Hiring Our Heroes

C3 trains transitioning service members for successful careers

October 26, 2018 - 6:22 pm

“When I was getting out of the military, I was broke, and I couldn't afford any certifications,” says Jean Jules Elle.

Lucky for him, Military Corps Career Connect came to the rescue.

Military Corps Career Connect - also known as C3 - helps transitioning service members, active duty military spouses and recently separated veterans in Maryland seamlessly segue to successful civilian careers.

“C3 was able to provide the money for the training and the testing.” For Elle, it meant passing three new certifications in IT and cybersecurity so he could find a job in the field he’d studied before he joined the Air Force.   

C3, which was formed by Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation in Maryland, and funded through a $4.3 million National Dislocated Worker Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, matches transitioning service members (as well as recently separated veterans and military spouses) with navigators who do just that: help them navigate the unknown waters ahead.

Elle’s veteran navigator helped him pursue his dream to advance his IT career.

“She was the perfect person at the perfect time,” he says.

Here’s how it works: the transitioning service member is teamed up with a navigator from his/her location.  Locations include Fort Meade/Fort Detrick, Joint Base Andrews/Walter Reed, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, and Aberdeen Proving Ground.  They meet one-on-one for career planning, coaching and preparation for the civilian jobs market.  C3 also underwrites in-demand credentialing and licensing. 

“They also helped me with the resume and the imaging process: how to present yourself, how to talk with a little more confidence, how to sell yourself,” says Elle.

And Elle needed that boost.  He moved to the U.S. from Cameroon 8 years ago to go to college. Three years later, he joined the military.  So his transitions were unique: from military to civilian, and from foreigner to American.

Hiring Our Heroes

One year after separating, Elle is working as an IT Mid Specialist with APEX Systems.  

Chief Warrant Officer Tim Rajala is jumping through transition hoops right now.  He separates in November, and without C3, he says, “I would have been lost.”

Rajala, who is finishing up at Fort Meade, is a human resource technician for the Army.  He is hoping to pivot this experience to an HR job in the corporate world.

“Military HR is different than the civilian sector HR,” Rajala says.  “C3 provided training and paying for my certification, which has helped me understand the bigger scope of what to expect in the private sector.”

Working with C3 is like having a personal coach.  

“Honestly, working full time, I would not have been able to focus on the future job if it wasn't for C3, bridging some of these gaps, helping me out as far as giving me a plan,” says Rajala.  

And if that wasn’t enough, C3 pairs corporate employers with the transitioning service members. “In fact, I have an interview with Johns Hopkins tomorrow.”

“It’s been a really great process so far, and I can't give them enough credit,” says Rajala.  “All the success I've had this year is mainly due to the efforts of C3.”

Hiring Our Heroes

Most transitioning service members learn about C3 during their Transition GPS classes.  Navigators attend the classes, recruiting eligible service members who may need mentoring.

C3 also works with the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship program, which mentors and places underemployed and unemployed active duty military spouses and recently separated veterans in paid internship programs for on-the-job training.  

Navy Lt. Commander Mark Smith was one of those recently separated veterans.  When he got out, he figured he was set:  he had an internship with a job promised at the end.  Except he wasn’t set.  The job didn’t exist.

Suddenly Smith was underemployed.  He had an internship but no job.

He remembered the list of resources handed out at his Transition GPS class.  Hiring Our Heroes was on that list.

Smith shared his military skills and goals with his Hiring Our Heroes mentor, and “she was able to provide me with a list of companies to fit my skill sets.”  They pinpointed Hesco, which creates barriers and body armor for the military.

Transitioning service members, active duty spouses and recently separated veterans in Maryland are eligible for Military Corps Career Connect’s (C3) services.  Learn more about how C3 can help you transition to a successful career in the private sector.