FORT KNOX, Kentucky -- U.S. Army Human Resources Command hosted University of Louisville Military Community Partnership Council visit April 10, 2015, at the Maude Complex to enhance cooperation and build ties among a number of organizations.
As senior leaders gathered, the conversation centered on next steps to create and promote military and learning initiatives to further champion their cause to educate, employ and treat military, family members and veterans according to retired Army Maj. Gen. Terry Tucker, Council Co-Chair, UofL and Fort Knox Partnership Council and Vice Chair, Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs.
"As an Army we are charged with developing Soldiers and managing their talent. Thus, we have created a number of opportunities with UofL to include unpaid internships, an MBA Intern Partnership, an Army War College Fellowship and a Strategic Broadening Seminar program," said Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mustion, Commanding General, Human Resources Command.
To date the partnership has led to numerous ventures to continuously invest in adult learning and early education.
"We are very excited about teaching college level courses in English at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell this spring. Students will receive a UofL transcript for the courses they complete," said Renee Finnegan, Executive Director, UofL Military Initiatives and Partnerships.
The Kentucky Youth Challenge will take over the former Walker Middle School on Fort Knox as a new home this fall announced Air Force Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, 51st Adjutant General of the Commonwealth of the Kentucky National Guard.
The Academy gives youth a second chance to become responsible and productive citizens by helping them improve their life skills, education levels and employment potential.
In addition, the Kentucky National Guard has partnered with UofL to give the most deserving graduate a three and a half year academic scholarship, a direct investment in building the community and future leaders, said Tonini.
Emerging technology has sparked growth as HRC works with the UofL Speed School of Engineering to attract Computer Science graduates.
"Here we plan to focus our efforts on informational sessions on how to apply for federal jobs, how to build a resume, navigate the hiring process and mentorship programs with students," said Mustion. "We want to talk to them about developmental opportunities at HRC and the impact of veteran preferences."
HRC is working to arrange installation and Maude Complex tours for IT students, he said.
As the Army continues to drawdown UofL has looked to help transitioning veterans make a new start for themselves through their VetStart program, which is now in its seventh iteration. The focus is on start-up training via one-on-one mentoring and providing limited expense reimbursements where eligible.
"The program is free for Kentucky veterans starting a business in Kentucky and has had more than 30 individuals complete the 10-week entrepreneurial program," said Finnegan.
UofL has also been recognized in the "2015 Best for Vets" list, she noted.
Taking care of Soldiers begins not only with education and career options, but it also encompasses their overall health and welfare.
"Ireland Army Community Hospital represents a regional healthcare system covering six states with a patient population of more than 294,000 across components, veterans and families. The Warrior Transition Unit provides a triad of care to wounded warriors, enabling them to either return to service or transition into the civilian sector," said Commander Col. Matthew S. Rettke.
Although Ireland is available to service veterans all over the region, UofL has spearheaded alternate ways to reach eligible patients outside of traditional military means.
"Our Depression Center Pilot Program, which started in November 2013, has treated Kentucky National Guard Soldiers who have come home from the war in Afghanistan or Iraq. Some feel more comfortable seeking treatment at a civilian institution, and we welcome them with open arms," said Finnegan. "The UofL Kent School of Social work has been awarded a grant for 480,000 dollars to provide free behavioral health counseling to military families.
In an environment of constant demand, life stressors may lead to illness and potentially suicide. The Army and UofL both recognize the need to help Soldiers, civilians and families cope with ways to heal not only the physical illness of the body but the mind and spirit.
To that end IRACH opened the Fort Knox Army Wellness Center in September 2014 in order to provide holistic patient-centered health services, said Rettke.
"The program looks at improving total wellness of the entire force for both civilian and military teammates. I've seen a real difference in the number of civilians actively participating in the program focusing on improving preventive care and building resiliency to take care of themselves," said Mustion.
In a high-demand society both UofL and the Guard have focused in on preemptive care.
"We are doing a number of great things with our social work program from giving out graduate assistant scholarships to military spouses to the department sponsoring our first Military Child Day this April with the Kentucky National Guard," said Finnegan.
This coincides with April, which has been designated as the Month of the Military Child; highlighting personal sacrifices and important contributions made by military children.
All attendees truly value the partnership and vowed to continue to educate, employ and treat military, families and veterans.