Fort Leonard Wood Spouses Employment Lounge opens

Amanda Sullivan
Fort Leonard Wood

A new employment resource is available for military spouses at Fort Leonard Wood.

The Spouses Employment Lounge, in Bldg. 470, rooms 2226 and 2226A, will act as a one-stop resource for incoming or outgoing military spouses who need assistance gaining employment.

Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, joined members of the Fort Leonard Wood Transition Assistance Program and the United Service Organizations’ Transitions Pathfinder Program for a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 23, commemorating the opening of the lounge.

“This is going to make a significant impact on how Fort Leonard Wood takes care of families and how we put people first,” Paine said.

About 650,000 military spouses are in transition every year due to PCS moves, according to Casey Thompson, USO transition specialist.

“Many of those spouses are seeking employment support,” she said. “It can be challenging to have to re-invent yourself professionally with each move and start over building networks.”

Thompson said another common challenge for military spouses is re-entering the workforce with gaps in employment.

“The lounge is a space for military spouses to find resources, get connected to the community, and work toward their employment goals,” she said. “They can come to the lounge to get connected to whatever resources they need to make their employment search successful.”

Whether spouses are looking for employment, local resources or installation programs, Thompson said the lounge can help.

“As spouses look for employment, they may also be trying to navigate education, installation resources, childcare, and more factors beyond just the job search,” she said. “They can find information about local resources, job openings and installation programs, or use the space to work on resumes or job applications.”

Two laptops are available for resume building or employment searches. Spouses are also welcome to bring their own laptop and use the lounge’s Wi-Fi.

In addition to employment assistance, USO transition specialists are located inside the lounge to offer one-on-one financial readiness and Veterans Administration benefits support, as well as general mentorship. The USO partners with organizations to provide resume workshops and training opportunities.

According to Walter Harris, Transition Assistance Program manager, the lounge was developed to ensure that spouses have the opportunity to succeed and that, at the end of the day, it was about taking care of people.

“It’s about making sure the spouses have the tools and resources needed to be advantageous and to be successful as they transition in and out of the installation,” Harris said.

Paine emphasized the importance of the resource and said the new lounge will impact not just the Soldiers here at Fort Leonard Wood, but the families and spouses who are looking for a way to contribute or take care of their family.

“We’re putting the families of our Soldiers in a position of success and giving them the tools they need to excel, take care of themselves, advance and give back to the community,” he said.

The lounge is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Walk-ins and children are welcome.

A USO-sponsored coffee connections event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 13. Email Thompson at for details. Visit for more information about the USO’s transition program.

Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander (right), meets with the team responsible for putting together the new Spouses Employment Lounge April 23 in Bldg. 470. The lounge is a one-stop resource for incoming or outgoing military spouses who need assistance finding resources, getting connected to the community and working toward employment goals.  Photo by Amanda Sullivan