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Work for Warriors

Program specializes in helping guardmembers find work

Work for Warriors Program Coordinator Will Gable helps a servicemember at the program’s Spring Employment Transition Fair hosted at the Washington National Guard Aviation Readiness Center on JBLM. Photo credit: Gary Lott

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If there is one military-related issue that has gained recognition over the past few years, it is the importance of finding work for veterans once they depart from duty. Although there is a plethora of these types of resources available for servicemembers and vets in general, there is an unfortunate lack of programs dedicated solely to National guardmembers and their families. Out of this acknowledged need, the Work for Warriors program was born.   

Conceived in 2009, the Work for Warriors program (formerly titled Employment Transition Services) aims to prepare National guardmembers and reservists for job placement. Located on Camp Murray, the organization offers a host of free relevant resources like resumé and cover letter building, mock interviewing, and career self-assessment tests.

"Designing an employment program here in the state for the Washington National Guard was a priority because there was nothing specifically for National Guard members at that time," relayed Will Gable, who is a Program Coordinator and Employment Transition Coach (ETC) for the Work for Warriors program. "The program was created for both guardmembers who are transitioning out, as well as traditional National Guard members who are part-time Guard but still need full-time employment. We also offer our services to their spouses and families as well."

"There are two major things we really focus on. One, is working one-on-one with servicemembers to help them through the process of finding employment. I aim to ensure people understand that we do not guarantee employment, but instead give them the tools needed to get the positions they're applying for," Gable advised.

"The second half of what we do is business and community partnering. Our team consists of seven people, spread out all over Washington," he explained. "Each person within their respective territory works with their local community, businesses, companies, and local government to keep a pulse on who is hiring, what they're looking for and what positions are open -- we connect those dots."

Work for Warriors relies heavily on the partnerships of staffing companies such as WorkSource, WDVA (Washington Department of Veterans Affairs) and ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) to ensure placements are fruitful for both the applicant and businesses they are applying to. One of the major collaborations that comes from these partnerships are job fairs and events that are held all over the state.

"The National Guard is so different than the active-duty folks who are transitioning out," Gable explained. "Not only do we have members who are seeking full-time work, but we also have businesses and companies that need to be informed about how the National Guard operates -- specifically, the duties of working one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year. We work with these businesses to inform them and advocate the benefits of hiring from the Guard, so they are aware of what to expect."

Although the program is highly dedicated to career placement for the National Guard, Work for Warriors supports all service people in need, emphasizing the comradery and inclusive mentality the military is known for. "Our program is funded by the Guard, however, we don't shut our doors on anyone. Active-duty, veterans, personnel who are transitioning, families of servicemembers, and any branch of service is welcome."

Making the transition to the civilian workforce can be difficult for any servicemember, regardless of the military background they come from. Having resources dedicated to each specific branch allows for more personalized skill-building, as it is tailored to the proficiencies and strengths of the individual. In this case, the Work for Warriors program acts as a beacon for guardmembers who are struggling with this transition, finding these heroes long-term careers they can prosper in.

For more information on the Work for Warriors program, visit:

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