253-967-0319  c2c@pacmtn.org

“Military to utilities. Transitioning to a post-military life in the utilities field”

Northwest Military – Home of The Ranger, NW Airlifter & Weekly Volcano

When Miles Joseph Barretta wakes up and gets ready for work, he doesn’t put on the standard active-duty Army uniform of BDUs and combat boots; his boots are utilitarian and steel-toed, but take him to a classroom at the south campus of Bates Technical College. And while his battle buddies do all the standard day-to-day work called of them in the 110th Chemical Battalion (Tech Escort,) Barretta is learning lessons in forklift driving and a multitude of other utilities-specific skills he will be using in his new calling as a civilian employee of Pacific Gas and Electric.
Barretta is one of 16 close to separation, active-duty military servicemen (15 soldiers, one airman) taking part in this pilot program, a unique arm of PowerPathways developed by PG&E. The program was launched in California in 2008 as a way to train and develop the next generation of utility workers. This program has seen the successful enrollment, completion, and hiring of a large number of veterans.

To make the PowerPathways program work in Washington state, a partnership between PG&E, Bates Technical College, and Camo2Commerce was forged. But more key players lie just under the surface, with multiple key players also taking key roles in the process. Local utility partners took part in the experiential learning process of the cohort, and the PowerPathways cohort were fully funded by a federal grant from Camo2Commerce, which is a program of the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council.

Robert Comer, Project Coordinator with the Camo2Commerce program, has been working with participants of the program, sees the program as a “perfect marriage” between transitioning military servicemembers, colleges and the community. “It’s a winning combination; it just makes sense.”

As for Barretta, he sees the program and its outcome as a boon. Even before graduation, he has been offered, and accepted a position in his home state of California. It’s a welcome relief after what he says has been an “extremely stressful” period of time. He signs out for terminal leave April 26; he enters his new job May 9. He doesn’t worry about a lack of vacation time during his terminal leave period, stating, “I’ve got a family to support.” (Barretta has a wife and two children, ages 3 and 5.)

With Barretta in the PowerPathways cohort, with interviews pending for a job in California, is Joko Riley from the 864th Engineering Battalion. Though, PG&E has signed on to hire eight of the participants, skills and certifications received from this course will be universal, so those who would rather stay local can apply with local utilities, as well. For Riley, whose wife is from California, the move would be a welcome change, but one he hopes will be permanent after a career that entailed moving his wife and two kids, 14 and 11, every three years. “My goal is to be planted; to grow stability.”

 

Military to Utilities

Camo2Commerce awarded $2.5M to keep doors open

Camo2Commerce awarded $2.5M to keep doors open

Jan 14, 2016 – 01:46 PM

Camo2Commerce, an employment program that works with service members primarily from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, will keep its doors open through June 2017, thanks to $2.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

So far, the program has been successful. Over the last two years, C2C has provided employment preparation and placement services for over 890 service members, with nearly 86 percent of participants employed in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology and logistics.

The additional funding will allow C2C to directly serve a total of 1,350 and enable other eligible service personnel to participate in JBLM programs.

“I am very proud of the results obtained by the Camo2Commerce team,” said Cheryl Fambles, CEO of Pacific Mountain Workforce Development, the lead agency for Camo2Commerce. “As this program continues, we are confident the public work force system will prove this dynamic transitioning workforce, if prepared appropriately, can excel in civilian careers.”

Camo2Commerce and Morningside – Matching Qualified Disabled Veterans to Local Civilian Jobs

camo2commerce

Camo2Commerce enrollees practice interview skills. Many of them have not ever been formally interviewed for a job. Photo credit: Shellie Willis

The United States military is undergoing significant changes, and the downsizing and cutbacks that are part of any war drawdown are having an appreciable impact on the local families of Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). An Army study estimated that approximately 9,000 active duty servicemembers stationed at JBLM will be leaving the service annually over the next three to four years. Notably, among veterans planning to leave the military nationwide during this same period, an estimated 13,000 servicemembers per year plan to transition to civilian sector jobs in the greater JBLM area.

This burgeoning population of transitioning workers represents a sizable potential workforce. However, servicemembers often struggle to frame their military experience in a way that easily translates to civilian opportunities. Fortunately, there are multiple agencies focused on providing solutions. Of note, thePacific Mountain Workforce Development Council (PacMnt), which is a workforce development organization dedicated to cultivating business opportunities in western Washington, has been actively pursuing solutions to effectively utilize the influx of hirable veterans.

