By John. M. Rosenberg, Warrior Care and TransitionJanuary 30, 2017
Employment-based workshops are a crucial component to assist Soldiers entering the civilian workforce. The United States Army Medical Command's Deputy Chief of Staff, Warrior Care and Transition has formed outstanding relationships with the United Service Organizations and other entities in order to improve upon the delivery of career and education resource programs for wounded, ill and injured Soldiers in transition.
"A common theme in this discussion is that recurrence is so very important," said Kylee Durant, vice president for Transition Technology and Innovative Programs with the USO. "This is what our service members need. One workshop once every quarter simply isn't enough."
During a January 26 meeting with WCT staff held at USO headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, Durant cited the example of a young Army sergeant who possessed a resume that was so poorly constructed he was embarrassed to hand it to anyone. "He had no confidence walking into an interview because he had no idea how to fix it," said Durant.
According to Durant the sergeant later attended another employment workshop, featuring a specialized resume-writing program via the United States Chamber of Commerce. The sergeant "walked out feeling confident, knowing that when he went into his next interview he was going to be proud of the piece of paper that he handed to potential employers, spelling out his special talents," said Durant.
"You go through one individual workshop and there's just not enough time to process," said Charlie Bailey, director of site operations and transitions with the USO.
Prior to accepting a job with the USO, Bailey, an Army officer injured in Iraq and having carried out his recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, recalls attending a workshop and finding it difficult to fully absorb the influx of information on everything from career research, interviewing skills, resume writing and conducting a job search. "You simply can't get your head around it fully," said Bailey.
The USO is currently co-located within 11 Warrior Transition Battalions. "We are not replacing services that the Army offers, but augmenting them, by offering employment workshops, and by offering training," said Durant. "Our top two needs are in teaching financial wellness and military spousal employment. These are things we have a lot of resources for. It's our largest pillar."
"We are going to ensure that whether it's a Hire Heroes USA workshop, or one held by large corporations, there's a workshop happening at a minimum of once a month at every single one of the WTBs," says Durant.
"We have a lot of corporate partners who are super excited to deliver services directly and we are giving them the framework to do this, and do it well. It's important to have the [corporate] scouts go directly into the WTUs and provide this support."
Another advantage in having corporate representatives on hand is the opportunity to conduct mock-interviews with transitioning Soldiers. "We want to make it a meaningful process and not a check the box kind of thing," said Nancy Adams, Division Chief, Career and Education Readiness, for Army Warrior Care. "What we'd like to have is for the Soldiers to achieve a level of proficiency where they can walk out and take care of this themselves. I don't see how to do this aside from repetition, repetition, repetition."