Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Unique Army Summer Hire

It’s that time of year again when the summer hire programs are in progress. Many aspiring students are given the opportunity to experience the workplace at Military Installations or organizations working temporartily as Army civilian employees. The Summer Hire program or more correctly Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) is a temporary employment program for student employment during the summer months.

Recently this program at my installation had a new first. For the first time a combat Veteran has been accepted into the program. A soldier serving as a Reserve Specialist with a local Army Reserve MP Battalion is currently working as a STEP employee with one organization's Human Capital Management Office.

For this soldier, the transition since high school has been a little different than many of her peers in the STEP Program. She graduated High School in June 2007. Following graduation she went through the Army’s basic training and advanced individual training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO as a military policeman. Upon completion of her training she returned to home in preparation to attend spring 2008 College courses. Those plans were changed in January 2008 when she was called up to deploy with her unit to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She trained with her Reserve unit at Ft Dix, deployed to Baghdad, Iraq and worked at Camp Cropper which is a high security detainment facility. Kim returned home in Dec 2008 and was finally able to start her College education in January 2009.

“Having experienced military deployment and living the soldier’s life immediately after high school was a real change to me”, the soldier said of her experience. “I’m excited about getting my education underway and participating in the STEP program will help me grow. “

The soldier recently was able to apply some of her unique experience to the Tactics, Weapons Employment Course (TWEC) conducted by her organization. She participated as an assistant instructor in several courses within the POI and contributed to student understanding of what being a soldier is all about. She notes that she has been working a number of other assignments within the Summer hire program that have challenged her capabilities, but have also given her new insight into the work done by Army Civilians.

That soldier is my daughter... I could tell you of the trials getting her into the program... unfortunately the Army does not yet have really effective means of offering internships to soldiers that are in her situation. In fact after her summer hire program is over she will go back to the ranks of un-employed... but it is a start.

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