In response to the need to help warriors transition, PacMnt built a coalition with Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and Thurston County Economic Development Council, two organizations that had previously collaborated with PacMnt on a project to help employ spouses of servicemembers. Additionally, they tappedMorningside, a non-profit based in Olympia whose mission is to support clients with disabilities in securing and retaining meaningful, integrated employment.

The allied partners proposed and received a two-year National Emergency Grant, funded by the Department of Labor to establish a pilot program, Camo2Commerce. This program aims to foster job opportunities for veterans by educating civilian employers, to prepare servicemembers to transition and enhance their skill sets, and to identify strong matches between an employer’s needs and potential employee profiles. The grant requires that participants are currently on active duty at JBLM and are conducting a job search in the Puget Sound area.

camo2commerce

Wounded warriors and those with other disabilities comprise a particularly vulnerable segment of the target demographic. Jim Larson, Morningside President/CEO and a PacMnt Board Member, had been searching for ways to empower transitioning warriors with disabilities because he feels that Morningside is uniquely positioned to assist these veterans.

In Camo2Commerce, Larson “saw the opportunity to help servicemen and servicewomen with disabilities find jobs in our community.” Larson identified Mark Moffett to lead Camo2Commerce’s efforts with disabled veterans, given his experience with both the military and civilian aspects of their challenges and opportunities.

A former active duty soldier, Moffett spent three years as a company commander in the Warrior Transition Battalion, a battalion at Madigan Army Medical Center that is dedicated to caring and advocating for ill and injured servicemembers and expediting their reintegration or relocation to the civilian sector. Since moving to reserve status with the National Guard in 2012, Moffett has served as a Project Manager with Morningside. Moffett now conducts outreaches to identify transitioning warriors who may benefit from the Camo2Commerce program, largely by interfacing with the Warrior Transition Battalion and through use of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES).

Participants enrolled in Camo2Commerce have access to a wide variety of workshops and training opportunities. The workshops run the gamut from one-day events to 12-week programs meant to teach hard skills. Topics include IT helpdesk, cloud computing, human resources, and classes for those with medical experience. A recent wire splicing installation class enrolled 10 students, and nine of them were placed immediately into full-time positions upon completion of the certificate. Case managers help their attendees focus in on one or two desired skill sets and set attainable goals.

Camo2Commerce also employs job developers who market transitioning servicemembers directly to job opportunities. Further, program enrollees are equipped with clothing and/or tools as appropriate for their target field of employment, and case managers assist with the preparation work for interviews and for the actual transition itself.

camo2commerce

One aspect veterans with disabilities may require additional assistance with is in navigating the IDES system. When a medical discharge is underway, the End Time of Service can be hard to estimate while the request is being processed. Moffett communicates with various departments to determine an actual out date and tries to expedite processing when a job offer is in hand. This improved transparency and support also helps reduce the stress that servicemembers who have been primarily focused on their medical needs may experience when their discharge is suddenly imminent.

In 2014, there were 512 enrollees in the Camo2Commerce program, 187 of whom have been placed in jobs thus far. To date, Morningside has made 50 referrals for job placement services. The goal for 2015 is to complete 900 enrollments and 720 placements, with a grant renewal anticipated if successful.

As Moffett shares, “it is highly rewarding to successfully partner a veteran with an employer and aid in the transition to civilian life while allowing him/her to continue to care for their family.”

In addition to the innovative and skilled staff, Larson is quick to credit the welcoming, open business community in South Sound with the success of Camo2Commerce. Through his work with Morningside, he has been impressed with how well employers in our area respond to need and are willing and motivated to support causes and people. Connecting disabled veterans to meaningful employment is a cause that will benefit us all.

For more information, contact the JBLM Camo2Commerce office at (253) 967-0319.

Heroes at the Hutch

Heroes at the Hutch

Fred Hutch joins a first-of-its-kind initiative to hire veterans
Nov. 10, 2014
Rachel Ceballos

Veterans can “contribute substantially to our ability to be creative and scientifically innovative,” says Fred Hutch scientist and U.S. Coast Guard veteran Dr. Rachel Ceballos.

Fred Hutch file

If everything Dr. Rachel Ceballoslearned in eight years doing search and rescue for the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve could be boiled down to one lesson, it would be this:

“You always find a way to get something done,” she said. “You don’t let anything stand in your way.”

The lesson has served her well in her career at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where she has worked since 2005, first as a postdoctoral fellow and, since 2011, on the faculty of the Public Health Sciences Division. What she is aiming to “get done” is to develop culturally appropriate behavioral interventions for preventing and controlling cancer.

