Fort Gordon soldiers learn how to transition into civilian life at summit

Fort Gordon soldiers learn how to transition into civilian life at summit
Soldiers attended a National Transition Summit at Fort Gordon

FORT GORDON, GA (WFXG) - Hundreds of soldiers at Fort Gordon are preparing for their next mission. Transitioning to civilian life - after serving our country.

That's why Fort Gordon held a "Hiring Our Heroes" Transition Summit. Many soldiers were inspired by the information shared Thursday.

"Oh my God. I'm actually getting out. I've gotta find a new job. I've got to find a new purpose," said Charles Hodges, Senior Director of Events and Programs for Hiring Our Heroes.

The soldiers sitting in this room can agree that that's one of the fears that come to mind when they face separating and retirement - a new frontier.

"Many of them, they have been in the military for or 20 plus years, so the military is a lot of all that they have known. However, what we try to do is calm them down and let them know that there is life after the military - but they have to be prepared," said Angela Gaston, Acting Transition Services Manager.

Panelists taught soldiers how to maximize the experience and knowledge they've gained in the military so employers would be able to interpret it better and hire them once they're out.

It's safe to say Chief Warrant Officer 3 Abel Salazar and his family are looking forward to January 1, 2019. That's when he's retiring after serving 24 years in the Army. His specialization is electronics systems maintenance.

"I'm a certified PMP, have a graduate degree, working on my doctorate in education. So, I think I have some skills that are translatable," Salazar said.

His goals are to find a new career, get a great job and take care of his family. He said he was inspired by the reality check - about how different life will be in the civilian world - panelists gave the audience.

Events like this give him and soldiers like him direct access to veteran-ready employers ready to hire.

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