Transitioning service members, veterans and Family members at Fort Bragg have a unique opportunity to prepare for a new career in their own community. The Career Resource Center and Career Skills Training Program provide these individuals with training for a specific job with companies who conduct the training either at Fort Bragg or in the surrounding area.

The CSTP began as a Department of Defense program about two years ago, according to Deon Boyce, regional career skills program coordinator. He said it was created to reduce veteran unemployment, which was costing the government close to a billion dollars per year.

“They came up with a program to try to get service members trained in a particular job set and allow them to have employment already guaranteed on the back end, so once they transition out they already have a job instead of going into a status of unemployed veteran,” he said.

Companies must go through a vetting process to participate in the program. They submit a proposal to CSTP coordinators at Fort Bragg, who review it to determine whether it is a good fit for service members on the installation. If so, the company and association training program proceed through several additional layers of review to ensure accountability.

Boyce said this detailed review is necessary to ensure they’re not bringing any companies in that are going to “fleece” service members or just use them for their talents.

Once a company is approved for Fort Bragg, they can use the CRC to implement their training program. Located in Modular Village, the CRC is a one-stop training shop for transitioning service members involved in the CSTP.

These service members are usually in their last six months of service, and will report to the CRC every weekday for training. Soldiers must receive approval from their commander to be released from their normal work duties so they can participate in the program, said William McMillian, Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program manager.

Current companies in the CRC include CVS Health and Veterans Assembled electronics. Participants in the electronics program will graduate with 11 certifications, and can be hired by companies such as Universal Studios, Land Rover and Lockheed Martin, according to Alvin Brown, director of base operations, VAE.

CVS Health provides service members the opportunity to apply for in-demand positions like store manager, said Ed Pethan, manager military recruitment, CVS Health .

“The biggest thing we are interested in with regards to transitioning veterans are those soft skills that every veteran brings to corporate America – their integrity, their loyalty, their teambuilding, their leadership,” he said. “Things that are difficult to teach in corporate America, those veterans already come to the table with those skills.”

Helping these veterans is the main goal of the CRC, explained Lillie S. Cannon, associate vice president, business development and military initiatives, Columbia Southern Education Group. Cannon oversees the center and emphasized the staff’s willingness to help.

“If we don’t have the company in here, all they need to do is talk to our account manager and we’ll help,” she said. “Even if they’re not a part of our CSTP, we will still help them with employment.”

Cannon recommended a tour for all transitioning service members, spouses and veterans.

“Get to know us before you need us.”

For more information on the CSTP, reach out to an SFL-TAP transition coordinator. Call Lillie Cannon at 251-923-8440 for more information about the CRC.