The ACS Employment Readiness Program (ERP) at Fort Jackson

The ACS Employment Readiness Program (ERP) at Fort Jackson provides monthly employment and education workshops open to all military and DOD civilian employee ID card holders and military family members. Here’s what’s coming up in July:

JULY 7: Steps to Federal Employment for Military Spouses

Attention job seekers! Looking for Federal employment? This workshop will walk you through every step of the way! Workshop is targeted to military spouses, but open to all military and DOD civilian ID card holders. Pre-registration is required: e-mail or call 803-751-5256. July 7, 9:00-11:00 a.m., Strom Thurmond Bldg., room 222.

JULY 9, 16, 23, 30: Teen Job Readiness Workshop Series

Attention teens! Do you need something to do this summer? Not old enough to work or can’t find a summer job? Join us in July to earn a Job Readiness Certificate. This training will prepare you for employment success! Complete all four classes and earn a Job Readiness Certificate. This certification will look great on your resume, college admission packages and scholarship applications! Open to military and DOD civilian teens ages 13-19. Pre-registration is required: e-mail or call 803-751-5256. The following workshops will be held in the Strom Thurmond Bldg., room 222 (10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.):

  • July 09: Career Exploration
  • July 16: Employment 101
  • July 23: Customer Service Skills
  • July 30: Managing Your Money That You Earn

JULY 15: Scholarship Opportunity

Military spouses are encouraged to drop by the Employment Readiness Office (Strom Thurmond Bldg., Room 223) and pick of a free copy of the Military Spouse magazine. July’s issue features information on how to apply for the $10,000 college scholarship sponsored by Home Depot and Military Spouse magazine. Scholarship deadline is July 15, 2014.

JULY 15 and 29: Job Search Strategies for Military Spouses

Seeking employment on Fort Jackson or in the surrounding area? Get a jump-start on your job search by obtaining relevant information about employment, education and volunteer opportunities. Topics include on and off post employment opportunities, Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), job search tips, SC Works WIA program, basic resume writing techniques, interviewing skills and much more! All spouses of active duty/retired military personnel and survivors will be eligible to enroll in the ERP to receive one-on-one employment assistance, receive ongoing e-mail job postings and have resumes sent to prospective private sector employers! Only need to attend one session. Workshop is targeted to military spouses, but open to all military and DOD civilian ID card holders. Pre-registration is required: e-mail or call 803-751-5256. July 15 and 29, 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Strom Thurmond Bldg., room 222.


JULY 22: Starting and Running a Small Business

This seminar will be presented by the University of South Carolina Small Business Development Center. To register, call the ACAP office at 751-4109/6062. Topics include Start-up Information, Business License and Plan, Internet Resources, Small Business Planning Resource Guide and more! This event is co-sponsored by ACS ERP Office and

ACAP, and open to military and family members and DOD civilian ID card holders. July 22, 9:00-11:30 a.m., Education Center, Room B-204.

JULY 22: Resume Writing and Interviewing Skills Workshop

Thisworkshop is designed to provide you with tools and knowledge useful inbuilding your resume and improving your interviewing skills. Workshop isconducted by BlueCross BlueShield Human Resources Department. Excellentopportunity to network with BCBS personnel! Many of our clients who attendthis class have had success in being employed with BlueCross BlueShield of SC. July 22, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Strom Thurmond Bldg., room 222. Open to militaryand family members and DOD civilian ID card holders. Pre-registration isrequired: email or call 803-751-5256.


More to come: check the ERP website each month for upcoming events!




5 Reasons Fire Science Is Ideal for Returning Veterans

The first step for a smooth transition from military service to academic life is often choosing the right program of study. The military prepares individuals to excel in almost anything they choose to pursue, but there are some compelling reasons that that fire science is ideal for returning veterans. . . . .Read More….

5 Reasons Fire Science Is Ideal for Returning Veterans

bootsFor many veterans returning from service overseas, adjusting to life back at home is a challenge. No longer facing imminent danger at every turn or the rigors of life in the military, civilian life can feel un-challenging or as if it lacks purpose.

Veterans who return to college after their tours of duty often face even more challenges. According to the Washington Post, many veterans who enter college post-service face academic, psychological, social and medical challenges that their classmates and professors simply can’t understand. Some veterans report feeling disconnected from the college experience, having seen and experienced the horrors of war.

