GE Healthcare partnership trains Army Reserve soldiers for private sector

By Lauren Anderson - Freeman Staff

Oct. 23, 2015

 Sgt. Adam Butler receives his certificate for graduating a biomedical externship program at the GE Healthcare Global Training Institute in the City of Pewaukee on Wednesday.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

CITY OF PEWAUKEE - A partnership between GE Healthcare and the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Command continues to expand in an effort to fill the need for biomedical equipment specialists both in the Reserve and the private sector.

Launched in 2011, the partnership between GE and the 807th Medical Command of the U.S. Army Reserve offers a 12-month “externship” aimed at improving reservists’ Army readiness while also preparing them for careers in the private sector.

Nine Reserve soldiers graduated from the program Wednesday and a new group of externs is currently in training, poised to graduate in the spring.

Those in the program spend three months at an Army Reserve medical training facility, followed by nine months of GE Healthcare biomedical training and imaging training in the field at hospitals. While at GE Healthcare’s City of Pewaukee training institute, soldiers are trained in X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and anesthesia equipment use and maintenance. Every participant is also assigned a mentor from GE’s veteran network to help the transition to civilian life.

 SSG Ruelle Domingo shakes hands with Brig. Gen. Robert Lee during a graduation ceremony for the biomedical program at the GE Healthcare Global Training Institute in the City of Pewaukee on Wednesday.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

An agreement signing will be held this month at U.S. Army Reserve Command to increase resources for the program so more soldiers can participate. The program often sees more soldiers apply than there are openings, GE officials said.

Staff Sgt. Adam Butler recently completed the program and is among the three in his class who have been hired by GE. He credits the program with helping him develop his skills for his current position as a client services technician.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “You can’t get this kind of training anywhere - basically, you get the best on-the-job training there is.  I wouldn’t have the career I do now if not for this program.”

U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer Capt. Chad Nixon said the program allows reserve soldiers to stay current in the industry and keep their skills sharp.

“It’s one of those programs that everyone benefits from,” said Kelly Skindzelewski, community relations leader for GE Healthcare.

To date, 73 soldiers have participated in the program. Almost all graduates have found new jobs after completing the program, with GE hiring about 65 percent of them. GE places an emphasis on employing veterans with its Hiring Our Heroes initiative. The company has hired more than 1,000 veterans to date this year.