FEBRUARY 26, 2020 – Last year, the Army’s Career Skills Programs helped 4,782 Soldiers transition from military service into a civilian career, according to Installation Management Command officials.
Army’s CSP had a 96% employment placement rate in 2019, and has given troops a chance to master various skills needed for the civilian workforce since its inception, said Christine Traugott, assistant deputy for Child, Youth and School Services and Education in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
More than 21,000 Soldiers have completed various CSPs across 32 Army garrisons since 2015, said Amy Moorash, US Army Installation Command, Army Continuing Education System chief. The program has a total placement rate of more than 93% and a network with more than 4,000 employers.
With the high number of employers, larger companies, like Microsoft, may have hundreds of subsidiary employers lined up to hire troops when they don’t.
Soldiers can enroll in an Army CSP up to 180 days before separation and after completion of the five-day Soldier for Life –Transition Assistance Program workshop. The use of permissive temporary duty — or, PTDY — to attend a CSP more than 50 miles away may be granted at the commander’s discretion.
Transitioning Soldiers are matched with first-class apprenticeships, on-the-job training, job shadowing, employment skills training, and internships needed by participating employers nationwide, Traugott said.
For example, the program includes training for auto mechanics, pipefitting, welding, solar energy, law enforcement, and electrical careers. In all, 210 CSPs are available to choose from.
The program is a win-win situation, Moorash said. Civilian companies are motivated to invest in Soldiers because they know the quality of employees they get in return. Soldiers have certain stresses, usually associated with separating from the military, eased as well.
The program is offered to transitioning Soldiers’ in all branches of the Army — Active, Guard and Reserve. Some employers include family members transitioning into civilian life, too, Moorash said.
Also, the CSP doesn’t have to be linked to the Soldier’s military occupational specialty, Traugott said.
“If someone drives trucks in the Army, but decides they never want to step foot in another commercial vehicle again, they can do a CSP on being a pipefitter, construction trade, or whatever they want to do,” Traugott said.
“We’re giving veterans a way to navigate the challenges of job searching while showcasing their abilities in a way that civilian employers can relate to,” she added. “This is part of the Soldier life cycle. We’re giving them the tools needed to succeed in both in the Army — and after.”
Although the Army would prefer to keep its best talent, Traugott admitted, the next best thing is “to make the off-ramp as easy as possible and make sure Soldiers have somewhere to land. If a Soldier has decided to separate, our program is here as part of the Soldier Life Cycle.”
“We hope Soldier’s will be influencers in their communities,” she added. “They will talk to their kids, family, and anybody else about their Army experience, and how the Army prepared them for the life they have after the Army.”
The success rate of the CSPs affirms civilian companies want the quality and values troops bring to the workplace, Moorash said. “Our transitioning military make wonderful recruits. These programs allow training and working in an industry possible.”
“This is the warm handover to the civilian world. This promises a Solider a career, near where they want to live, and doing something they may have never dreamed of being able to do,” Moorash said.
For more information, visit the Army’s Career Skills Program website at https://home.army.mil/imcom/index.php/customers/career-skills-program
By Thomas Brading, Army News Service