Career Skills graduates nine for future positions

| December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — The graduates of the Concrete Preservation Institute Field School pose for a photo with Steven Aguilar (left), program and safety manager at CPI; Tanya Komas (second from left), the president and CEO of CPI; and Scott Burghardt (right), the vice president and director of operations at CPI, before a ceremony at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, Dec. 1. The CPI Field School partners with the Army Career Skills Program, which helps Soldiers who are leaving the military gain experience in a field they can use for future employment. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Story and photo by
Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — Soldiers preparing to re-enter the civilian sector graduated from the Career Skills Program, Dec. 1, in a ceremony at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, here, at Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

These nine Soldiers, from various units, took a 12-weeklong course with Concrete Preservation Institute (CPI). The participants learned about concrete construction, repair and other aspects of the concrete industry.

They spent a lot of time doing hands-on activities, as well as a project involving repairing concrete at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s pet kennels. The students attended at least one field trip per week, whether to a cement distribution plant or construction site.

“We go to different facets of the industry to help the students get a well-rounded idea of what each facet contributes to the industry,” said Steven Aguilar, program and safety manager at CPI.

Staff Sgt. Corey Paulowske, a field artillery fire finder radar operator with 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is one of the nine graduates. He heard about CSP through a brief.

“Construction management was definitely an interest of mine,” he said, “so I thought working with concrete learning about concrete preservation would be a good opportunity.

“I didn’t know really anything about the concrete process coming into this, and now I’m leaving with a bunch of knowledge about concrete (American Concrete Institute) level one certification in concrete testing, as well as (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) certification,” he added. “This will probably open up quite a few doors.”

Sgt. Joel Stuemke, a heavy equipment operator with 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command, said he had a background in construction with his unit, but not in concrete.

“My overall experience was wonderful,” he said. I’m very happy with my experience.”

Stuemke said the more people get involved, the more effective the program can be for Soldiers leaving the military.

Col. Stephen E. Dawson, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and Command Sgt. Maj. Lisa C. Piette-Edwards, the garrison’s senior enlisted adviser, were in attendance. Dawson praised the graduates for their efforts and thanked CPI for their support.

“This is actually one of the more popular and successful career skills programs in the Army,” he said, “so all of you make that happen.”

There are annually about two or three CSP classes. In 2014, Department of Defense Instruction 1322.29 authorized service members to train for employment, including participating in CSP.

To be eligible for the CSP, service members must first attend the required Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program workshop. They must also be leaving the Army within 180 days and be honorably discharged.

Though service members previously joined CSP classes within 50 miles of their duty station, commanders may authorize permissive temporary duty for CSP classes in farther locations.

Tanya Tygi, the Career Skills Program installation administrator, Soldier for Life Program, USAG-HI, said that unemployment among veterans is an ongoing issue, and the CSP, though not mandatory, is beneficial for service members getting out of the military.

“Some Soldiers exit the military with little to no civilian education and others with combat arms background, which doesn’t necessarily correlate with the desire to work in HR,” Tygi said.

“This program offers an opportunity for Soldiers to try their hand at jobs within their current industry or completely different career fields. Through the CSP, not only do they gain industry experience, but they are also offered employment opportunities through the organizations that they intern with or their affiliated partners.”

More Online
For more information, please visit or There is a CSP Portal at the second link, which is CAC-enabled and has more specific information.

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