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    Work for Warriors expands reach, catches Congress' eye

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    Photo By Sgt. Danielle Rodrigues | The California National Guard's Work for Warriors employment program is branching out...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Jason Sweeney 

    California National Guard Primary   

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Getting you a job is what the California National Guard’s Work for Warriors program is all about.

    The program has been getting jobs for California National Guardsmen for more than a year and a half now. Due to its success and some new hires, the program is expanding its reach to the state’s Reserve forces.

    Work for Warriors has been such a success that it is attracting attention in Washington, D.C., where a congressional “Work for Warriors Caucus” has been formed to address how the program can be implemented across the nation.

    “The Work for Warriors initial mission was to focus directly on placing Guard members in jobs,” Work for Warriors Project Director Capt. Autumn Decosta said. “Now that we have more resources we have been able to expand out and can now support the Reserve components. With more than 180 business partners, expanding the program to the Reserves creates a win-win for both the business partners and service members. This is one more step in the right direction of creating a joint effort in addressing a critical need.”

    Work for Warriors has placed 1,850 California National Guardsmen into jobs since the program was started March 29, 2012, by California National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. David Baldwin and California Assembly Speaker John Perez.

    Since then, the program has established partnerships with more than 180 employers who are seeking service members to fill job openings. The program recently expanded from six full-time employees to 14, giving it the capacity to provide its services to the approximately 60,000 service members currently serving in California as reservists with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

    “We take the headhunter approach,” Work for Warriors Deputy Director Maj. Aaron Roggow said, explaining that his staff actively attempts to match service members with jobs that fit their skill sets and experience, whether for entry level or executive positions. “Our business partners have jobs and we have service members qualified for those jobs.”

    Roggow explained that the Work for Warriors staff takes an active approach that includes coaching service members for interviews, leveraging the program’s relationships with employers and using social media to build a community of job seekers. In addition, it does this cheaply at an estimated $550 cost per placement compared to other programs that can cost as much as $10,000 per placement.

    “The number one way people get hired is through referrals, whether that’s internal or external,” Roggow said. “We can make those referrals. We can make the connection. A lot of the other models just post jobs to a website.”

    The success of the Work for Warriors model attracted the attention of U.S. Congressmen Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) and Rep. Paul Cook (R-Victorville), who in November formed the Work for Warriors Caucus, a bipartisan congressional caucus which will promote and increase awareness of the program.

    “It’s one of the most effective programs of its kind,” Cook said in a recent news release. “I hope that our caucus can help to make the program even more successful and expand it to other states.”

    Cook and Takano will serve as caucus co-chairs. Members of the caucus include Rep. Mike Honda (D-Cupertino), Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Ventura), Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Springs), and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena).

    “With far too many California National Guard members looking for work, I was proud to create the bipartisan Work for Warriors Caucus with Representative Cook and advocate for additional funding for the program,” Takano said. “It is my hope that Work for Warriors continues to be a success and I would love to see it used as a model for other states looking to place these heroes into jobs.”



    Date Taken: 12.16.2013
    Date Posted: 12.16.2013 13:22
    Story ID: 118275
    Location: SACRAMENTO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 397
    Downloads: 0