Enabling Long-Term Employment and Career Success for Veterans

Augusta, GA—According to the US Department of Labor, almost one-third of young veterans are unemployed. These veterans have risked their lives for our nation, and it should be our priority to help them find lasting careers. Halfaker is working toward this goal by helping to implement the Guard Apprenticeship Program Initiative (GAPI) and recently attended the 877th Engineer Company’s demobilization in December to provide assistance reviewing the soldiers’ resumes and registering with an employer partner network. 

The 877th Engineer Company of the Georgia Army National Guard (ARNG) spent over a year in Afghanistan clearing roads of IED bombs and building bridges. When the company redeployed in December 2011, nearly half of the deployed soldiers faced unemployment. Their compelling story mirrors the similar issues National Guard units face across the nation and was captured in a recent article on CNN, http://bit.ly/JYfhYx.

Employment is a vital part of a successful reintegration for veterans following a deployment. This has become a national issue, and many organizations across America are dedicated to helping veterans find work. The GAPI program, supported by Halfaker, is working hard to improve lasting employment opportunities for veterans through partnerships with the ARNG, Department of Labor, local businesses, schools and other community-based entities.

GAPI’s mission plays an important role in the sustainability of our National Guard units and increases service members’ employment opportunities because it allows them to capitalize on their skills and training attained in the military while working in specialized careers.

The partnerships formed through the GAPI program have led to opportunities for service members to gain civilian employment and national certification through apprenticeship programs, while earning wages and if eligible, portions of their GI Bill. Through these apprenticeships, service members can obtain national certification in one of over 100 trades that are mapped to over 107 military occupational specialties.

Many corporations, like Halfaker, believe that their employees are their greatest assets. The skills service members bring with them, like teamwork, responsibility, and leadership are vital in the business world and undoubtedly increase a company’s capabilities. Most notably, Halfaker and other veteran friendly companies believe there isn’t a better way to say “Thank You” for their service than to offer a veteran a job.

Through GAPI’s involvement with the 877th’s demobilization, several soldiers registered in the welding apprenticeship program and GAPI intends to continue supporting ARNG demobilizations in the future. Last year, GAPI placed 20 service members in apprenticeship programs and hopes to have 100 enrolled by the end of this year. Still in its first years, Halfaker hopes their efforts in supporting GAPI open the gateway to benefit thousands of service members for years to come.

If you are interested in finding out about existing apprenticeships and how to apply, please visit: www.guardapprenticeship.info.