As the Army continues to reduce its end strength as it draws down from two wars and complies with stringent spending caps, efforts to help service members enter civilian life have become increasingly important.
“We see ourselves as a retention and a transition tool both,” Mark Brown, human resources director at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., told military.com.
A key element of the transition program is helping soldiers figure out if they are financially ready to leave the military, Brown said. “In many cases, the soldiers will realize that they’re not ready and decide to stay in,” he said.
Officials at the installation have made tremendous strides in partnering with local businesses, schools and unions on transition, according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, commander of I Corps. Lanza considers the transition programs at Lewis-McChord “the best in the Army.”
The community has demonstrated an overwhelming amount of support for separating personnel seeking to start civilian careers, Brown said. “Usually the partner reaches out to us. We don’t really have to solicit, they come to us,” he said.
The installation and community may be able to do a better job of collaborating in light of the number of new organizations that are being formed, Brown said. “Literally every day, I learn about a new organization that’s working in this space that I didn’t know about the day before,” he said.