Army program connects soldiers to civilian career opportunities

In the army, Ulrich Nkou Sembe worked as an operating theater specialist. When he got his first civilian job after leaving military life, he continued to do the same in the private sector.

This smooth transition is courtesy of the US Army’s PaYS program, which stands for Partnership for Youth Success. The program has been in existence for more than 20 years and is a recruiting tool that provides up to five job interviews upon separation from the military with partner companies committed to hiring former service men and women.

“I liked the uniform,” said Nkou Sembe, who is still in the army reserve. “And I love my job. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. »

In addition to his work as a surgical technologist at HCA Healthcare in Texas, Nkou Sembe is also studying biology at Houston Community College. He plans to go to medical school and hopes to one day become a flight surgeon or field surgeon in the military.

“That’s the goal,” he said.

And the PaYS program helped him find a good job quickly, enabling him to pursue his dreams.

“We have stood the test of time over the years when it comes to helping transitioning soldiers,” said Antonio Johnson, PaYS Program Manager.

Today, there are dozens of nonprofit organizations, as well as programs within the services, that help transitioning military members. But the Army program has been around for a long time and has a track record of success. There are currently 966 PaYS partners, 782,860 jobs available and 275,974 PaYS soldiers.

PaYS started in 2000 and began as a way to help with recruitment. The Army helps soldiers learn valuable skills that will translate into civilian employment, even helping them get training and certification if needed. Nkou Sembe said he obtained his certification as a certified surgical technologist through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assistance to work in army operating rooms, for example.

PaYS partners, including companies like General Motors, USAA, Cintas and Century 21, interview service members and about 60% of them receive job offers, Johnson said.

Recruits can choose to enroll in the program upon enlistment and choose a qualified career path in the military to help them with future job prospects. The military trains recruits in a number of different fields that translate into civilian employment, Johnson said, meaning it’s a win-win situation for employers and the military.

Many young people see the military as a stepping stone to their future career, and PaYS is contributing to this plan.

“The Army has made it a priority to help transitioning soldiers,” Johnson said. “The more they manage to transfer, the better. Nobody wants unemployed veterans.

“It’s the philosophy of the soldier for life. We take care of each other for life.

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