After all, when you’ve witnessed death and destruction on a daily basis, it can be difficult to get excited about a football game or social gathering. It’s not just the social changes that challenge veterans, either. After spending years with every minute of every day accounted for, it’s difficult to transition to an environment when you’re responsible for your own time.

While many colleges and universities have programs in place to help veterans transition from military service to academic life smoothly, there are many things that vets can do to help themselves. Often, the first step is choosing the right program of study. The military prepares individuals to excel in almost anything they choose to pursue, but there are some compelling reasons that fire science is an ideal subject for veterans to transition into after service.

Familiar Structure

The military relies on schedules: soldiers rise early, follow a strict routine and rarely deviate from their assigned duties. Everything has a checklist, and failing to follow protocol can lead to disciplinary action at best and injury or death at worst. It’s similar within the world of fire science: a single error can have lasting and costly repercussions. While life on a college campus might still be jarring to veterans who have grown used to military structure, the training and preparation to fight fires provides some comfort and familiarity.

Important Work

Many counseling professionals and transitional advisers note that students making the transition from the military to college feel disconnected from their classmates who haven’t seen the things the soldiers have — and from their studies, which feel trivial and unimportant. It’s difficult to feel that certain areas of study are valuable when you have seen firsthand the things happening in other parts of the world.

Fire science is often appealing, then, because it is anything but a trivial subject. Learning how to prevent and extinguish destructive fires that can harm — even kill — people and destroy property provides a sense of purpose that may be lacking elsewhere.

fireProvides Excitement and Adrenaline Rush

One aspect of military life that many former soldiers say they miss is the adrenaline rush that comes from the life and death situations they face in the field. Even those soldiers who don’t face danger on a regular basis note that the military life is usually exciting — how can you not be excited by training missions that involve jumping out of helicopters? Returning to civilian life, then, is often disappointing, as civilian life tends to be comparatively quiet and sedate.

Becoming a firefighter can provide the excitement that many veterans are looking for. Facing down a major blaze, performing rescues and protecting life and property can give former soldiers the rush they are looking for while also performing a valuable community service.

Similar Physical Requirements

Firefighters are expected to be nimble and fast while carrying hundreds of pounds of equipment while wearing full gear and wearing full protective gear — much like soldiers, who must meet the same standards. Soldiers are well-equipped, then, to handle the physical demands of firefighting without much difficulty or additional physical conditioning.

Similar Skill Sets

When a fire department team heads out to battle a blaze, each member of the crew has a defined role. If one person fails to do his or her job, the entire effort could be in jeopardy — much like a squadron in the military. Veterans who opt to move into a realm of public administration like fire science often find that the skills they learned during service translate seamlessly to life in a fire house: decision-making, leadership and defined roles and responsibilities are all vital to firefighting, just as they are in military service.

While embarking on a path toward becoming a firefighter and providing service in a new way is an idea fit for many soldiers, it’s not right for everyone. Those dealing with major trauma, either physical or psychological, may find the stresses of fire management overwhelming. However, for many soldiers, it’s a natural transition and one that offers the ideal balance of risk and reward.

Interested? LEARN MORE about becoming a firefighter in South Carolina.





Spartanburg Community College Launches Program to Assist Student Veterans

Spartanburg Community College, already designated a “military friendly school,” has found another way to assist veterans in getting educations.

About 25 instructors and faculty have received training in the Star program, to better assist student veterans facing issues like deployment, transitioning to college or new careers after serving in the field, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and combat-related issues. Another 15 faculty will receive the training later this month.

“While the Star volunteers will not be expected to solve the problems of our military students, they will serve as an empathetic ear, offer helpful resources and provide any assistance they can in terms of SCC support services,” said college spokeswoman Christina Vandiver…Read More…

Read more here:


This Monday, June 23 | Resume Writing & Interview Skills Training

BCBS logo

** NEW LOCATION as of Friday, June 20! Same date and time, but moved to the Bluff Road Armory classrooms. **

Entering the civilian job market for the first time — or the first time in a while? Plan now to attend a Resume Writing and Interview Skills Training Workshop* this Monday, June 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Classrooms 2-3 of the Bluff Road Armory (1225 Bluff Road, Columbia, 29201).

