Bartow's largest employer recently signed an agreement with the United States Army to join the Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program, an initiative that guarantees job interviews for soldiers who finish training or their first term of service.
"It's a partnership to provide military veterans who serve our country with opportunities to transition back into civilian life — Army reservists, National Guard, active duty members," said Shaw Industries Group, Inc. Chief Human Resources Officer Mike Fromm. "We want to be open to give them fair opportunities, and we believe that the alignment between their values and the skill sets that the Army instills aligns very well with us — it should provide plenty of opportunities for those interested."
Nearly 800 public and private sector employers currently partner in PaYS. Soldiers participating in the program choose a potential employer during enlistment, with their military occupational specialties synced up with possible civilian sector and government jobs. The program is offered to Army reservists, Reserve Component cadets and ROTC cadets who complete training, degree requirements and/or active duty commitments.
Dalton-based Shaw inked the agreement at a signing ceremony on Nov. 14. Participating in the program, Fromm said, gives the company an opportunity to give back to those who have served and sacrificed for their country.
"It speaks to the type of culture that we have, being very open to diversity and inclusion, recognizing the different backgrounds and experiences and how important that is to bring into the organization," he said. "And in addition to that, making them feel like they belong."
Such a program is a win-win situation for Shaw and prospective employees, Fromm said.
"I think one of the key benefits is that it's an organization that cares about people," he said. "Also, we have an associate-led resource group called ShawVET, so it will automatically connect them to other veterans who have made that transition or working through balancing the two."
Furthermore, Fromm said the discipline and technical skills service members acquire in the military closely match up with the things Shaw wants to promote within their own company culture.
"Their values around being selfless, caring about others, giving back, being action-oriented, I think that makes us stronger as an organization when you hire people who are passionate about what they do and want to make a difference for others," he said. "We know they will be a tremendous asset for us."
Shaw Vice President of Customer Fulfillment Kevin O'Meara can attest to that.
"Having served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1993, I know personally the experience I gained in the Army has contributed to success in my business career," he said in a press release statement. "Shaw recognizes the great value that diverse perspectives and leadership qualities gained through the military service can offer our organization, and we're proud to partner with Army PaYS to connect military members with work opportunities, when they arise, at Shaw."
The program, however, isn't just of benefit to Shaw and former military members, Fromm said — indeed, he believes the positive impact of PaYS resonates throughout the whole country.
"I think it makes good economical sense that you have people returning and providing them an opportunity to transition to civilian life in a way that's safe and creates value for them," he said. "It keeps them off some of the social services that cost our country or local economies' money."