JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK, UNITED STATES
Story by Sgt. Seth LaCount
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – The Alaska Army National Guard is excited to announce its official launch of the Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program across the state.
The PaYS program is a strategic partnership between the Army National Guard and a cross section of private businesses, universities, and public institutions. It provides Alaska’s newest Citizen-Soldiers the opportunity to increase their prospects for potential civilian employment while serving their country.
PaYS partner companies guarantee Soldiers an interview which could lead to employment. Previously only offered to active duty Soldiers, this unique program is now part of the Army Guard’s effort to partner with the statewide business community and connect Alaska with its members of the Army National Guard.
Currently, more than 900 companies and agencies nationwide are PaYS partners; approximately 15 of those partners are located in Alaska.
Through this partnership, employers benefit from a controlled flow of quality employment candidates who have established a positive work ethic, entry to mid-level leadership skills, are tested free and clear of drugs and are honorably serving their country.
“The Alaska Army National Guard is looking for more businesses to join the partnership, as well as applicants to participate in the program,” said Maj. Amy Slinker, Alaska Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion. “We are hosting events that will offer Alaska employers a behind the scenes experience to meet our Soldiers and learn how Army Guard career fields translate well to civilian jobs.”
The first of these events was held Friday, May 14 and showcased the Army Guard’s culinary career field. The Alaska Army National Guard invited local restaurant chefs, owners and managers to experience a culinary demonstration in a field kitchen at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Representatives from Spenard Roadhouse, Snow City Cafe, South Restaurant + Coffeehouse and Crush Wine Bistro; Bear Tooth Theatrepub and Grill and Moose’s Tooth; The Bridge Seafood Restaurant; Subway and Williwaw Social attended the event. The guests watched Army Guard culinary specialists prepare a meal featuring a spring salad, apple sage mushroom stuffed pork chops, rice pilaf, parmesan asparagus and cream cheese flan.
All of the companies that participated in the event initiated the process to become PaYS partner companies after meeting the Soldiers, experiencing the culinary demonstration and enjoying the meal.
“Their professionalism, dedication, passion, and drive – those are qualities that we’re definitely looking for,” said Bear Tooth Grill Chef Rachel Gilman.
Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd Executive Director Amanda Moser and Economic Opportunity Director Crystal Caines attended the event alongside the restaurant representatives.
Moser also started the application process to become a PaYS partner.
“Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd is thrilled for this opportunity to partner with the Alaska Army National Guard,” said Moser. “With Downtown’s proximity to the base, our mission to promote a clean, safe, and vital downtown, and our commitment to building leadership and growth within our Operations Department makes this a mutually beneficial collaboration.”
In addition to looking for more companies to join the program, the Alaska Army National Guard is seeking new applicants to join the Army Guard and participate in the program. The Guard’s newest Soldiers will be introduced to the PaYS enlistment option during their initial interview with their recruiter. They may select up to five PaYS partner companies at the Military Processing Station (MEPS) during the enlistment process with a guidance counselor.
When Soldiers return home after successfully completing initial entry training, they are eligible to contact the PaYS partner companies to schedule their interview. Soldiers who participate in the program develop valuable skills and experience, in addition to gaining opportunities for employment with organizations who understand the value of their military service.
The Alaska Army National Guard recently opened a new Retention Career Center staffed with a full-time team that supports this program and other Army Guard career initiatives. The center is located at the Alaska National Guard Armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The PaYS program welcomes established companies and public sector agencies with positive reputations. Partner companies must also have the ability to forecast full-time positions that align with skills and abilities Army Guard Soldiers possess. Positions must be for full time permanent employment and cannot be classified as temporary hire. This includes temp agencies and placement agencies. The program does not charge a fee to become a partner, and companies that charge a fee for employment or placement are not eligible. Upon approval, a Memorandum of Agreement is executed between the employer and the U.S. Army.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program should contact Master Sergeant Adam Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 201-0598. More information is available at www.armypays.com.
About the Alaska Army National Guard
The Alaska Army National Guard serves both community and country. The Army Guard’s versatility enables Citizen-Soldiers to respond to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more. Currently approximately 1,700 Citizen-Soldiers serve in the Alaska Army National Guard across the state.