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146 graduate Sharana Vertical Engineering Skills Development Workshop

Posted By News Staff On Friday, July 9, 2010 @ 1:00 am In News | No Comments

Written by U.S. Army Maj. S. Justin Platt, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

Graduates of the Vertical Engineering Skills Development Workshop hold their certificates July 5th while listening to Paktika Provincial Governor Moheebullah Samim speak here about the importance of keeping engineers working in Afghanistan. The 146 graduates also attended a job fair following the ceremony.  Both the workshop and the job fair were hosted by the Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team.  (U.S. Army courtesy photo) [1]

(U.S. Army courtesy photo)

Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan – Building infrastructure in Afghanistan is a huge task, one which will provide decades of employment for trained engineers.  At least that’s the hope of 146 new graduates of the Sharana Vertical Engineering Skills Development Workshop from Paktika Province.

With the essential engineering skills each graduate acquired during the workshop, their hopes for employment are rising as high as the buildings they’ve been trained to build, said Provincial Governor Moheebullah Samim, the keynote speaker at the July 5th ceremony and job fair.

The job fair followed the graduation ceremony at the Paktika Center for Education Excellence and was sponsored by the Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team, said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Robert Gerstemeier, PRT executive officer, from Cincinnati.

Local contractors attended to discuss employment opportunities and the specialties of their respective companies with the graduates. Personnel from the 401st Army Field Support Brigade, the logistics task force responsible for forward operating base construction, also discussed employment opportunities on FOB Sharana, said Gerstemeier.

The job fair created opportunities for the contractors and graduates to talk and share information.  Contractors spoke to the graduates about their company backgrounds and what kind of workers they desire, said Gerstemeier.

Local building contractors (left) discuss their companies, current projects, and what they look for in prospective employees at a job fair here July 5.  The Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team hosted the job fair, which immediately followed the Vertical Engineering Skills Development Workshop graduation ceremony for 146 local students. The course provides basic construction and engineering skills. (U.S. Army courtesy photo) [2]

Local building contractors (left) discuss their companies, current projects, and what they look for in prospective employees at a job fair here July 5. The Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team hosted the job fair, which immediately followed the Vertical Engineering Skills Development Workshop graduation ceremony for 146 local students. The course provides basic construction and engineering skills. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)

Members of the Paktika PRT provided the contactors with flyers that detailed the process of how to obtain a job with the PRT and how to properly submit a company fact sheet so they could be added to the list of approved bidders.

The PRT extends a hiring preference to contractors who hire VESDW graduates, and also may hire the graduates directly for small projects, said Gerstemeier.

Paktika Provincial Governor Moheebullah Samim addresses Vertical Engineering Skills Development Workshop graduates about using their newly learned engineering skills to help further development in Afghanistan.  (U.S. Army courtesy photo) [3]

(U.S. Army courtesy photo)

The event was the third job fair the PRT conducted, and the most heavily attended.  It was also the first job fair with representation from FOB employers, as well as provincial government participation and support, said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Brian Hoyt, the Paktika PRT commander from Phoenix, AZ.

“Gov. Samim’s continued support of this program has significantly increased the visibility of the VESDW program throughout the province,” said Hoyt.

Because of government support and the potential for engineering jobs, VESDW graduates have a good foundation to build their future along with the infrastructure of Afghanistan.

“With proactive PRT actions and follow-up, small-scale projects for local contractors to immediately hire graduates, this event could mark the beginning of a long-lasting working relationship between the VESDW, local contractors and new graduates,” said Hoyt.


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