Partnership Program Paying off for Army, Soldiers
January 7, 2008
By Ed Lane
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Army News Service, Jan. 7, 2008) -- The Army's Partnership for Youth Success program, which began in 2000, has now promised more than 53,000 Soldiers from the Army and Army Reserve a leg up on civilian employment.
Recruits choose to participate in the PaYS program before their military careers even begin. After they meet with a recruiter and guidance counselor, they choose from a list of civilian employers that participate in the program.
Under the PaYS program, when a Soldiers leave their active duty or Initial Entry Training for the Army Reserve, they will receive a guaranteed job interview with the civilian employer they chose as part of their enrollment in the program.
"The program enables a man or woman to look at options for after-Army employment," said Partnership for Youth Success program manager Robert A. Qualls.
Mr. Qualls said that the program gives Soldiers who have chosen to re-enter the civilian workforce a leg up on other job seekers, because those job seekers don't have a guaranteed interview.
"One of our participating companies gets over 27,000 applications a year," he said. "Of those, the only ones that gets a guaranteed interview are those from the Army that have participated in the PaYS program. This is a really great opportunity for these young men and women."
Currently there are 261 companies participating in the PaYS program, including 39 Fortune 500 companies, three Fortune 1000 companies and four Global 500 companies.
Depending on their preferences and qualifications, an Army or Army Reserve applicant can choose from more than 150 specific occupational skills offered by the Army that align with employment opportunities from one of the partners participating in the program.
With the PaYS program, the Army has had to work hard to find civilian employers who need some of the many unique skills that many times are utilized only in the Army. But Mr. Qualls said that many times, civilian employers are willing to teach Army employees the skills they will need to work at their company -- what they are really looking for, he said, are the qualities that only former Soldiers possess.
"What employers want are Soldier attributes," Mr. Qualls said. "In the medical field they want specific skills, sure, but many companies are simply looking for drug-free employees with good work ethics and good values who believe in not quitting until all the work is done. They are looking for employees that live the seven Army vales: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. When you talk to employers, they want employees with those values -- with Soldier values."
The PaYS Team wants to ensure that Soldiers who are entitled to a guaranteed interview in accordance with their PaYS option receive that interview. Mr. Qualls said that any Soldier who thinks they might be a PaYS Soldier is encouraged to call the PaYS Help Desk at (502) 626-1222 to verify that they have enrolled in the program.