From her very first research job as an undergraduate in California, her Coast Guard experience has paid dividends. When she applied for that job, her principal investigator’s husband heard that she’d done search and rescue and knew what that entailed, including organizational skills and attention to details and protocols. He advised his wife — Ceballos’ future boss — that someone from that background would be competent and reliable.

“Having been in the service opened a lot of doors to me to get me to where I am today,” Ceballos said. “It gave me confidence.”

Rachel Ceballos U.S. Coast Guard Reserve

Dr. Rachel Ceballos, now an assistant member of Fred Hutch’s Public Health Sciences Division, served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve from 1991-1999.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Ceballos

Fred Hutch is seeking to open doors to more veterans like Ceballos as a founding member of the Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy, one of five new initiatives to help military service members at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord re-enter the civilian workforce.

About 8,000 to 9,000 service members will be leaving JBLM each year for the next three to four years as part of a planned drawdown taking place at bases across the country due to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars winding down. If the pilot programs are successful at easing the transition from military to civilian careers and lives, they will be expanded to other parts of the country.

“In Washington, we have the resources, ideas, best practices and leaders to be a model for communities and the military across the country,” said U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., at a summit announcing the five initiatives at JBLM in October.

One initiative will help service members transition to jobs in solar energy. Another, sponsored by the Intercontinental Hotels Group, will offer training opportunities in hotels around the world. Starbucks Coffee Company and the Walt Disney Co. are also sponsoring programs.

The Heroes Academy

The Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy is unique in that it will specifically target officers looking for corporate jobs, said Rob Comer of Camo2Commerce, which works with JBLM on transition services and is helping coordinate the new initiative.

“We’re looking at the more senior individuals, very well-qualified for management-type positions in major corporations,” Comer said. “We saw a need to provide a transition service that currently does not exist in the nation. Fred Hutch has stepped on board early to take part in this pilot initiative.”

Officers can begin applying for the fellowship today. Fellows will be announced Dec. 19, and the program will begin Jan. 12.

Besides Fred Hutch, participating organizations include ThyssenKrupp AerospaceCompass GroupTrueblue and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.

Once chosen, each fellow will spend the first of the 13-week academy in the classroom, training in corporate skills such as networking and interviewing. For each of the next 12 weeks, they will spend three days at their assigned corporate partner’s workplace and one day in the classroom studying project management, business writing and other topics. Because they are still on active duty, they will continue to draw their military salary.

At Fred Hutch, for example, the plan is to have the fellow meet with leaders in various administrative and scientific departments and divisions — including information technology, facilities, and Fred Hutch’s Basic Sciences, Clinical Research, Human Biology, Public Health Sciences, and Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Divisions — to give him or her a broad idea of what it takes to run a research center.

The hope — though not a requirement — behind the initiative is that at the end of the 13 weeks, the fellow will interview for a position with the corporate partner. If no position is available at that time, Fred Hutch will use its network to help the fellow make contacts, said Grace Campbell, a Hutch recruitment specialist who is the liaison to the heroes initiative.

“We need to help them in any way, shape or form we can,” said Campbell. “They’ve served us. We can’t not serve them.”

The benefits of hiring vets

But as veterans and those who have hired veterans can testify, the benefit is just as likely to be for participating organizations.

Bruce Busby, Fred Hutch’s biosafety and radiation safety officer, is both a veteran and someone who likes to hire veterans.

“I’ve hired vets right out of the military,” he said “They’ve always worked out. Veterans in general have a maturity about them. They know how to learn and they know how to train.”

Busby knows firsthand how valuable military experience can be. He spent nine years in the Navy, including three years aboard a service ship. He left in 1990 and went on to get bachelor’s and masters’ degrees.

That’s not something he thought he could do before his stint in the Navy. He had entered the service thinking he wasn’t smart enough to go to college. The military taught him that he was. His first couple of years of college he maintained a 4.0 average, graduating with a 3.6.

Other lessons? He learned to handle multiple tasks at a time, as well as to handle the stress that that entails. He learned the importance of hard work and doing things the right way. He learned to follow procedures. Most of all, he learned both how to learn and how to teach others.

He also came away with “pretty good people skills.”

“There’s nothing like learning how to deal with people when you’re on a 600-foot ship with 600 people,” he said.

Transitions

Both Busby and Ceballos acknowledge that there are also some military traditions that need to be unlearned in the transition to civilian work and lives.

