By Lt. Col. Al Hing, Exchange Europe and Southwest AsiaJuly 16, 2013
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Sgt. Richard Cheeseman is the first intern of the Exchange Europe and Southwest Asia Wounded Warrior Intern Program to partner with the Warrior Transition Battalion - Europe to introduce service members into the civilian workplace environment.
"We're so proud that we have Sgt. Cheeseman to be with the Exchange team," said Carl Carpenter, general manager of the Grafenwoehr Consolidated Exchange. "What he brings is so much of the Soldier's perspective and we can provide the Exchange experience so both can really make things better for our customers, the Soldiers and their families."
The intent of the Wounded Warrior Intern Program is integrating service members into the Exchange and provides a user friendly look at the future civilian workplace.
This internship represents just a small part of the overall vision to get veterans to their next step beyond service. The Exchange actively develops and promotes robust internal programs to help maintain its overall status as a top veteran employer.
Two of these include the Retail Management Trainee (RMT) and Advanced Retail Management Trainee (ARMT) programs. Both help veterans acclimate to the business and retail industries.
The Exchange also partners with organizations to help veterans find successful careers. As of March, there were 4,219 veterans employed within the organization.
Last year, the Exchange exceeded its goal of increasing management veteran hires by 15 percent.
Since 2010, the Exchange has hired 325 wounded warriors who have left the service. The Exchange attends "Hiring Heroes" career fairs and is the second largest employer for the Wounded Warrior Project.
"Sgt. Cheeseman has twice deployed (as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom), served his country and provided for our safety and security. There's so much that we want to give back to him and to those like him," continued Carpenter. "We want this program to expand and provide more opportunities to our service members."
"I'm truly supportive of this effort," said Col. Fred Hannah, commander of the Exchange Europe and Southwest Asia. "We can't give enough back to our Soldiers and their families."