Employment program connects Texas Guardsmen to jobs
Story by: Capt. Jessica Jackson
Posted: June 27, 2016
AUSTIN, Texas — Twenty-two percent of Texas Army National Guard service members returning from operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism were unemployed in 2010 — eclipsing the national average by 9 percent.
“Due to the high unemployment rate of veterans, the National Guard Bureau created the Job Connection Education Program to tackle this issue,” said Shandra Sponsler, deputy branch manager, Texas Military Department Family Support Services. “Texas’ size of force, large deployments and high population areas made us the ideal candidate for the pilot program.”
The Job Connection Education Program helps both Army and Air Guardsmen and their spouses, who are unemployed or burdened with financial problems, find careers.
The Family Support Services of the Texas Military Department currently oversees the program.
“Our staff is here to help,” Sponsler said. “We have training specialists and business advisors on-hand to offer catered services to best match participants with future employers.”
The program focuses on providing one-on-one counseling, employment and education assistance, resume review, workforce training and online job search assistance.
Six years after the launch of the Job Connection Education Program, Texas veteran unemployment is down to 4.3 percent.
“Soldiers should take advantage of the free resources offered through the program,” Sponsler said. “This fiscal year, we’ve had 630 requests for information and help with employment, last fiscal year we were able to place 780 people in jobs. We will continue to diligently work with those who need assistance.”
With offices located at Fort Worth Sandage and Shoreview Armories, Grand Prairie, Houston and Camp Mabry — a training specialist is within reach and available to help.
“It’s very difficult to be a National Guard soldier and the difficulties in balancing your civilian life and military life has its own challenges,” said 1st Lt. Alejandro Tejo, Texas Army National Guard. “I would like other service members to know that there are a lot of tools our there to help…help make you successful.”
Since its inception, the Job Connection Education Program has placed 3,715 applicants in jobs.
For more information on this program visit https://tmd.texas.gov/family-support-service.