Fort Campbell’s Career Skills Program abounds with possibilities for Soldiers transitioning to the civilian workforce. Welding, plumbing, mechatronics, commercial driver’s license, information technology, and diesel technicians are among more than two dozen 16 career skills options.
“The Army provides several classes for you so when you transition, you have a job or other options to transition over to civilian life,” said Sgt. 1st Class Shaina Vargas. “I’m in the process of getting out of the military and you go through this whole [briefing] I had to do and every person presents their classes. Brooke [Neely] presented the diesel technician program. I’m a mechanic in the military so I was interested.”
“I was in aviation, so I worked on Apache helicopters,” said Spec. Imani Lands. “And this is similar to what I did before the Army, working on cars. So, it was up my ally.”
Vargas and Lands are the first female Soldiers to complete the 12-week Ryder Pathway Home Diesel Technician Training Program at Fort Campbell.
“In the military, we’re in a male-dominated job so this is nothing new,” said Vargas. “It’s a privilege because we are the first ones. But it’s just something I love to do; I like fixing stuff.”
Ryder requires Soldiers to have a mechanical background. This allows the fast-paced program to build off the knowledge the Soldiers already have.
“It helps me get more in depth in understanding of my job,” said Vargas about the program. “Here, you’re diagnosing and doing everything to fix the problem. That’s what intrigued me about the program. I’m learning a lot more here.
A feature of Ryder’s program that intrigues and eases the stress of many transitioning Soldiers is when they complete the program and become a Level 2 Diesel Technician, they are guaranteed a job at one of Ryder’s more than 800 shops across the country. Lands and Vargas both decided to stay in Tennessee when they start working for Ryder in early April and over the summer, respectively.
Soldiers transitioning out of the military need to start planning a year or more in advance in order to find out more about the various programs and meet any application deadlines. While taking part in a CSP sets up a Soldier for success outside of the Army, it also helps units because funds budgeted to the unit for all their mission requirements do not have to be diverted to unemployment costs after when commanders let their Soldiers take part in CSPs or similar programs.
“The Army Operational Budget does not have to support the unemployment of soldiers that have gainful employment through training, certifications, civilian experience and with Ryder, a guaranteed job upon successful completion of the program,” said Brooke Neely, Ryder Pathway Home Diesel Technician Training Program recruiter.
When Soldiers leave the Army and apply for unemployment, those funds come from the budget of the unit they were last with.
Over the last 12 months, 1,142 transitioning Soldiers have participated in Fort Campbell CSP programs, with 787 placed with partnering companies.
To find out more about the Ryder Pathway Home Diesel Technician Training Program and other CSPs at Fort Campbell, visit the CSP office at 5663 Screaming Eagle Blvd., call (270) 798-3195, or visit https://home.army.mil/campbell/index.php/about/Garrison/dhr/tap/career-skills.