Pueblo West, CO, May 20, 2018— Before making the decision to retire, I wanted to ensure that I was prepared by completing my MBA to strengthen my knowledge and employability post US Army. Once I made the decision to retire from the US Army, I immediately began to consider what type of position I wanted in terms of functional skills and leadership that matched my values. As I began to weigh my options, I decided to attend a Career Skills Program briefing on Fort Carson and was introduced to the Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship Program. Once I received the information regarding the VLGMF, I knew it was for me. The opportunity to give back to the local community and work in my desired career field was very appealing to me. I was eligible for the upcoming cohort and decided to apply. After the application process and face-to-face interview I was selected to serve as a Fellow for the Pueblo West Metropolitan District.
After serving over 20 years in the US Army as Human Resources professional, I wanted to continue in the same career field after I retire. I have a vast array of experience working at the battalion, brigade, and division levels and even spent three years as a Recruiter. However, once I started transitioning, I learned it could be difficult to translate my military experience to the civilian workforce. This is what’s great about the VLGMF program. Based on my background, skills, and desires I was assigned to the Pueblo West Metropolitan District HR Department and given a Human Resources Manager as my mentor. Not only am I learning how to translate my experience, but I also have someone who can provide guidance on human relations processes and systems, as well as share information regarding the milestones of her career path.
While working in the program thus far, I have been assigned the project of migrating the paper performance evaluation system into the electronic Human Resources Information System. This entails building the evaluation process from the beginning by updating employee job descriptions, assisting in creating compensation matrices, and creating Standard Operating Procedures for accessing the system. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to participate in and provide feedback regarding employee relation’s matters, workers compensation claims, and various personnel actions. Also, completing the International City/County Management 101 Certificate provided me the foundational skills and practices to becoming an effective local government manager.
Being afforded the opportunity to work in the Local Government has allowed me to be apart of something that I am truly passionate about. The chance to work behind the scenes and assist government employees while they implement decisions that positively affect the lives of local residents throughout the community is truly remarkable.
I would recommend the VLGMF program to all transitioning service members who want the opportunity to work for an organization that works in the community. It will give them a valuable experience they can use as a platform to network and navigate the complex path toward finding a new career.
Aric T. Ward, MSG