Are you a wounded, ill or injured Service member looking to increase your career readiness and use your time productively while you recover? Consider participating in an Operation Warfighter internship! You can learn more at our next outreach event, July 17 at Walter Reed/Bethesda Medical Center, Building 62. We’ll be there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and we hope to see you there, too! If you can’t make it, but would still like more information about Federal internship opportunities, send an e-mail to PR-OperationWarFighter@osd.mil.
To get an idea of how an internship could help you during your recovery and rehabilitation, read the story of one of our participating agencies below.
Four years ago, Jean McComish’s vision came to fruition. Having grown up abroad in a military family, Jean, a Senior HR Administrator with the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms (SAA) knew about the difficult transition many Vietnam-era veterans experienced, and wanted to give today’s Service members better opportunities. That opportunity presented itself when SAA began participating in Operation Warfighter (OWF), a Federal internship program for recovering Service members.
In 2008, HR Administrator Erica Miller was brought aboard to collaborate on the SAA’s internship program. In 2009, SAA hosted their first intern and, since then, they have provided many opportunities for OWF interns.
“[We are] so very fortunate to have recovering Service members with amazing skill-sets come through and contribute to the organization,” said Erica. For example, recovering Service member Thomas Kowolenko used his experience in telecomm and cabling as an intern with SAA in 2011, working in the Fiber and Wireless Department. Similarly, recovering Service member Noe Cisneros gained experience in music from being in a band during his high school years; SAA was able to apply that experience to a meaningful internship working in their recording studio.
SAA not only mentors their interns during the internship, but well afterwards. They were pleased to find that former OWF intern Noe returned to his hometown in California to pursue a college degree in Radio Broadcasting following his internship with SAA. Other OWF interns have also turned their internship experience with SAA into meaningful careers. When Ross Bagwell interned in the Radio and TV Gallery, he worked with the likes of CBS, Fox News, and other stations. He now works at NASA.
Outside of providing a meaningful internship, SAA works with recovering Service members on their career development. From providing help with updating resumes to coaching preparation for interviews, SAA is committed not only to the internship experience, but to helping with the overall transition from military life to the civilian work world. SAA works with the recovering Service member after the internship so that they’re able to market and use the skillsets they’ve acquired from their experience.
“For what our Service members have given to our country, this is the least we can do,” said Erica.
For Federal agencies that are interested in participating in OWF, SAA offers the advice of being flexible with work hours, deadlines, and simply working with the recovering Service member during and even after the internship. SAA also recommends providing meaningful work that recovering Service members can use long after their internship experience. SAA provides internships working with departments such as Logistics, the Flag Department, IT Security, Human Resources, Asset Management, Politics, and the Recording Studio. For SAA, the mission is not just to acquire another working hand, but to offer a valuable experience that recovering Service members can use long after their time in the military has come to an end.
For recovering Service members who are considering participating in OWF, “it can be intimidating and is different from the military. There may be physical limitations, but we make accommodations for that,” said Erica. “The internship gives [recovering Service members] a safe place to make mistakes, and gives them a good sense of direction of where they can take their lives if they can’t continue in the military.”
If you are interested in an OWF internship event, mark your calendar to attend the upcoming event at Walter Reed/Bethesda Medical Center and meet representatives with the Senate Sergeant at Arms and other Federal agencies. As a word of preparation advice from SAA, remember to bring your resume! For more information on the upcoming event or future OWF internship events, please e-mail us at PR-OperationWarFighter@osd.mil.