Fort Hood: Program helps soldiers learn new career, transition to life after military

Fort Hood main gate.
Fort Hood main gate.(Eric Franklin)
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 1:48 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - When it’s time for soldiers to leave the army, many say it’s hard to take the next step in life. There’s a program for Fort Hood soliders to get them started on a new path.

Soldiers in the Operation LevelUp program will be sitting down in front of their computers Monday to not just learn about software engineering, but also a few life skills.

Matt Elledge, a former garrison commander at Fort Hood, helped come up with the idea.

He said he saw the need for a program like this during his time on post, so he and others created the 18 week program.

“I knew the programs we had on Fort Hood, I thought they were good programs,” Elledge said. “I just knew that there was a select population that wanted to be in the tech industry, or at least go see what it was like.”

It not only helps teach soldiers how to code, but also gives them soft skills like interviewing for jobs and networking.

Laura Evans graduated from the program in 2020, and she said it changed her life.

“I just hope to inspire other women and other Latinas and Latinos and other veterans to come in and try, see if they, see if they can open up that horizon and really see what tech can do,” Evans said.

Elledge said he is always looking for ways to help soldiers transition, because a successful transition is important to their mental health.

“We help them with their soft skills just to be able to tell their story as they head out into the industry, and look for that dream job that they’ve been looking for,” Elledge said.

Right now, the program is only for soldiers at Fort Hood, but Elledge said Operation LevelUp is planning to expand in the future.

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