Coca-Cola joins 561 corporations promising to hire Soldiers

| November 6, 2015 | 0 Comments


David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON — “We again and again find that the young people we bring in (to corporate America) from the military turn out to be very strong associates. They’ve been tested. They’ve been trained. They’ve been through adversity. They’ve proven themselves,” said Mark P. Rahiya.

“And we and other organizations throughout the private sector need to continue to understand how to translate those experiences and those skills into what we need. That’s one of the goals of this program,” said Partnership for Youth Success, or PaYS.

Rahiya, chief of U.S. sales and operations for Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., and others spoke at a PaYS Memorandum of Agreement, or MOA, signing between the Army and Coca-Cola during a Pentagon ceremony, Oct. 23.

Coca-Cola is the 562nd corporation to sign an MOA with the Army since 2000, the year PaYS stood up, said Mark S. Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing, and director of Army Marketing and Research Group.

Other PaYS partners include Facebook, Inc.; Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC; Caterpiller; Amazon; Southwest Airlines; and many additional Fortune 500 companies and others.


How PaYS works

Lt. Gen. James C. McConville, deputy chief of staff, G-1, explained that the MOA means corporations or public-sector agencies have promised job interviews and possible employment to Soldiers, who’ve joined the Army through PaYS, once their term of military service has ended. During their time in the Army, Soldiers’ military occupational specialties, or MOSs, and training are matched to corresponding PaYS partners’ skills and knowledge, so they’ll have the necessary skill sets.

Thus far, about 161,000 Soldiers have come into the active Army through PaYS, McConville said. Another 36,000 have come into the Reserve.

Also, of 2,440 interviews conducted since 2013, 1,183 were hired as a result, according to a PaYS fact sheet.

“The Army invests in America’s youth,” McConville then told four young men and women who he was about to administer the Oath of Enlistment through the PaYS programs. “When you leave the Army, you’ll be stronger. You’ll be smarter. You’ll be more talented. You’ll have more poise. You’ll be more confident.

“And when you come out,” he continued, “these corporations, like Coca-Cola, will want you, because you’ll have these incredible skills and will have done some very challenging and difficult things. So when you enter the civilian market, you’re going to be a great catch. You’re precisely the kind of people we want serving our country.”

“In the Army, we say, once a Soldier, always a Soldier. The reality is once you’re a Soldier, you’re a Soldier for life,” McConville said.

McConville then gave the four young people a tip of how to succeed in the Army and later in life.

“There’s three things we expect of you,” he said. “We expect you to be physically fit. Second, we expect you to have integrity and character. And the third thing, we expect you to be willing to learn. Then you’ll be fine.”

The four new enlistees included the following:

  • Antonio Fetaomi Guzman, who will become a 25B information technology specialist. His PaYS partner is American Systems Corp.
  • Yuri V. Ramos, who will become a 25U signal support systems specialist. Her PaYS partner is the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
  • Elyshia Jnal Harris III, who will become a 92A automated logistical specialist. Her PaYS partner is the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
  • Cortez Grie, who will become a 92A. His PaYS partner is 1st Mariner Bank Corp.


Corporate perspective

Rahiya provided his corporate perspective regarding hiring veterans. Prior to working with Coca-Cola in 1997, Rahiya served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Submarine Force, so he understands what it means to serve as well.

“The young men and women coming out of the military understand the value of hard work,” he said. “We find they’re high-integrity individuals because of what they’ve learned as part of that military culture, and they bring that with them.”

Rahiya said Coca-Cola, as well as other companies, recognize those attributes, “combined with MOS skills sets, whether they’ve been mechanics or one of any other number of amazing skills they learn. You can take advantage of that and get them into the right job and train them and you get fantastic employees – and very loyal employees as well.”

Some 120,000 men and women are coming out of the Army every year and going into the workforce, he said.

“That’s a phenomenal opportunity for our economy,” he added.

Many thousands of veterans work for his company, he said. This year, to date, 997 veterans were hired.

PaYS strengthens our ability to hire and retain these veterans, he said.

“I’m excited for you and thank you for what you’re going to do to serve our country,” Rahiya told the four new enlistees. “It’s a big step, but one that leads to great things in your future. You’re exactly why we’re here and why we’re doing this. It’s for you and it’s for us. We get something out of this as well. We’re going to get great employees down the road.”

(Note: Per Department of Defense policy, the Army does not provide official endorsements to corporations.)

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Category: Defense Media Activity, News, Training, Veterans

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