By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and TransitionJune 25, 2018
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Army has been clear about the importance of the Career Skills Program, and the Warrior Care and Transition Program is taking the program even further.
In January 2018, Army G-1 delegated authority to U.S. Army Medical Command to initiate their own CSP program for Soldiers assigned to Warrior Transition Units. Due to the complexities of their medical needs and abilities, wounded, ill and injured Soldiers assigned to WTUs have not been able to participate in all Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program activities as outlined in Army Regulation 600-81.
The CSP for Warrior Transition Units encourages those wounded, ill and injured Soldiers preparing to transition into the civilian workforce to capitalize on training and career building opportunities. CSP offer opportunities for wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, with 180 days or less until their separation, to participate in internships, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, or job shadowing programs with companies, federal agencies, professional associations, unions, educational providers and similar organizations.
Col. Mathew St. Laurent, deputy chief of staff for Warrior Care and Transition, sees the new CSP as another crucial tool for assisting wounded, ill and injured Soldiers. "Many of our Soldiers and families within the WCTP transition back to civilian life. The WCTP is equipped to provide career and education support for transitioning Soldiers. This is important because we all need a way of life, a path, a purpose, and meaning that provides us the ability to support ourselves, our families and a chance to contribute to our communities," said St. Laurent.
In addition to not requiring Soldiers to have a Garrison Command in their community, the new CSP will give Soldiers:
• Access to training and career building opportunities with industry (non-federal) employers in addition to federal agencies.
• Increased diversity in internships, apprenticeships and training opportunities to match the goals and needs of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.
• Little to no waiting lists.
There's no need to worry about a gap in pay, as Soldiers are able to do an approved internship and continue to receive their paycheck.
MEDCOM's CSP program is a team effort, and St. Laurent says the Most Valuable Player of that team is the Soldier. "A job gives us identity, independence, and a more efficient way to participate in daily life. The WCTP requires every Soldier to establish transitional goals. It is essential that a Soldier determines what his or her own goals are, rather than having goals be chosen for them," St Laurent said.
"The door has been opened wider and now allows for further career exploration and goal setting that will effectively accommodate the functional limitations our transitioning Soldiers have to navigate on a daily basis," he continued. "With non-federal career opportunities now available, our Soldiers and Families have so many more choices to consider when setting and accomplishing future career goals."