News: Soldiers transition from fatigues to suits and ties
Story by Sgt. Adam Hinman
EL PASO, Texas - The Centennial Banquet and Conference Center on Fort Bliss hosted a job summit for soldiers transitioning out of the Army on Feb. 4, 2014.
While the Army Career and Alumni Program offers significant help in this area, the Fort Bliss Job Summit offers soldiers an additional, more personal method to gain employment after a long career.
“This is amazing, between the Army Career and Alumni Program classes and this summit, I learned so much on how to re-enter the workforce,” said Staff Sgt. P. J. Ryan, an artilleryman with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
With a more in-depth class on building and finishing a resume, this summit also provides soldiers with an opportunity to meet potential employers and learn specific qualifications they are seeking at a job fair.
Speakers are chosen to present with tips to polish and ensure a soldier’s resume is up to the current industry standards. Highlighting the speakers was Dakota Meyer, a former Marine and recipient of the Medal of Honor.
“I might not be able to serve, bet we still have a duty to help our brothers,” said Meyer. He was referring to his desire to continue helping the military community.
“I help any way I can,” continued Meyer.
Additionally, there were entire classes on how to approach an interview, what to do during, and how to effectively follow up on one.
The final event of the summit was the job fair where business representatives and the soldiers could meet face-to-face. Some were able to conduct preliminary interviews, while others would offer insight into requirements and how to apply.
While many of the businesses who attended are local, some were able to provide even more opportunities if a soldier was willing to relocate. This was appealing to some retirees, who are looking to move either back home or to an area they lived while in the service.
However, not all retirees are looking to move immediately upon the completion of their career. Some stay because they like the area and others stay for more of a personal reason.
“I am staying in the area for two years, until my daughter graduates,” said Sgt. 1st Class Enrique Jusino the military pay noncommissioned officer in charge for the 4th Financial Management Support Unit, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade.
Jusino went on to say, the benefits of attending the summit included meeting with companies that are seeking to employ veterans.
“I recommend to pretty much any soldier transitioning out of the military to attend one of these workshops,” said 1st Sgt. Van Do, the first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
“Not every state has this, a job summit,” said Do, referring to the fact that Fort Bliss has a large community outside of the gates in El Paso, Texas.
Active duty soldiers were not the only soldiers to attend. Also attending were some of the reservists and guardsmen stationed at the Warrior Transition Unit until they complete their recovery.
Most of the attendees seemed to feel that the summit was a success and provided them with a better opportunity to ensure continued employment.