By Reginald Rogers/ParaglideJuly 23, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Soldiers planning to depart the Army in the upcoming months may be able to better market themselves to civilian employers, thanks to the Army Career Alumni Program's new Internet resources called PipelineNC.
PipelineNC allows the transitioning Soldiers to post resumes and network with civilian employers. As with any pipeline, the flow works both ways. Employers are also able to check the posted resumes and return follow-up conversation with prospective employees.
According to Meagan McCabe, the idea and plans to bring the service to Fort Bragg began around October 2009. Fort Bragg is the Army's first post to try the new procedure and plans for other posts will be based on lessons learned here.
"Right now it's kind of a pilot program," she explained. "We're seeing how it goes. The Army is very interested in it. They've come down (from Washington, D.C.) several times to check it out through our site."
McCabe said once the program is approved, it will begin filtering through ACAP offices at other Army installation.
She pointed out that the PipelineNC and ACAP partnership is one that should provide various opportunities for transitioning Soldiers to talk with employers.
"We've worked with them now to create an ACAP community, that allows the Soldiers to get on and we're using that in conjunction with our employer day," explained McCabe, who serves as ACAP's marketing director, but who also works as a transition counselor. "When we have an employer day, a Soldier can get on the website a week or two before, get their resume going and then they can put their resume on the site for the employer day."
McCabe pointed out that the Soldiers will be able to review all of the jobs that are scheduled to become available and see all of the employers that are scheduled to attend.
In turn, the employers can also log on to the website before the employer day and review any possible candidates.
This capability helps the transitioning Soldiers because employers are able to look firsthand at these candidates and determine which ones they would likely to interview.
"We're hoping that it will lead to Soldiers getting more interviews and more jobs in a quicker manner and we can know who's hiring who and which companies hire more of our Soldiers and things of that nature," McCabe said.
She added that the ACAP would begin tracking which companies Soldiers are having more success with and which jobs they are hiring for.
Those are offered two or three times a month, depending on the month. She said Soldiers may get a copy of the latest schedule from the ACAP information desk. She said they may also speak with their counselors, most of whom will also e-mail a copy of the schedule to their clients.
McCabe explained that access to the PipelineNC website is not exclusive to servicemembers.
"It's also open to Family members and to the public, although we don't advertise to Fayetteville. We advertise to Fort Bragg because it's mainly for the Soldiers and their Family members," she said. "It's a common misconception that ACAP is mainly for the Soldier. Spouses may come in here as well. As long as the Soldier is registered as an ACAP client, their spouse can come in and use our resources as well."
McCabe added that having a direct link to employers will be a major benefit to the Soldiers and Family members who take advantage of the service.
"Our hope is that it will benefit them and that they will have a better transition plan," she said. "They're going to come in here, meet with us, complete their mandatory forms and do their resume.
"Pipeline also has an assessment on the site for Soldiers who are unsure of what career path he may want to take," McCabe explained. "The assessment matches their skills and their abilities and gives them a list of careers that match their capabilities."
She said the assessment gives the Soldiers a sense of direction as to where they want to go, or which employer days they need to attend. The assessment also provides clarity to the ACAP process.
"They sometimes come in here and get lost, especially those who don't know what they want to do. (The assessment) kind of gives them a pathway," McCabe.
She said she understands that transitioning is a crazy time for Families and Soldiers and oftentimes, spouses are trying to seek employment as well.
"This will help everyone have a much clearer path and I think it makes it less stressful," McCabe said.
ACAP is planning a job fair, Sept. 22 at the Fort Bragg Club, McCabe said. In the past, the job fairs have featured more than 50 employers.