• Companies recruiting military talent

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Representatives from five companies — Ryder Diesel Technicians, Heroes Make America Manufacturing, Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Hiring Our Heroes U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation — briefed transitioning soldiers on employment opportunities during the Career Skills Program Day Jan. 18 at the Resiliency Center.
    “Our goal is to make certain that our employees are happy,” said Robine Lunkwitz, military program recruiter for Ryder. “Our goal is for you guys to be successful. If this program is a good fit for you, we want to make certain that you have every opportunity to take advantage of it.”
    Lunkwitz said Ryder, established in 1933, has always had the initiative to hire former military members.
    “(Ryder) realizes the talent and the skill set that the military individuals bring to the table and it takes advantage of that and the assets they bring,” she said.
    Lunkwitz briefed attendees on the 12-week training program Ryder offers with three weeks of computer training followed by nine weeks of hands-on training. The next two opportunities for the training program start Feb. 20 at Fort Sill, Okla., and April 3 at Fort Riley, Kan. After completing the program, soldiers are guaranteed a job with Ryder.
    “A lot of individuals we’ve put through this program have moved up the ranks very quickly,” Lunkwitz said. “If they want to move up into management, the sky is kind of the limit. It’s what they want to make out of the opportunity at no cost to them.”
    Amy Thomas, senior director of programs and development at the Manufacturing Institute for Heroes Make America, said her job is to hire service members.
    “I develop military training programs through Career Skills Programs at Soldier for Life to help you guys find jobs before you get out of the military,” she said. “The goal of my job is to get more veterans into manufacturing. I thought ‘how can I find a job that lets me give back and serve our country’ and that’s how Heroes Make America was created.”
    Thomas said what the manufacturing world needs, soldiers transitioning out of the military possess.
    “There’s a huge skills gap in the skilled labor part of manufacturing and military service members have all those skills that we’re looking for. They have critical thinking, leadership (and) they’ve been doing logistics, supervisory. The skills they learn in the Army so nicely translate over to manufacturing. It’s almost a perfect fit,” she said.
    “They’re getting out, they’re looking for a job, they’ve served their country and now, in manufacturing, they can serve in a different capacity.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Sgt. Maj. Edward Barfield, Operations Group A, Mission Command Training Program, will transition in June. Barfield said the Career Skills Program Day offered a chance to gain knowledge and information.
    “I’m just looking at some of my options that I have and looking at some of the options that are available out there. My objective is to gain employment once I’ve transitioned out of the military,” Barfield said. “I’m taking a lot of notes to go back and talk with my family and take a look at what I have to bring to an organization and how it can benefit me and my family.”
    Sgt. 1st Class Walter Phillips, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention), will retire in September and said he felt he had good things to offer companies.
    “(I have) leadership skills and I’m also trained in (Equal Opportunity) and (Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention),” Phillips said. “I have law enforcement training as well. I’m keeping my options open.”
    Lt. Col. Larry Bergeron, HHC, Combined Arms Center, will transition in August and said he appreciated the opportunity.
    “There are a lot of opportunities in a variety of fields,” he said. “I think that’s one of the things the (Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program) as well as the Career Skills Program does for us is just being a conduit of information to help us transition smoothly to our next chapter of life.”
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