Program helps Army personnel transition into private workforce

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Since the beginning of the year, the goal of the Fort Knox Career Skills Program has been to help U.S. Army personnel transition to private sector employment through its Senior Leaders Corporate Fellowship Program.

According to Fort Knox Education Center officer Jacque Jenkins, the program has been successful so far.

Jenkins said 90 percent of those who have completed the program have received a job offer. The program is separated into four eight-week courses per year. The first cohort of the program began in February.

While in the course, participants receive hands-on fellowship experience with companies in the Louisville area. Participants spend four days a week at their designated employer locations, learning skills to advance in the private sector.

“As a transitioning service member, I did not know what I wanted to do after the Army,” said John Billings, a retiring Army officer. “The best part about this program, is that it may not put you on the path of what you may think you want to do after life in the military, but it will most certainly show you what career paths you don’t want to do-which I believe is more important than knowing what you want to do.”

Jenkins said participants in the current cohort of the program have been designated to General Electric, Brown-Forman and Trilogy.

In addition to the hands-on corporate experience, participants must attend weekly workshops and seminars, with informational sessions regarding resume tailoring, interview skills, styles of communication and more.

Jenkins said participants must be
180 days or less away from their transition date to apply for the program. Applicants must also complete a Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program workshop, submit a resume and cover let­ter reviewed by a Where Opportunity Knox re­gional veteran con­nec­tor and submit a signed memorandum from their command group.

Jenkins said the program has proven successful so far in helping military personnel continue on the path of success.

“This allows Soldiers the chance to receive real world experience, learn interview skills,
dress for success and network,” Jenkins said.

Billings agreed.

“By allowing transitioning service members to participate in a program such as the Senior Leader Corporate Fellowship Program,” he said, “the U.S. Army is preparing service members to gain valuable skills and corporate business-model understanding that could not otherwise be learned.”

Michelle Watson contributed to this story.