Fort Leavenworth, Kan.--Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer spoke to graduates of the Hiring our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program at Fort Leavenworth July 26. "You are our Soldiers," the governor told the graduates at the ceremony. "You all are the future business leaders of our state. Your work ethic is unmatched, your quality is unquestioned, and your future is unlimited. You have the support of Kansas businesses, you have the support of Kansas citizens, and you definitely have my support as governor," said Colyer.

The program provides transitioning service members with professional training and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce. The professional development offered through the program prepares candidates for a smooth transition into meaningful civilian careers. This was the 2nd cohort of Soldiers for the program at Fort Leavenworth this year. It included 23 Soldiers who did their fellowships with 19 different companies and organizations.

"You've expanded the program here at Fort Leavenworth to bring Soldiers from across the nation and overseas, here to the eastern Kansas region in order to show them the opportunities our state has to offer," Colyer said of the Fort Leavenworth program. "And those opportunities are vast. With hard work and determination, you will become the premier Corporate Fellowship site in the nation."

Fellowship candidates are carefully matched with participating companies based on the specific skills of the candidate and the preferences of both parties. Candidates then undergo exclusive on-the-job training at their host company, gaining firsthand experience in the private sector. This knowledge is amplified with weekly educational sessions held as a cohort in a classroom setting.

Lt. Col. Ryan Strong who did his fellowship with Burns & McDonnell said the fellowship gave him the opportunity to peek inside corporate America. He referred to the Hero's Journey as described by author Joseph Campbell and said he had travelled the Hero's Journey in uniform and in the fellowship.

This is the fourth year for the program at Fort Leavenworth. In that time 63 Soldiers have completed the program as they leave the Army and take on civilian careers. Participating corporations benefit by gaining access to the best and brightest transitioning service members, while also developing a more comprehensive understanding of the veteran job market.

The fellowship is a 12-week program that includes a one-week orientation and 11 weeks working in a civilian organization said Ursla McCarthy, program manager. She praised the support for the program from Fort Leavenworth, especially from Brett Rosene, the Transition Services Manager, and the surrounding community. Hiring our Heroes is a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.