Operation Warfighter can train you for your next step

Kaylah Jackson
January 25, 2018 - 2:53 pm

(Photo by Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT/Sipa USA)

Judy Woods enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1993. The military was a common career in her hometown and after a 23 year-long career, she was ready to retire but didn't know what to do next.

"I knew I wanted to continue with my education but job wise, I really didn't know what field I wanted to get into, " said Woods.

She worked as a water treatment specialist in the military and didn't have a clear understanding of her job choices in the civilian world and that's where the  DOD Operation Warfighter Federal Internship Program came in.

She found out about Operation Warfighter, a program that helps servicemembers gain experience through internships, through a TAPS class.

It was created specifically for wounded, ill and injured service members. After getting approval and recommendation from their command and a medical evaluation that proves they're physically and mentally prepared for the internship, qualifying servicemembers can talk to a regional site coordinator about their options. 

Like Woods, applicants will work with the site coordinator will set up interviews with the sponsoring agencies to match them with an internship that aligns with their interest or skills. Woods matched with the Human Resources department at the VA. Although it wasn't the same job as her MOS, the program gave her the necessary foundation to perform well during her internship

"Doing a lot of paperwork, tracking, coding new employees that come into thesystemytem--that's what I got trained on. My job performance was outstanding to them, prior to me recieving my final outdate in the military, I was given a job offer by the VA, " said Woods.

The internships cover a broad range of industries and gives the servicemember an opportunity to learn something new, whether they have a background in the industry or not. A few of the partnering fedeal agencies include the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Ariculture and the Department of Defense.

For veterans like Woods, Operation Warfighter can give them a chance to learn new skills and find out if a career is truly the right fit for them, and in some cases, they are offered full-time posistions when they finish the internship.

Woods describes the program as a blessing, "It was a burden lifted, I didnt know really what job field I wanted to go into. Coming here [to the VA] and showing that I can fit and be apart of a civilain team, they acepted me like I was a team member from a long time ago. The feeling that someone saw my hardwork, knew I could perform at many different levels, and to have given me a job offer, it was just the best day of my life."

If you are a wounded, ill or injured servicemember getting ready to get out of the military and think you could benefit from the OWF, contact [email protected] or your OWF Regional coordinator for more information.