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Killeen office could fill jobs with war wounded

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Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2006 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:17 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Emily Baker

Killeen Daily Herald

A policy of hiring military personnel injured in Iraq or Afghanistan could fill the dozens of jobs created by a newly opened Northrop Grumman Killeen office, company officials said Friday.

The 11,000-square-foot office on West Stan Schlueter Loop will contain network support workers, said John Feese, the site manager.

About 50 employees are expected to come to the office in the next six months, about a dozen of whom will be new hires, Feese said. Another 50 are expected to be hired in the next year or two, he said.

The company began its program, dubbed injured military pursuing assisted career transition, or IMPACT, after a senior manager at the Killeen office proposed the idea.

Ward Critz talked over the idea with Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagen-beck, who was the Armys deputy chief of staff at the time, during the 2004 annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army in Washington.

Critz sons friend had been badly injured in the Middle East and he wondered how he could help.

I came back with ideas from the conference and started with my boss here, Critz said. My boss talked to his boss and on up. It was May of last year when it was instituted as a formal program in the Mission Systems sector of Northrop Grumman.

Military personnel who have been injured in combat after Sept. 11, 2001, can contact the company to learn about the open full-time and part-time jobs for which they qualify. If the person is unable to work because of the injury, a caregiver is qualified to search for the jobs, Critz said.

The program is meant to offer opportunities to the most severely wounded like amputees, burn victims, blindness, paralysis, Critz said. We want to give them an opportunity to have the best life they can have.

A section within the company works to fit offices with voice-activated computers and other items disabled personnel might need, Critz said.

The company has offices in all 50 states and 25 countries, which makes it accessible to injured personnel regardless of where they are from, Critz said. About 30 offers have been made to injured personnel or their caregivers nationwide, he said.

The new jobs will be filled by people trained on computer networking with experience with Army battle command systems, Feese said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday by the Greater Killeen Area Chamber of Commerce marked the buildings official opening. The office is expected to be filled within two years.

Feese was working at Fort Hood and moved into Critz office off U.S. Highway 190 and Jasper Road when his contract expired.

They were gracious at hosting us there for the better part of six months, Feese said. Then we departed from there and worked out of a conference room of Fairfield Inn for another couple of months.

Even though we had people that would do their absolute best to help us out, and we had use of conference rooms, it makes a big difference being in your own home, Feese said.

Injured personnel who would like to find out about the job opportunities, should e-mail operationIMPACT@ngc.com.

Contact Emily Baker at ebaker@kdhnews.com

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