Hosted by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (BCBS) and open to ALL military community members and military spouses, the workshop will provide the tools and knowledge needed to rebuild your resume and improve your interviewing skills.

BCBS trainers will discuss the following:

  • The purpose of a resume
  • How to read the requirements in a job description before applying for a job
  • Essential resume content, format, and different resume styles
  • The purpose of an interview
  • Different types of interviews


Participants will also be able to practice their interview skills, including how to apply the STAR interview technique. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn valuable tips from the hiring managers themselves — no matter what industry you’re looking to enter!

*To ensure a take-home workbook, please RSVP no later than 10:00 a.m. Friday, June 20 via the form below.

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What’s New With OPE?

logo fixed

Okay, first things first: Operation Palmetto Employment has a new logo! You’ll see this new look as we continue to build our brand online, on social media and in various print materials.

We’re working now on a credentialing process for employers who are committed to military hires. Certified Palmetto Military Employers will receive training, support and special recognition for hiring and retaining members of South Carolina’s military community, including military spouses.

In February 2015, OPE will host our first annual OPE Summit. Details will be announced soon, so stay tuned!

We’re continually looking to partner with potential employers, hiring manager and military service representatives to better serve both OPE audiences: military job seekers and the employers who want to hire them. Contact us to ask about training opportunities, customized job fairs and hiring events, and more.

For the latest news, articles, tips and announcements, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for your continued interest and support!

Clemson Research Study | Reintegrating Wounded Warriors

CLEMSON — A Clemson University professor is developing a research program to better understand community reintegration and how health-care professionals, including recreational therapists, can better assist injured military service members return to their homes and communities and lead active lifestyles.

“Although community reintegration is an important outcome of recreational therapy services, little is known about the reintegration process of injured service members,” says Brent Hawkins, a recreational therapist and assistant professor in Clemson’s parks, recreation and tourism management department.

In a study published by Hawkins and colleagues in the Therapeutic Recreation Journal, the researchers examined the effects of participation in recreation and sports on injured service members. They found that participation resulted in improved social support, improved perception of disability, promoted continued participation in recreation and sport, and improved overall health and wellbeing.

He said that general self-efficacy, the belief that one has the abilities to overcome challenges and social support, seems to have the most impact on reintegration.

“Since the beginning of the global war on terrorism in 2001, the Department of Defense reports over 55,000 military service members have been injured as a result of their military service,” he said. “However, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of service members are dealing with post-traumatic symptoms, brain injury and other emotional injuries related to their service.”

Hawkins is actively serving injured service members and evaluating the effectiveness of an existing recreational therapy program and using data that the program collected over the years.

“Recreational therapists provide recreational, sport and leisure-based activities and interventions to improve functional skills, promote community reintegration and increase the quality of life of service members in a variety of settings, including rehabilitation facilities, transitional units and community-based programs,” said Hawkins.

According to Hawkins’ ongoing research, service members who experienced influential rehabilitation experiences, participated in adapted sports and recreation, wounded warrior support and vocational and educational support programs had higher general self-efficacy and more social support. These experiences acted as facilitators of community reintegration.

His research shows that service members who did not participate in such programs and experienced inadequate rehabilitation experiences demonstrated lower self-efficacy and social support, therefore hindering their community reintegration.

Hawkins also examines the reintegration experiences of injured female service members given that previous studies in this area have focused on predominantly male samples. This research will help inform rehabilitation and other support programs provide services that meet the unique needs of female service members.

“Given the prevalence of harassment, assault and different social roles associated with females in the military, their reintegration experiences are likely much different than males,” he said.


Traditional Education is Always an Option | University of South Carolina Bridge Program

Created to ease the transition from South Carolina technical colleges to the University of South Carolina, the Bridge Program gives prospective students that don’t meet USC’s admission requirements an opportunity to be admitted to the University’s main campus in Columbia.


Through the Bridge Program, students who don’t meet USC’s minimum admission requirements can take a year’s worth of courses at any technical college in South Carolina, and then apply to USC as a transfer student. The Bridge Program was created in 2007 to increase the success of transfer students once they’re enrolled at the Columbia campus.


To learn more about the Bridge Program, contact Andrew Dalzell at (803) 777-7700 or Spencer Griffin at (803) 777-2242. Guard members who want to tap into their educational benefits should contact the Education Office at (803) 299-1560 or (803) 299-4002.