It’s that time of year again — when we say “so long” to close friends moving away and “welcome” to new friends PCSing to Hill Air Force Base.Making a Permanent Change of Station can be a tumultuous time, with mixed emotions for everyone — but especially for those who are actually making the move. By the nature of the situation, challenges come up and the Hill AFB Airmen & Family Readiness Center wants you to know they are here to help.
Challenges can include, but are not limited to, finding a home (the decision to live on or off base and to buy or rent), choosing a school, finding your way around the community, looking for ways to get involved, spouse employment, seeking friendships, and more.
By taking full advantage of the resources, information, classes, trainings, and ideas the A&FRC and Air Force have to offer, you may not resolve all of your worries or concerns, but you might alleviate some of the stress and answer as many of your questions as possible.
“The most valuable/effective resource for assistance when PCSing is the military sponsorship program,” said Craig Nielsen, Supervisory Team Lead at the A&FRC. “When a service member receives notification of a PCS assignment, they can request a sponsor be assigned to them. The sponsor will be an individual of similar rank, gender and marital/family status from the unit the person is being reassigned to. The sponsor will contact the incoming service member and assist them throughout the PCS process. They can provide information as well as logistical assistance such as helping to reserve temporary quarters, providing information about local schools and communities, etc.
“When the newcomer arrives, the sponsor will assist them by showing them around the base and local communities, and help them get in-processed and settled in, as well as other things that are needed. The sponsor is an invaluable resource and can make all the difference in a person/family’s relocation experience.”
The Hill AFB Relocation Assistance Program works primarily through education, information and referrals. A way to find this information is on www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil/. Information about Hill AFB, housing, child and youth programs, sponsorship and more can also be found there.
Spouses concerned about employment can meet with an A&FRC employee one-on-one for help with preparing a resume and to practice interviewing. “We assist military spouses and dependents with achieving short- and long-term employment, education/training and career goals,” said Kimberly Taylor, Supervisory Team Lead/School Liaison Officer in the A&FRC. “Inside the A&FRC is a Discovery Resource Center with access to computers, a printer, and career and job search information.”
There are also initiatives to assist the military spouse and their employment needs. One is the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) initiative. This is “a resource that every military spouse seeking employment should seek out,” said Taylor. “The initiative strengthens the career opportunities of military spouses by providing career exploration to help them understand their skills, interests, and goals.” Information about this initiative can be found at https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/Portal.
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) initiative pairs military spouses with employers seeking to hire them. Information about this program can be found at https://msepjobs.militaryonesource.mil/.
Another way spouses and families can learn about the base and local community is by attending Heart Link. This event is hosted quarterly and gives spouses information about protocols, Air Force traditions, and community and base resources. If you are interested in signing up, call the A&FRC or visit the Hill AFB Calendar at www.hill.af.mil and follow the links to sign up.
An additional concern families have is where to send their children to school.
“The School Liaison Officer works closely with administrators in heavily impacted schools to learn about the military child and their transition challenges, and suggested ways to address these needs,” said Nielson. “The School Liaison Officer works to foster effective communication between the incoming students, parents and school administrators.”
Finding a place where your child and family fits and connects well helps make the transition process easier to manage.
With all of the concerns of moving, families can feel overwhelmed with the expectations and decisions to be made. A family moving on-base can take advantage of the Child Care for PCS Program. This program gives Air Force families with PCS orders the opportunity to receive a voucher for 20 hours of child care from a certified Family Child Care provider. This care is available 60 days before departing a base and 60 days after arriving at a new base.
The A&FRC is a key resource for accessing information. The stress of a move can be reduced if you work to seek out the information and assistance provided. Even if there isn’t a specific program you are looking for, you can seek out referrals to other resources.
“As families PCS, they will have questions about the local area; schools, programs, and resources. Our desire for families is to acclimate and adapt to their new location as smoothly as possible,” said Taylor. “Families that possess information and knowledge are more effective in their everyday life and in coping with military life challenges.”