January 28, 2016 – The Northwest Guardian, Pamela Kulokas
The Camo2Commerce program has been awarded $2.5 million in additional increment funding by the Department of Labor that will provide reemployment services to transitioning active-duty service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and other Washington military installations.
Transitioning service members receive information during the Corporate Fellowship Program Jan. 19 at the Stone Education Center as part of the Camos2Commerce initiative.
Approximately 1,350 service members stand to benefit from the National Dislocated Worker Grant supplemental funding awarded to C2C’s lead agency — the Pacific Mountain Workforce Consortium and its partners.
C2C received an initial allocation of up to $5,586,385 million in 2013 to provide employment support for service members exiting Washington installations. The initial award amount released was $2,888,266 to serve 900 of the more than 4,500 people separating from service at JBLM. In 2015, DOL awarded the remaining balance. The recent funding will bring the total amount awarded to more than $8 million.
Designed primarily to serve those from JBLM, the release of the additional $2.5 million will allow C2C to continue providing services through June 2017.
C2C offerings include: one-on-one career counseling, job placement, support services, on-the-job-training, hiring fairs, academies, short term and rapid certifications, math boot camps, apprenticeship fairs, business outreach, entrepreneurship training and partner organization referrals.
Sean Murphy, Pacific Mountain Workforce Consortium’s associate director, said the funding was the result of the program delivering on promises to connect transitioning service members with jobs.
“It is not a frequent occurrence when a grant in this program gets refunded,” he said. “It came down to the fact that our results were stellar, and the Department of Labor just couldn’t help but fund us while we do this work.”
Headquartered at JBLM, this National Emergency Grant-funded pilot program has provided employment preparation and placement services for more than 890 service members during the last two years. According to Murphy, 86 percent of C2C graduates have successfully found jobs in the region — making employment the norm for exiting program participants.
“I am very proud of the results obtained by the Camo2Commerce team,” said Cheryl Fambles, CEO of Pacific Mountain Workforce Consortium. “As this program continues, we are confident the public workforce system will prove this dynamic transitioning workforce, if prepared appropriately, can excel in civilian careers.”
The success of the program can be attributed, Murphy said, to teamwork, partner relationships and C2C employees making effort to become more efficient every day. Serving the individual being involuntarily separated from the military is the priority, Murphy said.
C2C ultimately aims to provide training needed for transitioning service members to be employable in high-demand fields. The program brings all the resources and support available in the public workforce system onto JBLM, giving participants a higher level of support than the basic job search could offer.
Not only will the additional funding allow C2C to serve more clients, but it will also continue the nationally-recognized Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy that has already expanded to three others installations since its inception. Murphy said C2C will continue to assist service members while placing an emphasis on the sustainability of the program model.
Before enrolling in the program, service members must engage with the Service Member for Life-Transition Assistance Program at JBLM and complete required courses. C2C offers a one-hour orientation that gives those interested an overview of the program.
To learn more, visit camo2commerce.com or call 253-967-0319.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.