For most transitioning Service members and veterans, jobs skills and experience are not a problem but demonstrating those skills and that experience to civilian employers can be a challenge. With that challenge in mind, the Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy’s Education and Employment Initiative (E2I) teamed up with the Navy Shipyard in the Norfolk area to sponsor a Lean Six Sigma training for Service members and veterans in the area.
“I believe in the workforce development concept. Everything we do is predicated on that,” said Al Welcher, E2I Regional Manager for the Tidewater region, which includes Norfolk. “The goal of the class was to give them a tool that helps them bridge their technical, industrial knowledge to a business enterprise.”
That is exactly what the class did for Wagner Prosper, one of 24 students who attended the five-day course.
“I’m trying to make a smooth transition from the Navy back to the civilian sector,” Wagner said. “This helped me with understanding a management team and how to facilitate a process.”
Wagner said he saw the course, which was provided free of cost, as a way to develop new skills and boost his resume. He was most interested in learning how to lead and facilitate a team, and how to reduce waste products, whether they be unnecessary equipment or inefficient processes.
“Any type of training can’t hurt. The more training we get, the better equipped we are,” he said. “I think most employers would be interested in an applicant they know can manage and facilitate the workplace.”
Preparing Service members for their next career is a top priority for E2I, as well as for the Service’s Wounded Warrior Programs, and according to LT Terry LaBeff, this course was a great way to help accomplish that goal. LaBeff, who works for Navy Safe Harbor, also attended the course.
“A lot of these guys are doing jobs they might not be able to continue doing when they transition,” he said. “But something like this is universal. They can take it across the board to their home life, to a government job, a job with a non-profit, whatever they decide to do.”
The benefit of this and other training for recovering Service members was only further solidified when one member of the class received a job offer, partly thanks to this new Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.
“A career pathway that puts our wounded warriors on a very good footing,” Al said. “That’s what we want.”