JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – For Army Colonel Nicole Lucas, the term “readiness” used to mean preparing for a military mission.

“It was being able to deploy and train, and is our equipment ready, and how to get out the door and go do our job somewhere,” said Lucas, garrison commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

For her, that definition has changed somewhat to include what happens after soldiers have finished their service. That’s where the JBLM WorkSource Affiliate Site comes in: Newly certified for two years by the Pierce County Workforce Development Council (WDC), the site and its staff are serving military members and their spouses to make sure they’re ready for what’s next. The JBLM WorkSource Affiliate Site is the first ever American Job Center certified on a military base in the U.S., and it is already becoming a model for other military installations.

“What I know even more now is a really important part of that readiness is the readiness of our families, the readiness of our service members throughout the life cycle of their career, especially as they make the transition” out of military service and into civilian life, Lucas said.

Certification by the WDC is a stamp of approval that shows the site has undergone rigorous training and has committed to a high level of service and performance. It’s a strenuous process that ensures when service members and their families walk in the door of the JBLM WorkSource Affiliate site seeking help to enter the civilian workforce, they’ll know they’re walking into a site that provides services that exceed customer expectations and meets high standards established by the WDC.

“You should be incredibly proud of the fact you’ve done this and you’ve done this on behalf of people who are by and large marginalized,” said April Gibson, Chair of the WDC, as she presented the certification plaque.

In her day job as an administrator for a group of orthopedic surgeons, she regularly hires military spouses, Gibson said. Without fail, she said they exceed expectations.

“Way back in the day we were very scared to hire military spouses because they’d come, they would go and we would invest all this energy into them and they’d be gone,” she said.

“Without exception every military spouse we have hired is near and dear to our hearts. They are far and away our best employees, so you helping to provide them with the opportunity to come and find a job with us is just amazing.”

Major partners at the JBLM site include Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, Washington State Employment Security Department, Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Career Path Services and Joint Base Lewis-McChord Family and Transition Services.

WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.