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Posted on: March 25, 2022

CITY & FORT BENNING’S TRANSITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM ANNOUNCE FIRST SOLDIER TO NEW CAREER PROGRAM

Career Skills Program Internship Announcement PhotoThe City of Opelika and Golden State Foods recognized the first intern, Andrew Vacarro, to a new program called Career Skills Program (CSP) on March 25 at 10 a.m. The event was held at Golden State Foods, 4801 Northpark Drive, Opelika. 

The Career Skills Program provides soldiers a direct pathway to internships with various companies and organizations within the City of Opelika. Each CSP internship takes place during the last six months of active duty for approved service members. They will complete two months of classes on base and four months of employment with the selected industry/business. During that six-month training period, financial compensation and benefits are provided by the military. Upon successful completion of the training, the goal is for the soldier to be offered a position at the company. 

Eddie Perez, Transition Services Manager-Fort Benning, added, “My vision was to establish a program that takes into consideration an entire City, whereas a Soldier can potentially participate with more than one employer during the maximum 120 days of the program, I reached out for John Sweatman and he took on this task to develop a City program that not only puts Soldier and their Family first but that aligns employers with qualified candidates of the program.”

Mayor Gary Fuller added, “I am proud of the city’s Economic Development team for working tirelessly to bring CSP to Opelika. After an extensive approval process, Opelika was awarded approval from the U.S. Department of the Army. John Sweatman worked to secure a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dept. of the Army, as well as connected many of our local industries to the program. We are the first in the region to offer this amazing opportunity to our veterans.” 

The City of Opelika and its business community are strong supporters of transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses and understand the tremendous value they bring to our community and the impact they offer our local workforce.  

Nathan Murphy, Group Vice President, Operations – Protein Products, Golden State Foods, added, “Both technically and culturally, veterans bring much-appreciated contributions to our values-driven company. They have a notable commitment to quality and already possess some of the high-demand technical skills we desire in our food processing operation. We are excited to welcome Andrew to the GSF team.” 

Opelika is the 2nd fastest growing MSA in Alabama and we have a wide variety of career opportunities available: MANUFACTURING, MEDICAL, PHARMACEUTICAL, FOOD & BEVERAGE, LOGISTICS & TRANSPORTATION, INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY, AND MORE.

For more information, please contact John Sweatman, Economic Development Project Manager for the City of Opelika, at 334-705-5115.

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