One Knox Seeks Public Support to Stave Off Fort Knox Cuts

OneKnoxThe One Knox Policy Council of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the CORE Committee, the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, area chambers of commerce and community leaders, is asking the public to electronically sign a letter discouraging the Army from making further cuts in personnel at Fort Knox.  The letter can be found at www.oneknox.com/letter.  

In what’s called the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment, the Army is considering how it would be organized if it has to reduce its workforce to 420,000 Soldiers by 2020.  One option being considered calls for cuts of approximately 7,600 military and civilian personnel at Fort Knox.  That includes the 3/1 Brigade Combat Team of 3,500 soldiers, which has already been inactivated.

That means an additional 4,100 cuts are being considered,” said Brad Richardson, CEO of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce.  “That would erase all of the gains we saw as a result of BRAC 2005 and then some.”

Richardson said the cuts could equate to as much as $500 million in lost payroll and spending power in the region.

That obviously would have a severely negative impact, Richardson said, and decision makers should not overlook what the region and the state did to prepare for Fort Knox’s growth as a result of BRAC 2005.

The letter One Knox drafted showcases the many actions taken to support Fort Knox and the Army including local business who helped finance community tours, the development of new college courses, as well as the commonwealth’s $251 million in infrastructure investments.

Richardson says that level of support, coupled with all of the attributes the installation and the region offer, actually make it an ideal location for growth.

“We need the public’s help in making our case,” said Richardson, noting a strong letter-writing campaign will help illustrate the depth of the region’s support of Fort Knox.

The Army designated a public comment period on the SPEA options through Aug. 25.  Those interested in electronically signing can simply fill out the fields at the bottom of the letter and it will be automatically forwarded to a designated email address at the Pentagon. 

About One Knox.  The One Knox Policy Council serves as the central coordinating community partner to help the region respond in the most positive ways to opportunities associated with BRAC 2005 and future Fort Knox growth. Community leaders established One Knox in February 2006 at the encouragement of Fort Knox leadership seeking an integrated and coordinated community effort in response to BRAC 2005.  As BRAC 2005 actions were completed and funding sources declined, One Knox community outreach activities were absorbed into the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce but retain the same 10-county regional focus.  For more information, visit www.oneknox.com.

Local Employers Have a Unique Opportunity to Attract Veterans

In 2013, an estimated 132,000 soldiers will transition out of the U.S. Army. With Fort Knox in our region, local employers have access to veterans in a way that no other community can. Fort Knox is the headquarters for the Army Career Alumni Program (ACAP) – all Army personnel go through ACAP, physically or virtually, as they are exiting the military. This offers an excellent opportunity to attract and keep more veterans in our region and our workforce.

Surprisingly, 77 percent of all people between the ages of 18-24 are ineligible to join the Army due to a lack of a high school education, poor fitness, drug use, or criminal history. So, when an employer hires a veteran, the company is choosing a responsible and educated employee who is trained and disciplined with skills like leadership, a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and reliability.

Local employers such as Ford, Humana, and many others value having veterans on their teams for multiple reasons. This video segment shares some of the many important traits that veterans bring to the workplace.

Please contact us if you would like to help in our effort to deliver optimal employment, training, and support services to veterans in the region.  And whether you’re a veteran or an employer, be sure to check out our Veterans Resource Center for assistance in seeking employment opportunities or veteran talent.

 

Veterans Transition from Military Service to New Careers

At the Regional Veterans Summit, we talked in depth about how to best serve transitioning veterans. While it’s a stressful time, it also presents new opportunities. Employers, educators and organizations that assist veterans with the transition to civilian life were on hand to share best practices, provide insights and show support.  And thanks to their involvement, we have significant momentum to build upon going forward.

In this video, local veterans share their experiences transitioning from military service to new careers – heartwarming, uplifting and definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

Please contact us if you would like to help in our effort to deliver optimal employment, training and support services to veterans in the region.

