By Col. Deborah GraysNovember 5, 2010
Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem
It's no secret that Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem will close their gates next year.
It's also no surprise that as a result of this, there are a number of base personnel who are, or will be, looking for employment between now and closure.
This can undoubtedly be a daunting and somewhat frightening proposition for those of us who haven't had to look for a job for quite some time.
And even for those of us new to federal service, the prospect of looking for employment in the current job market can seem like a monumental task.
That is why I want to let everyone in on the secrets known as the Atlanta Regional Commission's BRAC Mobile Unit (BRAC MU) and the BRAC Training Grant.
Simply put, these two programs exist for no other reason than to help the members of Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem find employment and future success.
The BRAC MU is equipped to operate as a full service career resource center and provides career exploration and transition services for both military and Civilian employees impacted by BRAC.
The BRAC MU can be found at Fort Gillem every Tuesday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., and at Fort McPherson every Wednesday from noon until 4:30 p.m. Additionally, a BRAC career counselor can be found at the Retention Office on Fort McPherson (Bldg 63) from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Thursday.
The BRAC MU falls under the Atlanta Regional Workforce Board (ARWB), who is the fiscal agent for training funds awarded through the BRAC implementation grant by the U.S. Department of Labor to the governor's office of Georgia.
As such, ARWB is charged with providing: career exploration and assessment; job search preparation assistance - including resumes, labor market information and interviewing; work ready certification; and individual training plans for those in need of additional skills to increase their marketability.
The BRAC MU features the career assessment tool "Career Scope," which provides personnel with occupational options based on their aptitudes and interest. The assessment takes approximately one hour and is used as a road map to explore vocational options and possible training areas.
Visitors to the BRAC MU can also get help earning their work ready certification (WRC), which is a state sponsored program that certifies individuals as being able and ready to work at certain levels including bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
This is significant because employers are committed to using WRC in their hiring and training practices. The BRAC Training Grant provides funding for initiatives to address the higher education needs related to the BRAC process.
It is open to DOD Civilian employees who have had their positions eliminated as a result of BRAC or have elected not to move to a new location.
It also applies to civilian and military personnel who elect to retire because of BRAC, and spouses of military or civilian personnel who are affected by BRAC.
There is also fast tracking registration available for on-site training with the Project Management Certification Course, which runs for 10 weeks and meets in Bldg. 243 every Monday and Wednesday from 2 until 6 p.m. starting Nov. 15, and the Microsoft Office 2007 Course, which runs for 10 weeks and meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 until 4 p.m. starting Nov. 16.
Interested personnel can call 464-3566 to register. Although the BRAC Training Grant is a great resource, the time of its availability is running out! The grant is scheduled to end June 30, 2011, and no funding will be available after that date.
The BRAC version of the grant application can be obtained on line at www.atlantaregional/brac, from the BRAC MU, or the Retention Office.
I encourage everyone to explore potential uses of the grant, as it can provide options that are relevant to skills needed in the current job market. No idea will be discouraged, and BRAC personnel are willing to explore training options brought by personnel.
I also strongly encourage all supervisors to allow employees time to schedule visits to the BRAC MU and Retention Office to explore options, to schedule general sessions to jump start their training, and to actually receive training.
Since February, there have been 140 visitors to the BRAC MU, with 40 Career Scopes completed, and 35 individuals have registered for work ready tutorials, with 10 taking work ready certification.
Although I am happy to see that some personnel are taking advantage of the BRAC MU and training grant, I know that even more people could be helped.
And while I am committed to helping every person on Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem find a viable future before closure, I cannot do it alone.
Take the initiative to explore the BRAC MU and the training grant, or pass along the word to others.
For more information on job resources, call Linda Mechem, BRAC career counselor, at 464-3566.