Program helps wounded warriors with employment readiness
February 1, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Soldiers of the Warrior Transition Battalion are given opportunity to demonstrate their employment readiness with Operation Warfighter.
Operation Warfighter is designed to provide recuperating service members with meaningful activity outside of the hospital environment.
The program, started by the Department of Defense, provides a temporary internship for Soldiers.
With six Soldiers currently participating, Kevin Peoples, transition coordinator for the Warrior Transition Battalion, has led the program since January 2011 at Fort Benning.
"My goal is to have Soldiers gain some viable skills, some civilian-type skills to be able to be marketable in the (civilian workforce)," he said. "It's not guaranteed, but it's a good way to showcase their skills (in order) to be hired."
Part of the process to get placed in an internship includes setting goals, forming a resume and interviewing with selected agencies, he said. Soldiers must be able to work at least 15 hours a week and be career employment readiness eligible.
"These Soldiers get to see from a professional side how things operate and how things work and gain some viable skills," Peoples said. "It makes them feel good about themselves and triggers a desire to achieve higher. I think it's a great program … (it) gives them a chance to prove themselves."
For Antonya Gordon, the chance to prove herself also gave her opportunity for employment. She was hired as a mission support specialist at the National Firearms and Tactical Training Unit at Fort Benning.
She said Operation Warfighter gave her the opportunity for on-the-job training.
"I was able to basically show the supervisory staff daily that I was capable of doing the job and completing the tasks," she said.
Jason Price, also employed as a mission support specialist, was one of the first to do Operation Warfighter at Fort Benning.
"For me, (Operation Warfighter) gave me a job," Price said. "I was fighting to stay in the Army, but with my injuries it wasn't going to happen, and I couldn't maintain the job I had in the Army."
He said he decided to get out of the Army and Operation Warfighter provided an easy transition for him and allowed him to stay at Fort Benning.
Staff Sgt. John Stinson is currently interning with NFTTU and said he was glad to be in the program.
"It's a good thing because I'm learning something new that I haven't done before," he said.
Christopher Murphy, also an intern, said internships give Soldiers something else to focus on.
"It gives you a goal to work towards," Murphy said. "… You are still dealing with your problems … but that's not the only thing you're focused on."