Army to Civilianize Hundreds of Jobs - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/20/04

Army to Civilianize Hundreds of Jobs

When the Third ID heads back to the Middle East, they'll be leaving behind hundreds of jobs. There are concerns about filling those jobs with civilians. Because the local workforce lacks the needed skills to fill these positions, many jobs are going to outsiders.

Now Savannah Technical College is trying to get a feel for what kinds of jobs the military needs so they can be filled by locals.

"Part of that is due to the [deployment]," said garrison commander Col. John Kidd. "But some of it is that the Army is civilianizing positions formerly done by soldiers so that we can put more soldiers in the fight, which means those will be permanent positions and that will be a few hundred."

They're positions--ranging from mechanics to administrative workers--nontraditional students, like Tonya McMichael, wouldn't mind filling. "A job is a job wherever it is and whether it be on a military base or off a military base," she said.

Even though there's hundreds of civilian jobs available, the problem is finding a local workforce that's qualified. Right now those jobs are being filled by people from out of state. It's a problem high-ranking federal and state officials, along with members of Savannah Technical College, are trying to solve, by being able to supply a local workforce with the proper training at Savannah Tech.

"There's significant employment opportunities down here," said Sen. Eric Johnson (R-Savannah). "But the skill sets down here, through this facility and others, we hope to be able to increase the training to fill these jobs in which the average salary they say is $56,000, so they're good jobs."

Before any of this can happen, lawmakers must get the funding. Once that's in place, the college can begin offering the training programs. Fort Stewart will start posting more civilian positions in the next month or so.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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