Fort Benning tour connects employers to Soldiers

Garrison commander Col. Andrew Hilmes speaks at the Fort Benning Workforce Connections Employers Tour 24 June. (Photo by Lindsay Marchello)

Garrison commander Col. Andrew Hilmes speaks at the Fort Benning Workforce Connections Employers Tour 24 June. (Photo by Lindsay Marchello)

By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /

In 2011 there was a lot of media attention about the veteran unemployment rate.

“We had too many Soldiers, Marines and Sailors who were leaving the service and they were not immediately going into their next career. It was a pretty alarming trend,” said Col. Andy Hilmes, the garrison commander at the Maneuver Center for Excellence, during a Workforce Connections Employers Tour June 24.

Fort Benning hosts the Workforce Connections Employers Tour every month to show employers the skills that Soldiers and veterans at Fort Benning possess. The Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance program has partnered up with the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce Economic and Workforce Development department to make this tour possible.

“The intent of this tour is to take the employers and show them, kind of reverse the roles and show them what the Soldiers are capable of, make them aware what some of the terminology is and what actually goes into some of our military operations and how that tailors back to the companies,” said Kevin Aker, a transition services specialist.

“We’ve come a long way when it comes to how we help our Soldiers transition out of uniform and find their next career,” said Hilmes.

Hilmes emphasized the tour provides a snapshot of what goes on everyday at Fort Benning and that it gives employers a chance to see the technical skills being trained at the base.

“What I think a lot of employers are waking up to is the fact that it’s the intangibles that our Soldiers have,” said Hilmes. “It’s the things like the ability to handle stress, it’s the accountability, it’s the attention to detail and those are awesome qualities to bring into the workforce.”

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