ARMY IN ALASKA


Onward to Opportunity Graduates Inaugural Class In Navy Region Northwest

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Story by PO2 Wyatt Anthony on 10/20/2017
BREMERTON, Wash. (Oct. 19, 2017) Onward to Opportunity (O2O) graduated its inaugural Navy Region Northwest (NRNW) class, Thursday, Oct. 19 at Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton.

NRNW launched the O2O program in September of this year because of an observed gap in training for transitioning Sailors in the area.

"We know that there are always Sailors in the process of transitioning and I was worried about Sailors not getting the necessary training that they required to go out and get a job, taking jobs they don't want, or using their GI-Bill for something that they would regret," said Lt. Cmdr. Joe Davis, NRNW director for 21st Century Sailor, and one of the people responsible for the implementation of the O2O program for NRNW.

O2O, partnered with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and the Veterans Career Transition Program, provides the opportunity to gain industry credentials and/or certificates for service members within six months of retirement or separation, veterans and military spouses in business, technology and customer service fields.

"We are very excited to have the [O2O] being introduced to [NRNW]," said Angela Roarty, NRNW O2O program director. "O2O has been very successful with job placement and certificate achievement in the areas that it has been introduced to, and we hope to see that success continue here in [NRNW]."

The O2O career transition program combines industry- validated courses, strong partnerships, and comprehensive career coaching and employment services to match participants with civilian job opportunities.

Graduates also had the opportunity for community engagement and networking with local employers in non-traditional ways. Examples include a site visit to Alaska Airlines on October 11 and attending the Joint-Base Lewis McChord Employment Summit.

"My favorite thing that we did was the mock interviews," said Sonar Technician Submarine 1st Class Gavin Stephens, who took the business management track, and has an interview set up to become the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers training manager. "Truthfully I've never done a real interview, so the ability to sit down and interview with employers like Amazon, and practice my interview skills was very valuable."

The inaugural graduating class contains three Navy veterans, one Army veteran, nine active duty transitioning service members and one spouse, and come from many work backgrounds, such as federal and state government as well as the private sector.

"My command career counselor told me about the program," said Stephens. "The thing that drew me in and made me really interested was the training they give you to take certification exams."

Since its implementation almost 20,000 graduates have gone through the O2O program, and 61% have been helped into a job or found a better job as a result. The training and certification options available are flexible, no-cost and designed to direct you into careers that are in high demand by some of the most recognizable names in business JP Morgan Chase & Co., First Data, Lockheed Martin, Accenture, Hilton, USAA and more. There are over 500 employer partners through O2O's partnership with Hire Heroes USA focused on helping you achieve your success after your military success.

"I would recommend this program to anyone preparing to transition out of the Navy," said Stephens. "It helped me greatly, and taught me the benefit of networking and gave me confidence in how to perform well in interviews."

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