In the military, for example, chain of command is everything: Those above you tell you what to do. Teamwork is possible only with your peers. Then you get out of the military, and you’re expected to work as a team with everybody, including your boss.

“I want feedback from my staff,” Busby said. “The military isn’t big on feedback.”

Ceballos agrees that experience with chain of command can be both a benefit and a hindrance in civilian life.

“In our [Public Health Sciences] division, it’s not about hierarchy,” she said. “Everyone can make contributions. It’s important to get that message across — that everyone has input, that everyone’s opinion matters.”

Busby also notes that in civilian life, you can be late for work, “and you’re probably not going to be fired or put in jail.”

To help with the transition out of the military’s written and unwritten systems, Fred Hutch intends to start an affinity group to talk about making the workplace more veteran-friendly. Busby also suggested that setting up one-on-one mentoring relationships with veterans who have already made the transition would be helpful.

The payoff for Fred Hutch and other employers, said Ceballos, is worth it.

“People who have been in the service can have a very different perspective or approach to many things compared to those that have never been in the service,” she said. “Fred Hutch can benefit from this because diversity of perspectives can contribute substantially to our ability to be creative and scientifically innovative.”

For more information about the initiative, including how you can get involved or apply, contact Grace Campbell, gcampbel@fredhutch.org, or go to the Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy website at http://camo2commerce.com/heroes/.

Mary Engel is a staff writer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Previously, she was a writer covering medicine and health policy for newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, where she was part of a team that won a Pulitzer for health care reporting. She also was a fellow at the year-long MIT Knight Science Journalism program. Reach her atmengel@fredhutch.org.

Are you interested in reprinting or republishing this story? Be our guests! We want to help connect people with the information they need. We just ask that you link back to the original article, preserve the author’s byline and refrain from making edits that alter the original context. Questions? Email editor Linda Dahlstrom at ldahlstr@fredhutch.org.

New JBLM exit training program starts

Jan 14, 2015 – 04:31 PM

Starting this week at JBLM, 16 service members from the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force are spending four days in the classroom beginning to transition their military leadership skills into what they will need working for corporate America.

Following this first week through the end of the Academy, the Fellows will spend Monday through Wednesday with their host, learning through hands-on experience.

The 13-week fellowship is a newly launched Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy, a one-of-a-kind program to provide an opportunity to learn through on-site experience with corporate leaders in Puget Sound area, and additionally through 120 hours of in classroom corporate management training.

Each of the Fellows will be hosted by a participating corporate partners: Thurston Economic Development Council, TrueBlue Inc., Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Williams -Sonoma, ThyssenKrupp Aerospace NA, Amazon, Starbucks, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center and Compass Group.

“Fellowship Academy is a first for transitioning service personnel,” said Cheryl Fambles, CEO of Pacific Mountain Workforce Development. “It represents the very best in collaboration among the military, public workforce system and corporate America.”

This program was developed between Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Camo2Commerce, a program of Pacific Mountain Workforce Development.

Making The Best First Impression

Hiring Heros

Northwest Guardian

Published: 11:39AM December 18th, 2014
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Northwest Guardian

Thyssen-Krupp Aerospace representatives Scott Haas, left, and James Fitzherald interview Brad Criswell at the Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy Interview Day Dec. 11 at Bates Technical College in Tacoma.

 

 Twenty eager transitioning, retired or veteran service members attended the last string of interviews at the Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy Interview Day Dec. 11 at Bates Technical College in Tacoma.

Everyone had at least two, 20-minute interviews.

At the end of the day, five were eliminated and the 15 remaining applicants will be immersed in the 12-week, Monday through Wednesday Fellowship Academy at selected partner companies starting Jan. 12. The companies include Amazon, Compass Group, Fred Hutch, Tacoma-Pierce Chamber, Thurston EDC, ThyssenKrupp, TrueBlue, Starbucks, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm and Pottery Barn.

“I’ve been networking like crazy, I’m so excited and ecstatic to see where this goes,” said Spc. Kevin Chambers, automated logistics for 864th Engineer Battalion. “I’m a transitioning veteran and will have served for four years total when I’m out. This program is phenomenal. I didn’t expect so much to happen. It’s already pushing me to move in the right direction. It’s refreshing and eye-opening. I could see myself fitting into these civilian jobs, and for a transitioning military person seeing themselves fitting in is a huge deal.”

