share information, promote upcoming events and network to improve the quality of life for Soldiers and families. The forum is scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month.

Fort Leonard Wood senior leaders hosted a Woodworks community information forum April 7 at Pershing Community Center.