James Stachowicz spent 22 years in the U.S. Army, serving as a combat engineer and reaching the rank of company first sergeant. He was a senior adviser to the company commander and his responsibilities included the health and welfare of approximately a hundred soldiers.
Despite all this experience, he was at a loss as he approached retirement: “I joined the military right out of high school. As I got ready to retire, I had no idea what skills I had that would be valuable to an employer.”
Luckily, Stachowicz discovered Hiring Our Heroes and its Corporate Fellowship Program (CFP), which helps transitioning service members find civilian careers in industries that match their skill set and experience. Individual participants receive professional training and firsthand experience in the private sector and in exchange, companies involved get access to the best and brightest transitioning service members.
Stachowicz was matched with Oshkosh Defense, an industry-leading tactical vehicle manufacturer based in Wisconsin. As the company’s first corporate fellow, he was given a position as team coordinator at the company’s commercial paint factory.
“Oshkosh Defense gave me a chance to lead in their organization from day one,” Stachowicz said. “The fellowship gave me the confidence to arrive at my new job knowing I had the skills to be successful in my new career.”
That new job was with Oshkosh Defense. After completing his fellowship in May, the company hired him on as team coordinator in the quality control department. Though retired from the military, Stachowicz’s mission remains one of service, as he and Oshkosh Defense both share an unparalleled commitment to those who depend on the company’s products to perform their missions and return home safely.
The CFP features a 12-week curriculum, which runs three times a year at select military installations and in host cities around the country. Each cohort consists of 15–30 active duty service members or recently transitioned veterans. Applicants must be on active duty and within 180 days of transition from military service, and either have a bachelor’s degree with three or more years of leadership experience or an associate degree with five or more years of leadership experience.