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NEWS | June 29, 2023

PSNS & IMF career counselors driven to help clients succeed

By Ben Hutto, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Tucked away in a block of trailers, adjacent to Building 427, the career counselors of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility’s Command Career Center, Code 1182, go about the business of supporting the growth and development of the command employees. It’s a job that looks different every day, according to Heidi Anderson, a career counselor who has been with the office since it was stood up, almost four years ago. Flexibility and creativity are key skills in this office.

In fact, these skills were recently highlighted when a deaf PSNS & IMF employee, needed support for an upcoming interview while assigned to temporary duty in San Diego. Anderson and the CCC team flexed their creative muscles to provide the support he needed. It would be the first time the CCC would remotely support an employee with disabilities.

To ensure Anderson’s client would be ready for his opportunity, a mock interview was conducted via Microsoft Teams, using cameras at both Bremerton and San Diego sites, with two of the command’s interpreters scheduled to support. Even then, there were unforeseen obstacles Anderson and the team had to overcome.

“We discovered a lot of the slang and terminology people in his shop used daily didn’t translate well when being signed by the interpreters,” Anderson explained. “The communication piece was broken, initially. But, after discussion with the interpreters about language and trade vocabulary, the employee knew exactly what they were talking about. The concepts were already clear to him; but the way they were presented was unfamiliar.”

There are language differences for a hearing person compared to someone who is deaf, so having the awareness and support of the interpreters is vital.

During the customer’s previous resume appointment, Anderson helped the employee identify a list of trade-specific terms, which he familiarized himself with, and shared with the interpreters before the actual interview. The mock interview helped the interpreters identify some technical and body placement issues, and helped the employee to feel comfortable and prepared for his interview, resulting in his promotion.

It is one of many success stories that happens daily at the CCC.

“We support personal and professional development, and because we meet people where they are, this sometimes means someone is struggling” said Anderson.

“We understand employees are whole people with lives outside of the command so connecting employees to valuable resources such as the Command Counseling Program or DoNCEAP helps create better work/ life balance. [We are] also connecting employees with an Employee Resource Group to build their network and circle of support. These resources are everywhere, and using this knowledge to reduce stress and grow your career at the same time—it all works together.”

The CCC is incredibly flexible, adaptable, and its staff works hard to provide support to employees from all shifts, with prior notice. The counselors frequently conduct workshops, provide support to shops and codes, and identify meet-and-greet points of contact for employees seeking to grow their knowledge of the command.

For Rozy Castellanos, one of the office’s career counselors, it’s personal.

A couple years ago, Castellanos, a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, who took a job at PSNS & IMF following a successful Navy career, was one of Anderson’s clients. Supporting people was nothing new to Castellanos, since she once led crews with as many as 300 Sailors at a time. This often meant using diverse communication styles and aligning teams of people to successfully meet goals and objectives.

As a former Command Career Center client, Castellanos understands the importance of the program. During her resume appointment years ago, Anderson thought Castellanos would be a great addition to the CCC team, so when she saw an opening, Castellanos applied using the skills she gained and soon found herself accepting an offer as a new counselor.

Since she came onboard, she has been an incredibly valuable member of the team and has supported many employees during the past year.

Anderson and Castellanos are driven to help employees find fulfillment and growth in their careers.

Whether it’s resume education, mock-interviews, identifying training, education to acquire new skills, or providing resources to help with problems outside of work, the PSNS & IMF Command Career Center is ready to help employees searching for answers.

“When you are super passionate about what you do, it’s rewarding,” said John Smith, officer manager for the CCC. “When I see the lightbulb click, they connect with how to grow and develop themselves.”