With more than 9,000 service members transitioning from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to the civilian workforce each year, events like these are crucial to finding their next jobs, said Cheryl Endres, adviser and consultant of Hiring Our Heroes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Camo2Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program seeks to capitalize on senior noncommissioned officers and junior to mid-grade officers with fellowships at partner companies in the Seattle and Tacoma area.

Those interested applied for the opportunity to participate.

“Doing this program will get people hands-on corporal-level experience,” said Sean Murphy, Camo2Commerce project director. “It’s all in a fellowship style and the goal is for them to not be unemployed and have a smooth transition out of the military. Hopefully they will end up with them or a good company in general after this experience.

This will be a learning experience to streamline the transition process.”

This is the first pilot program of this, and as far as Murphy knows, JBLM is the first to do it.

“So far it’s remarkable the amount of outreach from the companies we’ve had,” said JBLM Commander Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr. “Companies can gain good workers from these kinds of events, it’s a win-win situation. Their future leader might be coming from these interviews today. And we are the first ones doing this kind of program, so this is a lot of fun.”

Murphy said their next event is tentatively scheduled for May 2015.

“We are talking to other partners and companies for future events,” Murphy said. “If all goes well, we hope to continue this program.”

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Tony Granados, who served for 20 years, said he “loves the program.”

“This is a great opportunity for my transition, to get my foot in the door,” Granados said. “It’s going to help Soldiers get a job and provide a smooth transition. Today I have an interview with Starbucks, and that’s a big company so I’m excited.”

Endres said she thankful that the leadership of JBLM is supportive of programs that help transitioning service members.

“This is groundbreaking, and I’m so happy to be part of it.”

WorkForce Central Helps Veterans Transition to the Work Force

http://youtu.be/NZb38bllfzY

Below is a link to a video of our very own Shellie Willis, on Pierce County Television, explaining what Camo2Commerce goals are for our transitioning service members.

http://youtu.be/NZb38bllfzY

 

JBLM hosts nation’s biggest military jobs fair

JBLM hosts nation’s biggest military jobs fair

Staff writer October 23, 2014

The jobs fair, which organizers said was the biggest of several such events held across the United States and at American bases in Europe and the Pacific, was designed to help military members whose careers have been cut short by the drawdown in Afghanistan.

About 9,000 service members will end their military careers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this year, said Robin Baker, who heads the base’s transition assistance program.

That’s up from a typical yearly average of about 6,000, Baker said.

“We expect the number to stay up for the next couple of years,” she said. “A lot of those are people who thought they were going to stay in the service until they retired.”

Between 35 and 40 percent of those mustered out at JBLM will stay in Washington, Baker said. That’s a fraction of the 13,000 service members from all American duty stations expected to return to the state this year, looking for new ways of making a living.

Thursday’s jobs fair was the climax of a three-day “transition summit” at JBLM, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and joined by a large public-private partnership that included JBLM, Washington state and federal departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Labor.

Gov. Jay Inslee was among those who made remarks when the summit opened Tuesday.

Close to 300 businesses, school recruiters and state and federal agencies set up tables at the fair, held in two cavernous aircraft hangers at the air base.

The Starbucks table was a popular stop, in part because of free coffee, but also because of the company’s well-publicized promise to hire at least 10,000 veterans and spouses by the end of 2018.

Other participants ranged widely, from the Washington State Patrol to trade unions, hotel chains and small business advisers.

More than 100 of the booths were staffed by recruiters from colleges and training schools from across the country, where former soldiers’ tuition and fees will be covered by federal GI benefits.

Spc. Jose Peraza, 23, whose four-year term of service in the Army ends in March, made a quick trip past all the tables before narrowing his choices to a few.

“Starbucks was my first stop,” he said, “but I’m looking for anything that will match my pay and benefits. I’d be happiest with something in IT or maybe customer service.”

Peraza, who lives in Tacoma, said he and his wife calculated he will need a civilian job that pays at least $46,000 a year to match his Army pay and benefits.

The Army trained Peraza in satellite operations and maintenance, which set him apart from most others at the fair.

The vast majority, according to Baker, were trained in infantry or artillery. Most are under 30, she said, and about 85 percent are men. Many joined the Army or Air Force directly out of high school, and had limited work experience before that.

What might an Army-trained infantry soldier in his 20s bring to a civilian job?

Plenty, said, Charles Dorazio, a trainer for the U-Haul company, which staffed a booth at the fair.

“Our company was founded by a World War II vet,” Dorazio said, “and the intangible traits that a service member brings to the table still directly translates over to working for U-Haul.

