Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, TX —
“The business community is here because they want to take
care of our transitioning members,” said Brig. Gen Bob LaBrutta, 502nd Air Base
Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander, in his welcoming remarks to more
than 200 participants at the JBSA Transition Summit held in the Fort Sam
Houston Community Center Dec. 9.
“The U.S. Army has the major adjustment in bringing their end
strength down,” LaBrutta said. “This means we are going to have a lot of
Soldiers transitioning over the next few years. They will be coming back to
this community and need training and good jobs. That’s what today is all
“President Obama, the White House and Congress are all
interested in making sure the same transition assistance programs be made
available to all services, said Wayne Boswell, director of Business Operations,
Transition to Veterans Program Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Personnel and Readiness, during a panel discussion. “Now there is one
transition assistance program curriculum available, so no matter where services
members are, they will go through one program.”
“I’ve seen how transition assistance programs have been
successful for my family, so that’s why I’m delighted to be a part of this
summit,” said Col. Nicole Malachowski, the Dec. 9 keynote speaker and Joining
Forces executive director, a White House program calling Americans to rally
around service members, veterans and their families. “I watched how the program
helped my husband take a look at what he wanted to do and wanted to be in his
TAP provides information, tools and training to ensure
service members and their spouses are prepared for the next step in civilian
life, whether it’s pursuing additional education, finding a job in the public
or private sector or starting their own business.
“Service members make great entrepreneurs,” said Craig W.
Heilman, U.S. Small Business Administration veteran’s programs director. “One
in 10 small business owners are veterans.”
“It’s much easier to start a business than I realized and to
start a franchise is just as feasible,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Amy
Italiano, Navy Medicine Training Support Center training instructor.
“I wasn’t going to come to the summit, but my boss
encouraged me to attend,’ said Sgt. Maj. Tom Chambers from U.S. Army South.
“It’s been extremely helpful.”
Discussion panels also addressed post-traumatic stress
disorder, funding programs for transitioning service members, military culture,
networking, training and writing resumes.
“Volunteer work is also relevant, so don’t leave it out of
your resume,” suggested Elizabeth O’Brien, Hiring Our Heroes director of
military spouses programs during a workshop. “It’s all on how you phrase
“Stop looking at just at what a company serves. You have to
look beyond that,” said, U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and
Training Services coordinator Roxanne Griffith during a workshop. “Every
business needs other positions in their industry, so think outside the box.”
“It is very encouraging to find I can work for the
information technology industry, even though I don’t have the technology
background,” said Col. Raul Benitez from U.S. Army South. “There are other
things a corporation could use, such as our skills sets and experience.”
“In the Veterans Affairs resume writing and federal careers
workshop, I learned to take the military jargon out of my resume,” Tony
Hendricks said. “Complies don’t know military jargon. Over time, Service
members think that everybody gets it, but that’s not the case.
The panels debated military culture in the civilian sector,
job preparation, mental obstacles, mentorship programs, obtaining the right job
for service members skill sets and networking on the second day of the summit.
“Networking and making that one-on-one contact with folks
helps me to know there are things I can do, instead of stressing out on what my
next step will be,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Darren Maring from the
Headquarters Air Force Personnel Center at JBSA-Randolph.
The summit concluded with a hiring fair Dec. 10 with more
than 90 employers represented and more than 450 participants.
“Some employers have given me advice on things I need to do
in the pre-application process,” Maring said. “They gave me information on what
their companies do and what skills sets I have that can be used in their
“The military hired you to fight the nation’s wars, but has
a vested interest in making sure you transition successfully,” said keynote
speaker Brig. Gen. Daniel Mitchell, deputy commanding general for support at
the U.S. Army Installation Management Command at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Dec. 10.
“We are an all-volunteer force and if you are not satisfied how you were
treated in the military, then our volunteer force will die. When you go out,
you serve your community and you continue to be ambassadors for your service.
That’s why the military wants you to transition successfully.”