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FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Some metro soldiers say this Thanksgiving they’re grateful to have a job. A new program is helping soon-to-be veterans get real-world experience in their chosen profession before they ever leave the military.

One of those veterans includes a Fort Leavenworth soldier currently interning with the city of Olathe IT department.

Sergeant Rick Karlson is the first in the metro to take part in the Army’s Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. Active duty soldiers in their last six months with the Army can now intern at metro businesses and still earn an Army paycheck.

Sgt. Karlson has six children and another on the way. He says the opportunity to work is giving him peace of mind that he and his family will be okay when he retires.

“You get great experience in the military, but it’s not everything you need in the civilian side, and what this does, it fills that gap and it makes you, not only more confident, it makes you more employable,” Karlson said.

The Army is hoping to see the program grow and is looking for businesses that want to take part.

“Veterans have already proven that they’re trainable. I mean, we train them on a multitude of things, they’re also team players, they’re motivate,” said Transition Services Manager Brett Rosene. “They’re skilled, they’re highly disciplined, and they want to succeed. There really isn’t a better employee pool in this area than we’ve got at Fort Leavenworth.”

Businesses don’t have to pay the active duty military members for the internships. Rosene said it’s like trying before buying.

“Gets to find out if he’s a good fit for the company, and the company gets to find out if he’s a good fit for them,” Rosene said.

Businesses interested in taking part in the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program can call 913-684-2227 or e-mail
The program mailing address is:
Soldier for Life
Transition Assistance Program
600 Thomas Avenue
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027