Supporting military members and civilian workers in Maryland

06/15/2022| Amanda Winters

Supporting military members and civilian workers in Maryland

06/15/2022 | Amanda Winters

Workforce training, continuing education classes, mental health support, and cooking demonstrations are just a few of the resources that will soon be available for military members and their families in Maryland.

Offered at the soon-to-be-open Fort Meade Education and Resiliency Center, these opportunities represent a culmination of efforts over the past decade led by the Fort Meade Alliance  and the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation .

The Education and Resiliency Center will act as a resource hub for soldiers at all stages of their career, from junior enlisted to veterans , according to the Foundation. It will also be available to military family members and thousands of Department of Defense civilians in the region.

“There are a lot of services that can help men and women be more resilient – and not just the 27,000 stationed at Fort Meade. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, reservists, Space Command, and also the 40,000 civilians that serve at Fort Meade,” said Tim O’Ferrall, general manager at Fort Meade Alliance. “This is a hub to connect them with both resources and the community at large.”

But what is resiliency? According to O’Ferrall, it isn’t about solving problems. It’s about helping people with deeper challenges and adapting to change, he says.

“More people are coming into Fort Meade than ever before,” said O’Ferrall. “They need to know ‘what schools should I go to?’ and ‘where are the gyms?’ and ‘what is in the area?’”

“When you make a permanent change of station overseas, you receive a welcoming program with resources,” he continued. “But when it’s a move within the U.S., that’s not the case. We want people to know that we recognize your service and the community appreciates you. We will do what we can to help you.”

With more than half of these service members living off-base, O’Ferrall stresses the importance of promoting the community and letting military members know they are surrounded by supporters outside the Army installation. The community support is clear with the Foundation’s fundraising efforts for the Center, which includes $2.5 million in grants from the state of Maryland and Anne Arundel County, as well as numerous private and corporate donations.

Not only will the Center show off the surrounding community, but it will help shed stigma for military members seeking help.

“It’s not all about mental health and substance abuse—it’s about school and community benefit,” said O’Ferrall. “The facility will serve as a required stop for those making a permanent change of station.”

Upon visiting the Center, service members will meet with a coordinator to learn all that is available. Everything from counseling sessions, to healthy eating and cooking habits, to classes for upcoming employment opportunities will be available to support their well-being.

“Someone could visit the center for a class and be connected to several other resources while they are there,” said O’Ferrall.

While waiting for the Center to open, interested parties can learn about services offered throughout Fort Meade via the online Resiliency Portal . The military installation has also installed kiosks throughout the campus that provide additional access to this information.

The Fort Meade Education and Resiliency Center is expected to open this fall.

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