Region Aims to Become a Model to Attract, Retain and Employ Military Veterans

The Kentucky Indiana Exchange (KIX) recently hosted a Regional Veterans Summit on Dec. 12 to discuss ways to attract, retain and employ military veterans throughout the bi-state region. During the summit, participants learned about the findings from a six-month regional asset mapping initiative that identified a wide array of resources available to veterans and opportunities for improvement. They also heard about the online “Veterans Resource Center,” located at kix.com, which provides an easy-to-use tool to locate training, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities

Retired Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, former senior commander at Fort Knox, was the featured speaker. Panel discussions included employers, educators, workforce professionals, veterans and more. The recurring theme was that Veterans have a lot to offer, and that overcoming the obstacles to employing them was not just in their best interests, but in ours. Why? Because harnessing the training, work ethic and both tangible and intangible skills of our military Veterans will help our current employers become more productive, and make us more attractive to businesses and industries looking to relocate or expand to our region

The first phase of this effort, which culminated in the summit, was made possible with funding from the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board (LTWIB). The goal of the overall initiative is not only to provide deserving and qualified Veterans a powerful technical tool that will make the resources they need easier to access, but also to build a regional, united effort to help these well-qualified individuals start lifelong careers with the potential for growth.

Several of the Regional Veterans Summit participants volunteered to help build upon and sustain the work that was started in the initial phase. More help, however, is needed if we’re going to fulfill the dream of making our region a national model for attracting, employing and retaining Veteran talent! So if you’re an employer, educator, Veteran or individual interested in being a part of this effort, please visit the kix.com “Contact Us” page and let us know what you can do to help. We’d appreciate it, and so would our Veterans and their families.

And if you’re a Veteran visiting kix.com to use the “Veterans Resource Center,” please leave anyfeedback and comments you might have to help improve the site.  And thank you so much for your service!

A Community That Cares

A good friend of ours got a phone call in 2007. Her brother Sam, recently returned from a year in Iraq, was dead in a single car accident. Her dad, devastated himself, delivered the news. What had been relief and jubilation at Sam’s safe return was turned into indescribable grief for the entire family. And his friends didn’t think it was an accident. They believed Sam had killed himself. What had gone wrong?

Sam, an infantry soldier in the Sunni Triangle, went out on “missions” daily. These weren’t Sunday drives. Mortal danger lurked at every overpass and intersection. Any day could mean an ambush or an explosion. People he knew, friends, were killed or wounded. And while it was a stressful year for the entire family, waiting at home, the pressure on Sam can only be imagined. On his return, Sam, once a sweet, loveable, gregarious guy, was now angry and short tempered. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t seem to get going with work or school. He said he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But not to worry, right? He said some of his buddies were much worse off and they were getting together and meeting with a counselor occasionally. Surely it would all sort itself out and everything would return to normal.

And then that 5am phone call. The kind we all hope we never get. Sam was dead. He was gone, leaving his family and friends wondering if they could have taken his situation more seriously. And if they had, could they have helped avoid a senseless tragedy? What about the community at large? Were they sensitized to the challenges of returning veterans?

The people who live around Fort Knox have a great affection for their Soldiers, and soon, they’ll get another chance to show how much they care, as the largest number of returning combat veterans the region has seen since 1942 comes home. The more than 3500 men and women of the Duke Brigade will begin returning to Fort Knox in mid-November, a homecoming that will continue through January. Many have seen combat, and like Sam, have lived through situations that most civilians can’t even imagine. They’ll all need to readjust to normal civilian life, and some of them may have a tougher time of it than others. They’ll need our thanks, and our continued appreciation for their service. They’ll also need a little understanding.

To prepare for this homecoming, the region around the installation will be hosting “Returning from Combat … Building an Understanding Community” on November 17th at Fort Knox. Representatives from local law enforcement, clergy and lay leaders, faith based organizations, the judicial system, education, elected leaders, health and human services, community nonprofits and just about anyone who works with the public and comes in contact with Soldiers and their families will learn from experts about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They’ll hear about the challenges our Soldiers and families may face, how they might behave and how we as a community can help. And thanks to the generosity of some wonderful local sponsors, there is no cost to attend.

This is truly a community that cares.

If you work with the public or the type of agencies mentioned above and come in contact with service members and their families, you are welcome to come. Space is still available. All you have to do is register at www.oneknox.com/events.

It’s filling quickly, so be sure to register your attendance today.