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NEWS | Oct. 23, 2023

Army Reserve highlights Soldier skills at manufacturers’ summit

By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris 99th Readiness Division

The U.S. Army Reserve took part in The Manufacturing Institute’s annual Workforce Summit Oct. 17 at the Grand Hyatt here.

Maj. Gen. Kris A. Belanger, commanding general of the 99th Readiness Division, served as keynote speaker and panelist for a discussion entitled, “Bringing the Military and Manufacturing Together.”

“The Army Reserve, along with public and private organizations, has a shared interest in enhancing the careers and leader development of Citizen-Soldiers whose civilian skills and military capabilities make them a sought-after talent pool in all sectors,” Belanger said.

“When you hire Army Reserve Soldiers, it is a win-win situation for both the Soldier and the employer,” she explained. “Soldiers have opportunities to enhance their skills and further their civilian careers, while employers gain access to the best, brightest and most highly trained workforce available.”

Following her remarks, Belanger was joined on stage by fellow panelists Asha Varghese, president of the Caterpillar Foundation, and Gardner Carrick, vice president of The Manufacturing Institute’s Workforce Solutions, as well moderator Carolyn Lee, president and executive director of The Manufacturing Institute.

“Nearly 200,000 service members transition out of the military each year, and we realized this was an opportunity to really tap into that talent, teach them about manufacturing, and bring them in,” Lee explained. “We know there are so many additional folks we can reach in the Reserve and Guard, but also we’ve been working with veterans and military spouses.”

Belanger shared details about efforts the Army Reserve is making to connect Soldiers with careers in varied fields, to include manufacturing.

“The Army Reserve’s Private Public Partnership Office helps ensure our Army Reserve Soldiers are succeeding in their civilian careers,” Belanger said. “Our P3O collaborates with organizations that can assist our Soldiers with civilian employment opportunities.

“Through partnerships with organizations offering job opportunities and a nationwide network of corporate, for-profit, non-profit and academic partners, the P3O continues to increase its efforts to connect Soldiers with internships, employment and education opportunities,” she continued.

Following the panel, Belanger participated in a follow-on breakout session entitled, “Leveraging Military Talent to Source an Essential Workforce.”

“One of the Army Reserve’s top priorities is ‘People First,’ meaning we prioritize growth, learning and retention, as well as developing ready and resilient Soldiers and capable leaders in support of the Army and the Joint Force,” Belanger said. “While our talent has a lot to offer to your companies, just remember that the opposite holds true – your talent is equally important to our military.”

“We could not be successful without the support of our nation and its citizens,” she continued. “With your support, our Army Reserve remains ready today, while shaping tomorrow.