News July 26, 2017

North State Journal: New resource center moves soldiers from the military to the job market

Read the original article in the North State Journal.
By Donna King

FAYETTEVILLE — As of last week soldiers on Fort Bragg can walk through these doors and into a new civilian life. Whether they are interested in health care, construction, transportation, technology or any field, they can chart their course here.

The Career Resource Center of Fort Bragg officially opened its doors last week as a model program that brings together private industry training schools and military resource specialists to help soldiers build a lucrative life outside of the service. Providing current service members, veterans and their families the skills needed to successfully transition into the civilian workforce for new employment opportunities makes all the difference for those who don’t know where to turn after they take off the uniform. William McMillan, Fort Bragg Transition Services Manager, said the two most challenging times in the military are entry and exit.

“The Fort Bragg Career Resource Center will be an employment, skills-focused facility that will provide the transitioners with employer specific education, training, certification and required information to bridge from military to a civilian career of choice,” said McMillan. “The concept of ‘Hire – Train – Employ’ will serve as a win-win for the employers, the service members, veterans, spouses and the military. The goal of the Army is to take care of ‘Soldiers for Life.’”

Fort Bragg’s Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program worked with Columbia Southern Education Group, to launch the center on base. Secretary Larry Hall, head of the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony in Fort Bragg’s Modular Village.

Companies partnering with the training program included CVS Health, Charter Communications, Onward to Opportunity, North Carolina State University Agriculture Institute, North Carolina Truck Driving Training School, Adaptive Construction Solutions and Veteran Assembled Electronics. Charter plans to field its first training class of Spectrum Field Technicians at the Career Resource Center at Fort Bragg in September.

“As a veteran that successfully transitioned from activity duty, I know firsthand that finding employment is a significant issue facing transitioning service members – and Charter is doing its part to help,” said Darrel Hegar, Carolinas Region Vice President of Field Operations, who is an Air Force veteran.

Jermaine Jackson, Field Technician IV, took part in Charter’s apprenticeship program and said it gave him the confidence to move forward.

“You have all the knowledge, all the tools that you need, and you have all the lifelines so to speak. You have your teammates, you have the people you went to class with, you have your mentors. You are definitely able to jump right into a team to perform and be productive and successful,” said Jackson.

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), created in 2015, runs NC4VETS.com, which helps service members and their families with everything from family support to job training to navigating health care benefits.