Troops Offered Chance to Gain Civilian Work Experience

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2008 - A California group is offering active-duty servicemembers the chance to secure a key component to finding a job before they reenter civilian life: experience.

The group, Military Civilian Experience, created by active-duty servicemembers for their fellow troops, was partly inspired by the military's practice of thoroughly training servicemembers before sending them to the battlefield, according to the organization's Web site. The group's officials feel it shouldn't stop there, and they're working to give servicemembers a head start on finding their civilian careers.

"In our spare time since 2006, we have helped 96 servicemembers obtain civilian career experience or some kind of civilian career counseling," said Navy Cmdr. Calvin Hill, the organization's chief executive officer. "Once active-duty members sign up at, we match them with a local civilian company according to the information that is given in the application."

Conversely, the organization is always seeking civilian companies offering on-the-job training, internships or volunteer opportunities, he said.

The organization also has decided to turn its fundraiser into a reality TV series. Members of each branch of military service would compete for the honor of being chosen as top man and woman of each service earning the title of being called Mr. or Mrs. Army, for instance.

"The best thing about it is that America's votes will determine the winners," Hill said.

Military Civilian Experience is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

"I believe our group will benefit from any networking, exposure, and credibility that [America Supports You] will bring our way," Hill said. "All of it will be greatly appreciated."

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