“They’ve had leadership training; they’ve had equal opportunity training. Their experience translates to them being good small group leaders. They can run a team of five to 15 people, which is exactly what we’re looking for in our store managers.”

Dorazio said he himself is a veteran and knows firsthand how difficult it is making the leap back into the civilian world.

“It’s scary,” he said. “You don’t talk the same. You’re used to a very tight community where you’re very comfortable. You don’t know how to approach people. You don’t know how to sell yourself.

“I’ve gone through what they’re going through,” he said, “and I’m more than happy to assist them.”

Susan Kelly, director of the Defense Department’s Transition to Veterans Program, participated in a panel discussion Thursday. Afterward, she said she’s noticed a dramatic change in the past few years in how businesses regard hiring vets.

“It used to be that there was a sea of goodwill,” she said. “People wanted to help.

“The goodwill is still there,” she said, “but now people realize that vets are a talent pool for the national economy. That’s a big change from what we saw two or three years ago.”

Rob Carson: 252-597-8693 rob.carson@thenewstribune.com

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2014/10/23/3387003_jblm-hosts-nations-biggest-jobs.html?sp=%2F99%2F224%2F&rh=1#storylink=cpy

Solar power among industries offering ‘takeoff’ for troops

Solar power among industries offering ‘takeoff’ for troops

Staff writersOctober 21, 2014 Updated 14 hours ago

There are soldiers, airmen and other military service members who would be good at all of those jobs. The trick is connecting them with the right training and employment on their way out of the Armed Forces.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is trying to do more to make that connection for the 8,000 to 9,000 troops expected to leave the military each year for the next few years from the base south of Tacoma.

“They’re not asking for a soft landing. What they’re asking for is a strong takeoff,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander of I Corps, said Tuesday.

Lanza spoke at a jobs summit for military, business and government leaders that was packed with announcements on new programs.

Speaking just after Lanza, Gov. Jay Inslee announced some of the participants, which included solar-energy companies, such as SolarCity, one of the biggest.

The first class of at least 15 service members will spend two weeks in December learning to install panels on residential roofs — enough to get their basic certification and land jobs at one of six companies.

The National Institute of Training and Education is training the first class at JBLM with money from Camo2Commerce, a South Sound job training and placement organization. The partners have a similar program in the works to train workers for Amazon data centers.

“I believe veterans ought to be treated like royalty,” Inslee said, “and the way you treat royalty is to put it to work.”

Later Tuesday came the announcement of another Camo2Commerce program, this one to help officers move into corporate management.

The 13-week Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy will combine classroom time with hands-on training at companies and organizations that commit to hire the program’s graduates, including TrueBlue, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and ThyssenKrupp Aerospace.

Camo2Commerce said it will train at least 30 service members and then seek to turn the program over to Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

A separate program announced Tuesday will train service members as hotel managers through InterContinental Hotels Group, starting in January with two students going through a 20-week training.

The base has similar programs planned in connection with the Disney Institute and Starbucks.

JBLM was the first in the military to create a “software academy” that leads to work at Microsoft. It also hosts union-sponsored courses that help troops find work in pipefitting and in heating and air conditioning.

It’s all part of the military’s growing emphasis on preparing troops for civilian life while they’re still in uniform.

Those programs have accelerated since 2011 after Congress passed a bill written by Sen. Patty Murray that allowed military installations to free up troops leaving the Armed Forces to focus on their transitions to civilian life.

Now at JBLM, soldiers can start taking classes to ready themselves for that change a year before they’re scheduled to separate or retire from the Army. They can use that time for general classes on choosing careers or colleges, or they can enroll in apprenticeship programs that promise them work after they leave the military.

Murray said Tuesday that 85 percent of eligible veterans had attended the transition assistance sessions in January, February and March, including 90 percent at JBLM.

“And now we need to be doing more to help our service members transition into careers,” Murray said. “Careers that not only hone their skills and support a family, but serve as a launching pad.”

The nation’s unemployment rate for recent veterans remains persistently higher than the civilian rate. In 2013, 8.8 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were unemployed, higher than the civilian rate of 7.5 percent.

The disparity was worse among young veterans. Veterans aged 18-24 faced an unemployment rate of 24.3 percent last year, starkly higher than the 15.8 percent unemployment rate for their civilian peers.

Jordan Schrader: 360-786-1826 jordan.schrader@thenewstribune.com @Jordan_Schrader

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/10/21/3444516/solar-power-among-industries-offering.html?sp=/99/289/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy