Military mentoring program off to fast start



By José A. López
Feb 01, 2012

Boots in Business, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s Military Mentoring Initiative, has hit the ground running, and is already placing active service members based out of Camp Pendleton into local businesses for job shadowing and mentoring.

After launching in November, the program has attracted more than 30 participating businesses, willing to open their doors to spend time mentoring active servicemembers, allowing them to see what it’s actually like to be in the civilian workforce.

One of the program's participants was Matthew Goodacre, a 25-year-old radio operator that is leaving the Marines in April after serving for nearly eight years.

Goodacre spent several days over the course of a week shadowing and talking to employees at Air Products and Chemicals, AT&T, Datron World Communications and the La Costa Resort and Spa.

Goodacre, who will be returning to his hometown in Wisconsin, plans to study Information Technology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwuakee with the hopes of pursuing a career in computer security.

Goodacre said he decided to participate in Boots in Business because he wanted to see if his plans for school would be the right decision. After the program, he noted, he’s even more determined to pursue his intended career course.

“This program helped me to verify my career direction and clarified the educational path to take,” Goodacre said. “It was a very fun week to go out and experience different jobs.”

Given his background in radio technology, Goodacre said he really connected with the people at Datron World Communications, a Vista-based company that provides radio-based tactical communications equipment to U.S. allies, including the Afghan military. 

Benny Bajoyo, Datron’s IT manager, looked over Goodacre’s resume and suggested some changes that will help him as he looks for jobs in his desired job field.

Skip Catching, Datron’s Director of Customer Service, said the company signed up for Boots in Business because many of its employees come from military backgrounds, and know what the current generation of service members are facing.

“We owe our young returning military men and women an opportunity to see what its like in our businesses and in our workforce,” Catching said. “They have given of themselves voluntarily to protect the life we have here in the United States, and the least we can do is give them an opportunity to see what we do and talk to them about jobs so they can start looking at how they can continue to contribute to the society in a productive way.”

The program is free for the members of the  military, and is also open to their spouses. Thecompanies that participate are not obligated to guarantee job placement or to pay them for the time.

“There is no cost for us, all it takes is a willingness to devote a few hours to helping someone find what job is suited for them,” Catching added.

Goodacre said that he learned a lot from every business that hosted him.

“This program was amazing,” he said. “Everything was all set up for me. Every company in the program was very helpful with answering any of my questions. I would recommend this program to anyone.”

If you are a business and are intersted in learning more about the program, contact Boots in Business Program Manager Madonna May at
mmay@carlsbad.org.



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