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Preparing Discharged Soldiers for the Job Market

Pierce County Library System
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Innovation Summary

Library staff helped soldiers soon to be discharged from Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) find jobs by orienting soldiers to the job search resources at the library.

Innovation Leader: Jason Anderson, Adult Services Librarian, janderson@piercecountylibrary.org

Problem Statement

Joint Base Lewis McChord is one of the two largest bases in the country deploying soldiers to the Middle East. PCLS has participated in JBLM Regional Growth Coordination planning and military support efforts in the county. One priority in the planning is helping discharged soldiers reenter the workforce. Soldiers discharged from the Army find it difficult to find jobs in the community. Joint Base Lewis McChord has two services: The Army Career Program and Alumni and The Transition Assistance Program, helping soldiers who are in the process of transitioning out of the military and into civilian workforce. Approximately 700 soldiers are discharged each month. Each solider meets with one of ten counselors and attends special training.

Innovation

Adult Services staff met with the counselors to share information about the Job and Business Center resources in the library. The counselors include information about the Job and Business Center in the pre-separation packet that is given to the soldiers each month. Approximately 700 soldiers are discharged each month. In addition, a librarian weekly attends a Transition Assistance workshop with 20 – 25 soldiers to orient them to the Job and Business Center website, resources and materials available at the library, as well as answer any questions about the library and services. Due to security reasons, only one staff member was permitted to go on the base for these presentations. Over 700 soldiers have received this orientation since March 2011.

Progress

JBLM staff is very pleased with the program and the partnership. Many soldiers and their families have come to the library, receiving help with their job search. Although we have no specific data regarding the number of soldiers involved, the support to Joint Base Lewis McChord is an important partnership with a key community agency.