By Shae Warzocha, Army Partnership for Youth SuccessNovember 20, 2013
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- Growing up in Kingsport you can't miss the skyline created by miles of Eastman Chemical Company's twisting pipelines. As a 2003 graduate of Kingsport's Sullivan North High School, Josh Roberts was more than familiar with Eastman's presence. Headquartered in Kingsport, Eastman operates more than 40 manufacturing sites in 16 countries.
Roberts was recently hired by Eastman Chemical Company as an operations helper, a position he probably wouldn't have been offered if it weren't for Jerry Bush's commitment to the Army Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program and its veterans.
"Once Josh was identified as a PaYS Soldier I pulled his resume," explained Jerry Bush, Eastman's Principal Staffing Recruiter and PaYS program contact.
PaYS got Roberts the interview, but it was up to Roberts to get the job.
Josh joined the Army after graduating from high school and working odd jobs. He joined as a cargo specialist receiving a cash bonus and the PaYS program option.
"I learned about PaYS while enlisting into the U.S. Army. The Army Guidance Counselor gave me a selection of employers to choose for my post-Army interview. I selected Eastman Chemical Company because growing up I had heard it was a great company to work for and about its many benefits. There are not many employers that can offer job security in my hometown, but Eastman Chemical is definitely one of them. They have a great reputation," Roberts said.
Before Roberts received his honorable discharge he attended and completed the Army's Transition Counseling program where he perfected his resume.
"During the class I did several mock interviews, which better prepared me for the hiring civilian hiring process," he said. With a bachelor's degree from Strayer University in information systems, as well as his military training and experience, Bush said Roberts stood out during his interview with Eastman.
Having previously interviewed and hired veterans from the PaYS program, Bush wasn't surprised that Roberts was "poised and well prepared" for his interview.
"He was an above average-strong applicant," Bush said. "Once Josh made contact with me, I expedited him through the system... Moved him to the front of the line for his initial interview and then immediately scheduled him for his final interview. After his successful final interview, I moved him to the front of my hire hold list (those already completed the final interview and waiting on a hire date to be assigned) and immediately hired him."
The application/hiring process at Eastman for the operations positions normally takes 12 to 18 months -- as a PaYS Soldier, Roberts went to the front of the line, according to Jerry Bush.
"Josh provided very solid answers to all the interview questions, exhibited maturity, positive attitude and great communication skills."
Josh likes his job as an operation helper and plans to stay with Eastman for the long haul.
"I like my current position because I pretty much stay busy the entire 12-hour shift walking back and forth throughout the building," he explained. "It's a great way to stay in shape."
With a long career ahead of him and plans to expand his family with wife Ellie, Josh has his sights on moving up with Eastman.
"I see myself continuing my career here and my long-term professional goal is to pursue my master's in information security and apply for a position in Eastman's Technology Division."