Job center connects veterans with job opportunities

Friday, June 30th, 2017 - Jobs


Northwest Guardian

Perri Menter, left, and Karl Rone Jr. are two of the faces seen regularly at the new American Job Center on Lewis North.

If you go

What: Ribbon-cutting ceremony for JBLM’s American Job Center

When: July 7, 10 a.m. to noon

Where: Hawk Transition Center, 1577 41st Division Drive, Lewis North

The American Job Center, a pilot program which provides employment opportunities to veterans, will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 7 at 10 a.m. at the Hawk Transition Center on Lewis North at Joint Base Lewis-McChord — the first military installation to physically host a center of this type.

JBLM is often considered a “prove-it” location for programs geared toward transitioning service members and veterans. It’s a label that the staff for JBLM’s Service Member for Life — Transition Assistance Program are proud of.

“We are at the forefront involving anything transitions,” said Chris Gentz, JBLM SFL-TAP deputy transitions manager. “We’re really the trial board because of the success of our initiatives.”

The American Job Center networks through the United States Department of Labor and has reportedly served more than 1 million veterans in the last year.

“The hope is once we’ve proven the success with this formula, (the American Job Center) can be transplanted into other military installations,” Gentz said.

Although JBLM SFL-TAP offers several transition opportunities for active-duty service members, it is more focused on the preparation for going into job interviews and the job hunt.

The American Job Center will provide specialists to help veterans work on improving their resumes, develop networking tools and interviewing skills.

From there, the specialists can help connect veterans by placing them in job opportunities.

“This is taking the next logical step,” Gentz said.

Job opportunities available through the American Job Center include organizations that regularly attend JBLM transition events.

Some of the biggest business organizations in the Pacific Northwest, such as Starbucks, Amazon and Boeing, will continue to look for military talent.

Employment opportunities cover engineering, computer programming and informational technology — all thanks to continued partnerships with organizations like Camo2Commerce.

Gentz said a big part of the interest is because about 15 percent of all service members stay in the area after serving at JBLM.

“ (Employers are) going to be actively engaged in hiring veterans out of our American Job Center,” Gentz said.

The American Job Center isn’t only geared toward veterans. Spouses and family members also can utilize the tools of the center to find employment.

Gentz said that helps with providing additional outreach to service members so they are aware of the American Job Center and other transition opportunities offered through JBLM’s SFL-TAP.

“We can be a big part of their lives,” Gentz said. “This isn’t something you just find out about in the last six months of your career.”

Dean Siemon: 253-477-0235, @deansiemon

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