LOUISVILLE, Ky. – March 13, 2017 — Where Opportunity Knox, a regional initiative to connect transitioning Veterans and/or military spouses to jobs and careers, announced today that it has partnered with the Cumberlands Workforce Development Area for workforce development and talent attraction efforts. As a result of this new partnership, Michael L. Peeler has joined Where Opportunity Knox as a Regional Veteran Connector to market career opportunities in the Cumberlands Area to transitioning Veterans and their families.
Peeler is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, most recently serving as a patrol officer for the Springfield Police Department in Springfield, TN where he was appointed Class Leader, elected Class President and received the Tennessee Association of Police Chiefs’ Casey-Fowler-Williamson Leadership Award for outstanding Leadership Skills upon graduating from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy. Before retiring from the Army, he served as Deputy Director of the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission (UNCMAC) in the Republic of Korea, operating in the Korean Demilitarized Zone in direct support of U.S. foreign policy and security objectives. Previously, he served as Commander of Viking ROTC Battalion, U.S. Army Cadet Command at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, NC where he was responsible for the retention, recruiting, training and commissioning of the future officer leadership of the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard. Prior to that, he served as the Operations Officer for 3rd Special Troops Battalion and Fire Support Coordinator for the 3rd Brigade (Rakkasans), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, KY.
The Cumberlands Workforce Development Area is located in south-central Kentucky and serves thirteen member counties including Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, Laurel, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell, Taylor, Wayne and Whitley. Its mission is to provide a trained and available workforce for the employers within the Cumberlands Workforce Development Area.
“We are delighted to partner with Where Opportunity Knox as they expand their footprint to the Cumberlands Area,” said Darryl McGaha, Associate Director for Workforce Development. “Mike as Where Opportunity Knox’s new Regional Veteran Connector will play a vital role connecting employers seeking talent and Veterans seeking opportunities.”
Peeler has joined Where Opportunity Knox’s team of Regional Veteran Connectors (RVCs) to work one-on-one with Veterans and their families during their transition to civilian life. The RVCs provide custom and concierge-type services to help transitioning military connect to career opportunities, build a professional network in the region and just as importantly, find a community in the Greater Louisville Region and now the Cumberlands Area that suits their particular needs. RVCs, Veterans themselves who once faced the same transition process, identify and connect transitioning individuals to regional resources that can respond to their specific needs including information on local school systems and other educational opportunities, healthcare information and amenities, etc. In addition, RVCs work with employers to identify talent and workforce needs and gain commitment to Veteran hiring. RVCs also help these organizations understand how to translate military jobs skills to the civilian sector.
Where Opportunity Knox, which launched in September 2014, is a unique regional initiative to connect 10,000 transitioning Veterans and military spouses to jobs and careers by the end of 2017. While numerous employers throughout the country have made the commitment to hire Veterans, there is no geographic region that has taken on this challenge. With approximately 100,000 Soldiers transitioning from active duty through the Army Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) which is headquartered at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command located at Fort Knox, Ky. and with a significant number of transitioning Soldiers stationed at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Southern Indiana have a unique economic development opportunity to tap into this highly skilled Veteran talent like nowhere else in the nation.
This initiative is not a job placement service but instead is about developing a pipeline of transitioning Veterans who are looking for a post-military place to live and work – a place that values Veterans, offers a high-level quality of life and has a diverse and robust economy with available jobs and careers. Through a network of RVCs and a host of knowledgeable volunteers, Where Opportunity Knox is making the connections Veterans need to find the right civilian job and the right civilian community. Where Opportunity Knox also provides an online resource for transitioning families to get information about the overall quality of life in this region including jobs, schools and more.
Where Opportunity Knox is currently funded by the Cumberlands Workforce Development Area, the Duke Energy Foundation, the Gheens Foundation, the James Graham Brown Foundation, the Lincoln Trail Area Development District, and the Ogle Foundation. Three regional chambers of commerce, Greater Louisville Inc., the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and One Southern Indiana, designed and implemented this initiative. For more information about Where Opportunity Knox and to learn more about hiring opportunities for Veterans, visit www.whereopportunityknox.com.