By Cheryl HarrisonJune 19, 2009
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- In a ceremony held June 12 at Army Community Service, 17 graduates of the Transition Training Academy were awarded Information Technology certificates and laptop computers. The Transition Training Academy was established as a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Labor/Veterans' Employment and Training Service, Cisco Systems, Inc, the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Wounded Warrior Project.
WWP in partnership with REALifelines administers the program as a part of their commitment to service men and women who have been wounded or injured on active duty. The TTA purpose is to empower today's wounded warriors with the tools needed to return to a competitive spirit in life, the working world and the American workforce. TTA provides innovative information technology training for servicemembers injured on active duty who face unique challenges as they transition to civilian life.
In a letter read to the graduates by Richard Willis, Regional Instruction and Recruitment coordinator, Jeff Searcy, executive vice president, Education and Career Advancement National Director, Wounded Warrior Project wrote, "Your graduation today is a significant achievement and example of your commitment to guiding your own future. Use the laptop you have been awarded in future success, whether that be schoolwork, a job search or new civilian careers. As you are all too aware, many obstacles may get in your way, but clearly you are more than capable of overcoming them as your presence here today demonstrates."
Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Rudy Guerra, employment adviser, U.S. Department of Labor/Veteran's Employment and Training Service. Guerra, a former Marine and Representative of the REALifelines program, spoke with much emotion and conviction to the graduating TTA class.
Guerra said, "My plan was to have a full career as a Marine, but unfortunately things change. So I decided to do whatever it took to help my fellow veterans. There are projects out there like this program to help you. And keep in mind you aren't just doing this for yourself, you are doing it for your comrades. Thank you for all you've done."
The TTA series of courses are taught in a modified, instructor-led classroom setting. This environment is supported by web-based exercises and online learning. The program provides a flexible schedule of classes to accommodate participants' medical and duty requirements. Currently, course classes are held over a two-day period, weekly or every other week, and are delivered in three-hour segments.
Each class is available in virtual and physical formats. Dividing the classes into shorter segments facilitates increased participant attendance, completion and material retention, regardless of physical limitations, medical obligations or duty assignment.
Students' access computers at their location, participate with peer support and collaboration with instructors. Upon successful completion of the course, graduates are provided with a certificate of completion and a laptop to foster their entry into the IT industry.
The graduates in the June 12 ceremony each received Hewlett Packard laptops donated by USAA.
Among the 17 graduates were husband and wife, James and Kathy Weisinger. Kathy Weisinger said, "I got into the class first and encouraged my husband to come with me. I asked what if the wounded warrior can't work and the spouse has to become the bread winner. Well they were nice enough to let me take the class along with my husband. My husband received the computer, but I learned from the training."
The course series include computer and software support fundamentals, networking and small office/home office (SOHO) network design and installation, and proficiency with business applications including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The courses are taught on-site by a trained instructor with physical and virtual classroom participation.