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NEWS | July 19, 2017

U.S. Army partners with community school program

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Fourteen young adults from the Ready 2 Work program visited Joint Base Langley-Eustis to learn about U.S. Army career opportunities, July 14, 2017.

Ready 2 Work is a six-week work program, hosted by VersAbility Resources and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula. The program teaches students how to write resumes, conduct job interviews and research about career opportunities available to them.

Individuals in the program range from 15 to 21 years old and either face intellectual developmental disabilities on a variety of levels, or are considered “at risk” by the Newport News school system.

Some of those include students who are deaf or hard of hearing, so sign language interpreters were provided by Newport News Public Schools and worked with briefers during the visit.

“The staff here at Fort Eustis did an awesome job with making sure accommodations were met for all the students,” said Karen King, Newport News Public Schools sign language interpreter. “The exposure was awesome to not only have someone there giving a lecture, but also to have the hands-on capabilities and the opportunity to touch the different objects and connect their sign with an actual object.”

VersAbility Resources, which serves over 1,400 individuals and their families each year, builds partnerships with companies to provide jobs for people with disabilities. Many of these career opportunities allow those with disabilities to work alongside enlisted and civilian personnel at various military installations.

“We decided to come to Fort Eustis because it is important for organizations off base and the installation to work together so we can have a more unified community,” said Kendra Wormley, VersAbility Resources senior operations manager. “With this program we’re trying to help the students with different job skills and this visit offered another understanding of the things they can do in the future.”

During their visit, the students took a tour of U.S. Army Vessel Brandy Station at Third Port, to learn how the port supports the local community. The group also visited 1st Battalion, 210th Aviation Regiment, 128th Aviation Brigade, where they learned about weapon systems on Army aircraft, sat in simulators and operated cameras in AH-64 Apache helicopters.

“I think they really enjoyed getting into the helicopters and (having that hands-on) experience,” said Wormley. “We knew coming to Fort Eustis would be a great way to expose our students to the military and get another side of what the Army does on land, in the air and in the water.”

Visitors from the Ready 2 Work program finished their tour with a trip to the U.S. Army Transportation Museum to learn about the history of Army capabilities and thanked Soldiers one last time for guiding them throughout the day.