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Transitioning Military Skills to Private Sector Success

Birmingham businessman and Army Reserve Lt. Col. Ken Phillips in conjunction with the University of Alabama Culverhouse School of Business offer job training for veterans to help them transfer military skills into the civilian workforce.

Some military skills do not directly transfer into civilian jobs, but veterans have skills such as promptness, ability to work within a chain-of-command structure, and to complete jobs within both team and individual environments, said Phillips, a Birmingham small businessman.

“What I hope to accomplish is to specifically help veterans try to get back on their feet and get them employment,” said Phillips, managing member of Phillips Communications LLC, a construction management firm.

Phillips, a University of Alabama ROTC graduate, is CEO of the non-profit Priority Soldier Training Initiative and is partnering with the Culverhouse College of Business in Tuscaloosa and Veterans Administration centers in Birmingham and Tuskegee in offering computer, finance, and professional development skills. There is no charge to veterans.

The University of Alabama team leader is Dr. Lisa McKinney, a lecturer and teaching faculty member. “Our focus is to re-tool and build confidence in our veterans and prepare them to be workforce ready,” she said.

“What I hope to accomplish is to specifically help veterans try to get back on their feet and get them employment.” Ken Phillips

The first Birmingham class graduated last November, and the second Birmingham class is under way. The class is eight weeks in duration, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Fridays, Phillips said.

The Tuskegee class began March 30. It’s a 12-week class of two, six-week segments separated by a short intermission. The first segment involves learning soft skills and resume preparation. The second part of the class involves hard skills such as bricklaying and carpentry.

The program is funded partly by the VA and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

Phillips’ 501-C-3 Priority Soldier http://prioritysoldier.net accepts corporate sponsors and participation in the training stage and interviewing graduates.

“This makes an impact on veterans and the more veterans know about that means more participate in it.” Phillips

Corporate sponsors also can highlight the specific skills potential employees need, information on the types of workforce ready jobs that are in demand, how to network and navigate career and employment opportunities, and even participate in job fairs in the final days of training.

University of Alabama students help tutor veterans in computer competency and resume building and Dr. McKinney and Phillips work with employers to arrange interviews.

Graduates receive a certificate of achievement from the Culverhouse School of Business.

Phillips said he needs sponsors for hiring and donations to help market the skills training.

“This makes an impact on veterans and the more veterans know about that means more participate in it,” Phillips said. “This makes a difference to a lot of veterans who want to get ahead.”

Phillips can be contacted at prioritysoldiersinc@gmail.com.

About Dana Beyerle

Dana Beyerle
Director of Communications
(334) 240-8768 | Fax: (334) 241-5984
Email Dana Beyerle

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