FORT MOORE, Ga. (WRBL) — They might be leaving their military jobs, but they already have new ones lined up. Out of the four men who graduated from the Veteran Training Empowerment Center (VTEC) on Friday, Nov. 17, three were out-processing Army soldiers, and all four were offered technical jobs with G.I. TECHS during the ceremony.  

The graduation was held to recognize the men’s successful completion of eight weeks of home repair technical skills training, from water heater installation to dishwasher repair and more. Since opening the Fort Moore building earlier this year, this is the first class to graduate from a fully in-person VTEC program.  

“This program was awesome because I like to get more of a hands-on experience,” said Sgt. 1st Class Andre Slaughter, who is transitioning out of the Army after 19 years of service.

Although Slaughter already possesses a bachelor’s degree in sports management, as well as an associate degree in general studies, he chose to take the VTEC course to develop trade skills. VTEC aims to help prepare out-processing soldiers for civilian jobs, where their skills from the military may not always transfer.

According to Slaughter, the program was “very beneficial for me and other people transitioning out of the military” because it helped prepare him for civilian life.

Fort Moore Transition Specialist Wiley L. Motley was also at VTEC’s inaugural in-person graduation ceremony. Motley said VTEC’s program is a helpful tool for reducing the amount of unemployment compensation soldiers will receive, as well as providing an experience which will help them decide if technical trade work is a career they would like to pursue.

For VTEC Vice President of Field Operations and Training Bierck Saxton, who is the program instructor for all VTEC students, the best part of graduation day was seeing his students’ excitement. He said he loves seeing the men look forward to using their trade skills in the real world to help community members in need.

As part of the class, VTEC students not only make use of training tools housed in their Fort Moore building, but also go out in the field with Saxton to service the homes of customers in Columbus and Phenix City, and even as far as Pensacola, Fla.

Upon graduating, students were also given starter toolsets which they could bring with them to their first non-military jobs.