The U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)’s Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) formed a partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes this year.
Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to connect veterans, service members and military spouses with various employment opportunities. Its goal is to create a movement in hundreds of communities across America where veterans and military families return to the civilian workforce smoothly. The program lasts 12 weeks, and then it is up to the employer whether the participant stays onboard full-time. Four participants from the program are placed with the NNSS: Randall Bach, Ladetra Collins, Cynthia Ellis and Michael Howard.
Randall Bach served in the military for 25 years. Now, he is working for the Emergency Communications Network department.
Ladetra Collins is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in transportation and logistics management while working for the NNSS in the Material Coordination department. Collins adds, “After serving 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, transitioning back to civilian life is not easy. Many of us joined as kids, well 18, and it is all we know. Any assistance that we can receive to help smooth our transition is a weight lifted off our shoulders and our families.”
Cynthia Ellis is currently working in the Counterterrorism Testing Operations department after having served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years. When she originally joined, she signed up to be an intercontinental ballistic missile maintainer, who helped maintain the facility that held the ballistic missile. After 10 years in that position, she cross-trained to be a sensor operator. In that role, she was responsible for watching over an assigned area through the eyes of drones.
“Being in that role made me feel like I truly was impacting the military, even if it was emotionally difficult,” commented Ellis. “When you are doing an over-watch mission, you are keeping the military members safe by scoping out an area prior to them entering. And if you miss something, you can imagine what that leads to.”
Ellis is ready to settle down into her civilian life in Las Vegas. After being away from her family for years, she is excited to be home. The Hiring Our Heroes program has given her the opportunity to do so by matching her with the NNSS for a 12-week program. This period will allow her time to adjust to civilian life and work, while hopefully ending in a full-time job offer.
Michael Howard is currently working within the NNSS Material Coordination department during the program. After serving 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, he finally decided to call one location home, Las Vegas.
Howard has enjoyed his time with the NNSS thus far and personally identifies with the family atmosphere he has witnessed during the internship, something he is all too familiar with given the comradery of people during his military and dependent careers.
Transitioning from one career to another is not very easy; however, the NNSS experience has given Howard an advantage to realign goals and simplify his transition. He looks forward to his future with the NNSS.
These four veterans will conclude their 12-week program at the end of the summer. The NNSS will then determine whether to hire them full-time, and the participants will decide if they would like to stay with the NNSS.
For more information about U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, visit https://www.hiringourheroes.org/.