Air Force

August 22, 2014

Program smooths change from military to civilian life

Airman 1st Class CORY GOSSETT
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

It can be difficult to find work in today’s economy, even more so for families that are moving to a new area or families that are transitioning from military to civilian life.

One program available to veterans is the Workforce Investment Act, which can help veterans have a smooth transition to civilian work.

The 56th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center is a good place to start looking for civilian employment. The A&FRC can provide employment assistance through job fair information, perform resume reviews and help active-duty spouses find work. They also have contact with local employers.

“The Workforce Investment Act is a federally funded program that helps pay for training and education,” said Terry Grossman, Arizona veteran employment advocate for the Arizona Department of Economic Security. “Military personnel can use this program before they even separate.”

Military members getting ready to separate might not have the proper certifications needed for their civilian-equivalent jobs. Through the WIA program they can get up to $6,000 to pay for education and training depending on the career field.

“Some people come to us and tell us they’re worried about their skillset and its applicability to civilian employment, or they are looking to switch careers altogether,” said LaSetta Hogans, career advisor for the city of Phoenix. “The WIA program covers a variety of career fields, and service members can start using this program six months before they separate.”

Advanced business services, higher education, sustainable energy, manufacturing and bio-life science are just some of the career fields that qualify for training under WIA.

Through WIA, maintainers on the flightline have been able to get civilian airframe and power plant certifications after attending the A&P prep course available at Western Maricopa Education center in Glendale at no cost; they don’t have to touch their GI Bill of Rights, according to Grossman.

The WIA isn’t just for active-duty members, Grossman said.

“Reserves, National Guard, spouses, children and civilians can use the program. Youth ages 14 to 21 can receive scholarship money through the WIA youth program.

The A&FRC has the resources available to help veterans find work, and the collaboration between federal, state and civilian entities helps make this program unique to Luke and the local area.

“This program has helped many people get back to work,” Hogans said. “Collaborating with the A&FRC provides seamless services to our veterans and makes it more convenient for them to find work after military life.”

There have been more than 120 veterans so far that have used the WIA program at Luke within the last six months. Grossman and his team have helped pilots, maintainers and others get their certifications and training before they leave the military.

Grossman stressed that soon-to-be veterans should be out networking and actively looking for work.

“It can be a full-time job,” he said. “The Airman and Family Readiness Center can help with the right tools, contacts and advice for a smooth transition into the civilian workforce.”
For more information about employment services or the WIA program, call the A&FRC at 623-856-6550 or Terry Grossman at 623-856-6362.




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