By Ryan Marshall
After honoring the men and women in the armed forces across the United States for Memorial Day, Discover Bank and Delaware's congressional delegation gave the military families of Dover Air Force Base another thing to cheer about.
Jim Roszkowski, president of Discover Bank, announced a new work-at-home program for eligible armed forces family members to start a career they can carry with them from base to base, he said.
Discover trains the participants and supplies each employee with equipment and installation support in their homes. Their work will be coordinated out of Dis¬cover's call center near New Castle Airport.
Discover's Regional Operations Di¬rector of Customer Service & Engagement Jeff Moran said Dover is the only base to carry this program now, but the company is interested in spreading employment opportunities after the startup glitches are fixed.
He said the program can be valuable to family members because they acquire skills and experience that allows for career continuity in the often mobile life of a career military spouse.
"What we looked at to start this pro¬gram is that we always knew that the chances of them being deployed some¬where else is probably pretty high," Moran said. " We wanted to be able to support that. Because the technology is transfer¬able, they should be able to take that with them."
Sens. Thomas Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney also were on hand to watch the first and second classes of graduates move through the program.
Carney said the sacrifices that military family members make are tremendous so spouses can serve the nation. An idea like the Discover partnership makes their lives a little easier by providing meaningful employment from home.
"We talk about jobs all the time," Carney said. "I've learned over my public service career that if people have good jobs, everything else that you are trying to do gets a lot easier no matter what it is. So [Discover] is providing the good jobs here to our military families who are sup¬porting the families and personnel that are fighting for our country."
Tiffany Jones, who has lived just off the base in Dover for about a year, was part of the first class that graduated from the Discover program. She said it was a great opportunity because she can now stay at home with her 8- and 9-year-old daughters.
Jones's husband is an Air Force fire¬fighter and has moved through three bases in the last 13 years. Jones was an educational assistant and was studying to get a degree in that field. However, when she moved to Dover, Jones couldn't find a teaching assistant position.
Jones said everyone in the Discover program starts in account acquisitions, which involves taking application phone calls. She added that employees will be able to move up to billing or any department that deals with calls.