Team Redstone learns what it means to be a Soldier for Life
January 29, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The Soldier for Life program's southeast director visited Redstone Arsenal Jan. 28 to educate Soldiers on how to remain strong throughout their Army career and beyond.
Lt. Col. Steven M. George visited Army Materiel Command headquarters as part of his travels throughout the southeast footprint to advocate and promote the Soldier for Life program.
The Soldier for Life program is a Chief of the Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond Odierno initiative based on a four-phase Soldier lifecycle where Soldiers start strong, serve strong, remain strong and re-integrate strong and ultimately become Army ambassadors to their communities. The program takes a holistic approach to ensuring veterans connect to resources and can successfully transition from active duty back to civilian life.
"The unemployment rate for young Soldiers after Army life is astonishing," George said.
He noted unemployment as one of the problems the Soldier for Life program seeks to address and end. Advocates of the program travel the country connecting businesses desiring to hire to transitioning Soldiers.
"We touch every part of the Soldier lifecycle," said George highlighting programs at each point in the Soldier lifecycle.
George highlighted the Partnership for Youth Success program under the start strong point in the Soldier lifecycle, which offers immediate job interviews after completion of their active duty service.
Another program George highlighted was Credentialing Opportunities Online, or COOL, tools to manage careers and self-development, which is the serve strong point in the Soldier lifecycle.
"COOL has almost every credential and cost associated with pursuing it. It has been vetted and only uses nationally recognized credentialing organizations," said George.
Army Career Tracker is another similar program, which Brig. Gen. Edward M. Daly, chief of staff of AMC, said, "I encourage all to use it; it's a powerful tool but only if you use it."
Soldiers reintegrate strong into the Army Reserve, National Guard or out of the Army using the improved Army Career and Alumni Program and leveraging the Hero 2 Hired Web site to find employment.
George said about 12 thousand veterans were hired out of the Hero 2 Hired program last month.
Life after the Army is where Soldiers have the opportunity to remain strong.
"I encourage you to try and become a mentor for your area and community," said George.
This would allow other Soldiers to have a point of contact to educate them on the community, job and educational opportunities and any other assistance that could be provided.
Attendee Lt. Col. Cliff Calhoun, who is retiring within the year, said he found the program beneficial for his planning.
"I appreciate our Army's commitment to help veterans reintegrate into civilian life. Lt. Col. George provided some great tips and resources for me as I prepare for retirement," Calhoun said.
George left the audience with two final thoughts.
"We are working to change the mindset. We are all Soldiers for life. In the end, it comes down to maintaining trust between the Army and the Soldier," said George. "No matter who you are and where you are in the Army -- don't hesitate to ask for help. You are all Soldiers for life."