Sharpen skills for civilian world with CSP Skills Program

| March 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — Soldiers and loved ones pose for a photo at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, Dec. 1, 2017. The Soldiers graduated from the Concrete Preservation Institute Pearl Harbor Field School. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Story and photos by
Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — When Ryan White was a first lieutenant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, he was asked to approve his company first sergeant’s packet to participate in the Concrete Preservation Institute (CPI) via the Army Career Skills Program (CSP).

After hearing good things about CPI from the first sergeant, and subsequently receiving an email from the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) about program openings, White decided to apply. Today, he is a career placement and recruitment manager for CPI, and he helps service members find civilian jobs in the concrete industry.

“Completing the 12-week field school has proved exceptionally beneficial before entering the concrete industry and (so has) being able to communicate my experience with service members,” White said. “Being able to relate to them truly helps them understand their options and (the) benefits of the program.”

Authorized by the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, and offered through SFL-TAP, CSP allows Soldiers to gain work experience for their re-entry into the civilian sector while they still have the “safety net” of their Army benefits and pay.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — 1st Lt. Ryan White (left), an engineer officer with HHC, 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, poses with his spouse, Danielle, while attending graduation from the Concrete Preservation Institute Pearl Harbor Field School, Dec. 1, 2017. White now works for CPI. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

“The Career Skills Program allows Soldiers the opportunity to get their foot in the door with civilian employers,” said Tamara Brethouwer, a CSP administrator for SFL-TAP at the Soldiers Support Center, Schofield Barracks. “It gives them a chance to learn a new skills set; it gives them a chance to acquire professional references (and) establish those networking contacts in an industry that they plan to pursue.”

White said CPI taught him about the concrete industry and bolstered general career building skills, such as writing a resume and cover letter.

“To work with other service members of different ages, ranks, jobs and life experiences really enhanced (my) learning,” he said. “The diversity of the participants allowed each individual to bring forth strengths and skills that I, and most likely others, take away and use in my career.”

To be eligible for CSP, Soldiers are required to attend an SFL-TAP briefing at the Soldiers Support Center, Bldg. 750, Ayres Avenue, Schofield Barracks. They must also be 180 days away from an honorable or general discharge. Service members from other branches are also eligible for the CSP.

Soldiers may choose among several CSP options. In addition to CPI, CSP currently offers local training at CVS Pharmacy, Amazon Web Services and JN Auto Group. A room in the Education Center at Bldg. 560, on 1565 Kolekole Ave., is also currently being modified to accommodate Soldiers in the upcoming partnering program with Microsoft.

“We’re always looking to hopefully add more programs, just to give Soldiers more options for different internships,” Brethouwer said. “We’re always having conversations with different employers from different career fields. It helps to have them as recognized partners.”

CSP internship options do not cover all available career fields on the islands. However, with command approval, Soldiers can take permissive temporary duty to participate in programs, either on other installations or at outside companies.

Through meeting with Brethouwer, or visiting the CSP CAC-enabled portal online, Soldiers may browse programs available at other installations. They may even apply to individual internships or programs not connected to CSP. What’s important to know, however, is that acceptance into any program, CSP partner or not, is never guaranteed.
Although CSP does not charge a fee for its services, Soldiers may have to deal with expenses associated with the internship or program they pursue, such as paying for flights, daily transportation and housing.

Brethouwer has helped service members find a program for their needs and encourages those who are leaving the military to contact her.

Installation Management Command asks employers partnering with the CSP to have an 85 percent job placement rate. Employers are asked to either offer a job or job interview to those who successfully complete the program.

In addition to potentially landing a new job, Soldiers may also gain certifications. Those who participate in Amazon’s web program, for instance, can earn information technology certifications.

White earned an Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10-Hour certification and an American Concrete Institute Field Testing Technician Grade Level 1 certification.

Although CSP was originally meant to assist junior Soldiers ages 18 to 24, higher ranking service members are now using the program. Brethouwer said the program continues to grow, and is currently expanding at Fort Shafter.

Locations of Career Skills Program
• Soldiers Support Center
Bldg. 750, Ayres Ave.
Schofield Barracks
SFL-TAP Hours of Operation
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday from 7:30 to 2 p.m.
CSP Hours of Operation
Walk-ins: Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon
By appointment: Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m.

• Aloha Center
Bldg. S-330, Room 102
Fort Shafter
Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Virtual Center
Call 1-800-325-4715.

CSP Overview Briefings
Schofield Barracks Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program Annex
• April 23, 1 to 4 p.m.
• May 7, 1 to 4 p.m.
• May 21, 1 to 4 p.m.
Fort Shafter Aloha Center
• April 16 from 9 a.m. to noon

More Online
For more information about the Career Skills Program, visit these sites:
• sonnel/careerskillsprogram.aspx (for more details or to access the CAC-enabled CSP portal).
For more information on the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program, visit

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