While visiting Fort Bragg last month, the NC Chamber team had the opportunity to visit the base’s Education and Job Skills Training Center to learn more about the challenges and opportunities soldiers face when returning to civilian life. As workforce needs continue to grow, the opportunity for North Carolina businesses to hire soldiers transitioning out of the military cannot be overstated.
The NC Chamber team heard from leaders of both the Fort Bragg Training and Education Center and the Career Skills Program. The programs work hand in hand to provide education and training to help the men and women at Fort Bragg reach their post-military employment goals.
The purpose of Fort Bragg’s career skills program is to empower service members, spouses and veterans with the training and experience needed to transition from military service into high quality civilian employment that meets their individual career goals.
To provide a bit of background, service members who honorably transition out of the military are eligible to receive unemployment compensation from the state. However, the Army must reimburse the state for the compensation using its annual training budget.
Fort Bragg strives to shift the spending from unemployment funding to proactive career training and counseling so that soldiers leave the military ready to join the workforce. Their efforts are proving effective as unemployment compensation has lowered significantly over the last 1o years.
The military’s training programs not only benefit soldiers and their family members, but the business community, too. Through the Army’s Career Skills Program, local businesses have an invaluable opportunity to hire trained employees.
During the last six months of their military service, soldiers can participate in apprenticeships, on-the-job training, internships, and employment skills training programs at companies who partner with the Army’s Career Skills Program.
For the duration of the program, each soldier’s on the job training is fully paid for by the military. This gives companies the opportunity to hire fully trained employees at no cost to their business.
The NC Chamber team was pleased to see several of our Cornerstone members such as Duke Energy, Pfizer, and CVS Health among the list of 200+ companies in partnership with Fort Bragg.
In addition to the career skills programs offered at Fort Bragg, active duty soldiers are eligible to receive up to $4,000 of college tuition assistance annually. Several colleges, including Methodist University, UNC Pembroke, Campbell University and Fayetteville State University, have offices on-post at Fort Bragg.
The NC Chamber looks forward to collaborating with Fort Bragg to connect soldiers with employers here in North Carolina, ultimately keeping military members here in our great state long after their service is over.