Spouse and Family Forum highlights relocation, sponsorship resources

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

Air Force Materiel Command hosted a virtual spouse and family forum May 1, highlighting sponsorship and relocation resources available to support military and civilian Airmen across the enterprise.

“These panel members are here to answer questions and point you towards resources and information that can help you during different times,” said Dede Richardson, spouse of Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, AFMC commander, who hosted the day’s event. “It's not that we have a lack of programs or resources at all; it's more that we need to know when to use them. That's the point of today -- whether you can use this for your own family or someone you know, we want to get the information into the hands of those who need it.”

Representatives of the Military and Family Readiness Center; Military One Source; Air Force Employee Assistance Program; Department of the Air Force School Liaison Office; and AFMC Manpower, Personnel and Services highlighted programs and resources available to support employees and their families as they transition job locations or enter service for the first time.

Jeff Nelson, AFMC Military and Family Readiness chief, discussed New Employee Orientation programs and the ability for family members to attend alongside the primary employee. He also highlighted the diverse MFRC programs available to service members and their families and the various components of the relocation assistance program as it has evolved to present times.

“The relocation assistance program has its roots back in permanent change of station moves for military personnel and their families. However, over the years, we've also developed quite a few services within the program that I believe are also applicable to our civilians.” Nelson said. “We can provide information referral on a host of moving-related topics. ... These include such topics as moving costs, housing options, home-finding assistance, childcare, services for family members with special needs, spouse employment opportunities, schools, cultural adaptation, immigration information and referrals, and also community orientation and resources.”

Lindsay McNeely, AFMC personnel programs specialist, talked about the enhanced AFMC Sponsorship Program and the goals to improve the new employee acculturation and readiness process as they transition into the command. The Sponsorship Program applies to both uniformed and civilian employees at AFMC, helping to ensure effective transitions for all.

“We were receiving feedback from the acculturation program that some of our new hires were not being assigned to sponsors. Others were being assigned a sponsor, and it was a very positive experience,” McNeely said. “We wanted to firm up the process and create resources to help civilian sponsors guide their new hire through their process, whether moving into AFMC for the first time as a civilian, moving installations or moving down the hall.”

The role of the DAF School Liaison Office was explained by Lori Phipps, who also shared a checklist to support military families with school age students transitioning to a new area. She emphasized the importance of community partnerships and the work her office does to help ensure support for students at every location.

“Building educational partnerships in our communities is key. It's growing that community ecosystem that is built around each and every installation to ensure that our families are taken care of,” Phipps said. “These partnerships and being able to impact that community and make it grow, along with developing and driving change for our future leaders is important, because our fifth graders of today are really our leadership of tomorrow for our military.”

Lisa Smith highlighted the plethora of resources available on Military One Source, to include relocation guides, counseling services, educational tools, spouse training, financial readiness information and more. As one of the most comprehensive platforms of military life resources, Military One Source is a vital tool for service members and their families at every stage of life and career.

“Military One Source provides support to military families across the military lifecycle, and it is brought to you free of charge by the Department of Defense,” Smith said. “It is a call center with master level consultants ready to respond and assist you, 24/7/365, and it is also a website that has a well of information on all things related to military life. The services provided through Military One Source are designed to augment the support that is available at military installations around the world.”

Danna Plewe, program manager with the Air Force Employee Assistance Program, also participated on the panel as a resource for the tools and support available through the EAP for civilians. In addition to relocation resources, the EAP can support individuals with resume writing, mental health and crisis support, well-being, legal questions and more.

Following program and resource overviews, the panelists fielded diverse questions from the audience of uniformed and civilian employees, spouses, and family members. Strategically placed polls throughout the event ensured audience participation and helped gather information relevant for future event planning.

To watch the recorded event, visit


Resources shared during the event include:

The forum was part of the AFMC Family Connections initiative, which offers resources and support to uniformed and civilian family members across the command. To learn more about the AFMC Family Connections and view additional resources, download the USAF Connect mobile application from the Apple Store or Google Play. Be sure to favorite the Air Force Materiel Command page on the app, and explore the resources linked under the Family Connections icon.

The next Spouse and Family forum will be held in November. For questions or additional information, email the AFMC Family Connections team at AFMC.A1Z.IPR@us.af.mil.