Even if you’re not getting out of the Army soon, the Heroes to Careers summit was a great conference to have attended. Even if you are not currently serving, the summit was full of information that can be shared.
The resource meeting was held Oct. 15, here, and was attended by 14 different organizations, who briefed about resources and services they provide to servicemembers, spouses and Veterans.
The event originated with Fort Irwin Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Dale Perez, who participated in a similar gathering of agencies in Victorville, July 26. Perez turned out to be the only active duty servicemember at that meeting, which was attended by approximately 30 businesses, community leaders and Congressman Paul Cook. Perez explained that he met a great group of people there and learned a lot.
“I thought to myself, ‘We need to something like that, but here,’” Perez said. “They had all this energy and all these great ideas and they were civilians, who were seeking Veterans.”
Those same civilian agencies, or similar, could visit Fort Irwin and present their programs to Soldiers, and start connecting and networking, Perez said. Those connections could be significant for Soldiers, who will be transitioning from the Army to civilian life.
Some of the agencies who briefed at Fort Irwin included government departments, a college organization, non-profits, and training programs.
The Employment Development Department for California offers employment services for Veterans at the High Desert Employment Resource Center in Victorville. Fabrice Figaro and Java Beck, representatives of EDD in Victorville, work specifically with Veterans who are seeking employment.
“That’s our main function – to provide Veterans with resources they may need once they get out.”
Figaro stressed that Veterans are more highly desirable for potential employers during the first 12 months after separation from the military.
Two attendees at the summit, who can train Veterans and help place them in jobs are Empower America and the Another Chance Foundation Academy. Mario R. Pabon, President /CEO of Empower America, explained that his organization trains 10 Veterans per week for jobs in the solar power industry.
Another Chance trains Veterans to work in the security field. Both are located in the Southern California area.
Cpl. Ty Hoag, with K Troop, 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, attended the meeting with several other Soldiers. He is planning on transitioning from the military next year and said he was impressed with the summit.
“There was a lot of great information,” Hoag said. “Going to these briefings, meetings, with all these people putting out information about their organizations, the hiring [opportunities], the help they can provide – [young Soldiers] need to attend them.”
Perez expressed that he would like to see the summit take place at least twice a year.