On Friday, November 22, the Skillpoint Alliance Gateway program held their first graduation in Killeen, Texas after partnering with the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade to provide transitioning veterans with Certified Nurses Aide training.

We were recently featured in the Fort Hood Herald about our training program, and how the soldiers have been taking to the program and their clients.

Bethany Paul, Skillpoint’s Gateway program coordinator, worked directly with the students during the four-week training period. “My job is to get them graduated and employed,” she said. Her organization has an 80 percent employment rate within the first 30 days after students graduate from the program. Paul’s role required her to select the students and track them throughout the program to ensure successful completion. “We love being able to serve this population,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to give back.” Skillpoint also offers mock interviews, resume support and networking opportunities, Paul said.

The brigade soldiers have been pleased with the outcome of the program. “At the beginning, I was disappointed,” Hughes said of leaving the Army. But now that she’s had time to accept the idea, she is excited to move on and work in nursing. The patients have been her biggest joy of working at the rehab center. “The residents are great to be with,” she said. “It’s always something new every day.” Hughes will exit the Army in May 2014 and is looking forward to spending more time with her three children. “Things slow down a bit when you get out,” she said. She’s glad her post-military life will still require interaction with people on a daily basis.

For Staff Sgt. Jennifer Adams-Ward, working in the facility has been a pleasure. “It’s a joy to see me put a smile on someone’s face,” she said. She loves to help people, and the residents at the Hill Country Rehab Center have treated her well. “I enjoy learning the story of them and what they’re done in their lives,” she said. Adams-Ward’s path differs from her fellow classmates. She will not be transitioning out of the Army. She is a medic, currently serving as the medical non commissioned officer of the brigade’s 1st Battalion. Earning her nurse’s aide certification is one step towards becoming a registered nurse and an Army officer.

At this time, the brigade and Skillpoint are offering an electrician apprenticeship program too. Thomas hopes to add more options in the coming year. The Gateway program is also open to spouses and dependents. “It’s been very successful,” Thomas said. “I appreciate the fact that they’re giving soldiers this (chance).”

Learn more about the Gateway program, and how they’re working to help Central Texans open doors to the next step of their professional careers.