21 November 2014
Veterans, the Community Needs You
By Lisa Morris, USAMRMC Public Affairs

Calling all Soldiers leaving the Army: The community wants you!

Whether leaving the Army after a one-year mobilization or after 20 years of service, Soldiers have access to numerous resources to help smooth their potentially challenging transition from active duty to civilian life. The two worlds maintain several differences in areas like culture, management, career paths and communications styles, so the transition can prove difficult.

However, resources like the Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program offer tools, training, education and counseling that provide Soldiers with a comprehensive process and the confidence to execute their plans for another career, more education or entrepreneurship.

Organizations within the Frederick community want to contribute to this easy-transition effort, reflecting the gratitude community members have for the service Soldiers provide, as well as their acknowledgement of Soldiers’ valuable skillsets.

The Frederick Police Department actively recruits individuals leaving the military by maintaining communications with commanders, reaching out to Soldiers at job fairs, conducting training and coordinating with other agencies to help veterans along to their next destination.

Lt. Clark Pennington, commander of the Criminal Investigations Division with the Frederick Police Department, believes the department and veterans are attracted to a post-military life with each other for some of the same reasons, including structure.

"The police department is a quasi-military organization. We have a military structure, which means we have ranks, positions and authority,” said Pennington. “There’s less of a learning curve when we’re trying to transition military members to police work because of that leadership style. We even go from autocratic in a boot camp environment to democratic as they move up the ranks.”

As a former Soldier himself, Pennington speaks from experience in regards to some of the similarities between the police department and the Army.

“The military gives us that person of integrity, someone who understands the mission-above-self commitment,” said Pennington.

“There are a lot of sacrifices that go into this job; we work birthdays, holidays and weekends. Military members have already been doing that, so they understand self-sacrifice.”

The police department doesn’t require any education for entry-level police officer positions, nor does the department have an age limit. The department will hire a 50-year-old as long as he or she can pass all of the exams.

“It’s one job-one standard. If you can do the job, we’ll hire you if you’re the best candidate,” said Pennington. “We’re always looking for the best candidate. I’m not saying the military always provides the best, but they’ve shown us they understand the mission.”

Recruiters within the Maryland Environmental Service also believe they can find some of the best candidates within the military. With a mission also centered on providing services to protect and enhance the community, the MES seeks individuals who prioritize service above self.

“Because of their skillsets, veterans are very valuable to our workforce and are a great asset to our company,” said Laura King with the MES.

By posting jobs on veteran-friendly websites like the Maryland Workforce Exchange through the Department of Labor, maintaining veteran-outreach contacts and attending recruitment events and job fairs, the MES staff ensure they retain visibility among veterans so they can support them whenever the opportunity arises.

“The MES values the service veterans and their family members have given to our country. We fully support the hiring of returning service members and military spouses,” said King. “They are a very dedicated group of people that are willing to do what is needed to get the job done. It’s important to us to hire people like that and it’s great to help the people who help keep our country safe.”

The Frederick Police Department and the MES are only two examples of employers that actively recruit veterans. For more information on additional employers that recruit veterans, call the Fort Detrick SFL-TAP at (301) 619-2174 or email usarmy.detrick.usag.mvx.dhr-acap@mail.mil.

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