by Jet Fabara
412th Test Wing Public Affairs
11/28/2012 – EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Students transitioning from college into the workplace has found it to be rather challenging trying to land a job, but students are now seeing more and more opportunities after graduation with Edwards AFB’s Workforce Recruiting Program.
Used as a recruitment and referral program, the WRP connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs.
“Each October and November, more than 100 federal recruiters from 20 agencies conduct interviews at more than 270 college and university campuses nationwide,” said Brenda Watts, Air Force Test Center Affirmative Employment and Special Emphasis Programs manager. “In 2011, over 600 candidates were selected from a database of more than 2,500 undergraduate, graduate and law students. The database included students from about 104 majors and selectees worked in a variety of agencies world-wide.”
The Department of the Navy initiated the program in the 1970s and in 1995 the program was expanded by Department of Defense and the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. Today, the program is jointly managed by DOD and the Department of Labor, according to the WRP website.
Since the program’s expansion in 1995, more than 6,000 students and recent graduates have received temporary and permanent employment opportunities through the WRP.
“I entered the WRP through Antelope Valley College where I am currently enrolled to complete my Administration of Justice degree,” added Tricia Werdmuller von Elgg, a former WRP hire now assigned to the 912th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “I enrolled into the program in October 2011 and I have been fortunate to be positioned within the administrative field, allowing me to learn and apply what I have gained through my classes, as well as what I have learned here at Edwards.”
According to Watts, another reason the program is a great resource is because it allows the government to hire talented college students at no cost to the Air Force.
“The WRP is a rare, free recruitment and referral program that may be utilized by Air Force hiring officials who need highly-motivated candidates for temporary and permanent employment needs. This program is especially important as a tool to increase employment opportunities for local college students – without any requirement to provide funding or a manpower slot for temporary employment up to 560 hours,” added Watts. “The program is also an effective tool to hire local veterans who are pursuing a college degree or have recently attained a degree.”
For those participating in the program, the program allows more crosstalk and evaluation of potential future employees.
“Although I enrolled through California State University, San Bernardino, I went to one interview and was selected right after, so I would say that it was less than four months between my interview and the offer of an internship,” said Stacey Max, former WRP intern currently assigned to the 912th AMXS. “During my internship, this program gave me the opportunity to show my abilities, my personality, and my character on the job rather than just through a short interview and, in the end, I think that this program is a great opportunity for both employer and employee because it allows a trial period for both to evaluate each other.”
Each participating campus has a designated WRP coordinator and students work with the coordinator to complete their on-line application. Students can contact their Career Center to find out who is the coordinator for their school.
In early December 2012, the 2013 WRP database will be open to all registered supervisors/management officials. Registration can be completed at www.wrp.gov and hiring officials can use the database as a year-round recruitment source through November 2013.