There's An App for That! New York National Guard Links Job Listing Site to Smart Phones
May 31, 2013
LATHAM, N.Y.--Looking for an employer interested in hiring members of the New York National Guard? Now there's an App for that!
Thanks to a directive from Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York, and the volunteer work of an Army National Guard captain, the New York National Guard's Job Zone web page is now accessible from iPhones®, iPods®, and iPads® by downloading the Job Zone application from iTunes®.
These devices are the way most young New York Army National Guard Soldiers access information, said Andrew DePalo, a retired Sgt. Maj. who heads up the New York National Guard's Family Programs Office.
"If we want to try to lower their unemployment rates we need to get this into the field where the kids are going to use this stuff," he said.
Now that the New York Job Zone App is done and downloadable, his office will start getting the word out and encouraging Soldiers to try it, DePalo said.
Retired Sgts. Maj. Robert Van Pelt and John Willsey created the New York National Guard Job Zone web page in November 2011, with the help of Division of Military and Naval Affairs webmaster Bill Albrecht, as a way for National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and their family members to find job opportunities. They continually update the site with job openings from employers across New York.
The website also provides access to information on full-time military jobs offered by the New York National Guard.
It's a good page, DePalo said, but people in their twenties use their smart phone for Internet browsing and the website is not as accessible that way.
The new App fixes that.
"It's cool. When the database is updated it automatically reads and updates on the App," he said.
Murphy, an advocate of ensuring that Guard Soldiers and Airmen get every opportunity they can to land a job, first suggested creating a smart phone App for job hunters, DePalo said.
This is just one more effort by the New York National Guard to ensure that Guard members returning from overseas deployments, or serving here at home as Traditional Citizen Soldiers and Airmen, have good well-paying jobs, he said
Internal polling indicates that 10 percent of New York National Guard Soldiers don't have a steady civilian job, said Willsey, one of the retired Sgts. Maj. working on finding jobs for Guard members.
Willsey reaches out to employers while his partner, retired Command Sgt. Major Robert Van Pelt works with Soldiers.
"When our Soldiers and Airmen have good civilian jobs, with employers who support their service, it is good for the National Guard, and good for New York, because it strengthens their bond with their communities and their neighbors. It is also good for the employers because they get motivated, disciplined, drug-free employees," Murphy said.
But creating an App Soldiers could use to find jobs was harder than expected.
Fortunately, Capt. Alexander Prezioso, the Assistant Personnel Officer for the 53rd Troop Command, and an amateur computer programmer since his parents bought him a Commodore 64 in the 1980s, was willing to try.
In his spare time Prezioso had created a website and a Smart Phone App for the Military Association of New York, the professional association for New York National Guard officers. He put that skill set to work again.
So Prezioso took the developers license that DePalo already purchased from Apple, the maker of iPhones, iPads and iPods, and went to work in February.
First he had to teach himself to program for the iPhone. That involved evenings and weekends watching YouTube videos on how to program an App and also reading everything he could find, Prezioso.
"The hardest part was learning the code," he said.
Once he had the coding part down, he needed time to work.
He finished the job at the end of May.
It took a lot of time, but it was worth it, Prezioso said.
As the personnel officer for the 4,000 Soldiers of the 53rd Troop Command it's his job to help troops, Prezioso said. Doing this-- creating a smart phone App that helps Soldiers find jobs--is just another way to do that.
"When it comes down to it, it's all about taking care of our service members and their families," he said.