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ORAU, U.S. Army Sign Agreement to Help Transition Honorably Discharged Soldiers into the Workforce

March 18, 2009

U.S. Army Capt. Jude Blake with ORAU Interim President Homer Fisher

U.S. Army Capt. Jude Blake, commander of the Knoxville U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion (left) congratulated Oak Ridge Associated Universities Interim President and CEO Homer Fisher (right) after the two signed a Memorandum of Understanding in support of the U.S. Army’s Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program. As part of the new partnership, ORAU agrees to interview honorably discharged soldiers who have successfully completed their term of enlistment.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and the U.S. Army have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of the Army’s Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program, which seeks to match future workforce needs with the military occupational specialties acquired by Army applicants during their enlistment.

In the new partnership, ORAU agrees to interview honorably discharged soldiers who have left active duty for potential identified employment opportunities, given that they are qualified and a job vacancy exists. Future soldiers can participate in the PaYS program by choosing an area of focus for their training, the term of their enlistment, and then a potential employment opportunity with ORAU or any other PaYS partner.

“The brave men and women who have devoted so much of their lives to protecting and securing our nation undoubtedly possess attributes and expertise that uniquely position them as strong assets to any potential employer,” said ORAU Interim President Homer Fisher during the signing ceremony. “ORAU recognizes this potential and is committed to helping transition soldiers from Army life to the civilian workforce. We will do so by providing them the opportunity to connect with our programs and initiatives that complement their skill sets the most.”

U.S. Army Capt. Jude Blake, commander of the Knoxville U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, also spoke during the MOU signing and noted ORAU’s commitment would help the Army continue to promote opportunities for East Tennessee youth.

“I am so honored to be on hand as we officially welcome ORAU to the Army Partnership for Youth Success family,” said Capt. Blake. “ORAU now joins more than 250 other civilian employers who are helping the Army meet its recruiting mission, but also working to improve the lives of young people here in East Tennessee.”

Also present at the signing were several current ORAU employees who are veterans. The group was present to help celebrate another milestone in ORAU’s long-standing tradition of diversity and support of veterans in the workplace.

Current ORAU employee and active Air National Guard member Steve Dickenson commented he learned about working for ORAU through a job placement partnership similar to that of the Army’s PaYS program.

“When I left the full-time, active-duty Air Force in 1994, I learned about my current position at ORAU from an ORAU job posting with the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).  If ORAU had not taken the initiative to post the job with this military association that assists Veterans in finding jobs, I wouldn’t be here today,” Dickenson said.

“I have been a member of the Air National Guard for the past 14 years, and ORAU is very supportive when I need to take time off for Air Force active duty.  I greatly appreciate the support of my superiors and coworkers when I need to be away from the office for Air Force duty. Overall, I’m very grateful for ORAU’s support to veterans, and that is one of the big reasons I’m still here after 15 years.”

ORAU currently employs more than 60 veterans in the Oak Ridge-area and 115 throughout its entire workforce nationwide. The U.S. Department of Energy contractor’s involvement in the PaYS program is effective immediately upon signing of the agreement. Anyone interested in employment opportunities with ORAU should visit the company’s Web site at

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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