Frantzen shining light on growing employment problem

Kohlie Frantzen, second from left, spoke at the Rotary Club of Crowley’s meeting Tuesday about his ongoing involvement in the push for data sharing and helping transitioning service personnel find jobs upon their return home. Welcoming him were, from left, Isabella delaHoussaye, Carolyn Barousse and Scott Shumacher.

Matching employers, transitioning service personnel a concern

When news broke some months ago that the government was scaling back military numbers, it was met with mix reactions.

The good news was service personnel were going to be able to come home.

The bad news was it appears those 1 million to 1.2 million returning service men and women either would constitute a financial strain on the government through benefits requests or they would be unemployed.

Still a few years out from the main tipping point, people like Kohlie Frantzen have enlisted open dialogues in an effort to find solutions.

Frantzen’s involvement began about nine months ago, as he explained Tuesday to the Rotary Club of Crowley as guest speaker at the meeting.

Since becoming involved, however, he has pushed forth, learning all he can and growing more and more astonished at the data-flow problem that is hurting efforts to help transitioning service personnel (TSP).

Frantzen explained that military personnel moving from active to non-active duty typically have two choices: going the military benefits route or pushing forward into civilian occupation, both of which require specific forms. 

When a person chooses the benefits route, he or she fills out the form and it is immediately shared with the agency to get the information into the system as quickly as possible. That side is simple enough and the data gets to the needed party with ease.

However, when a person chooses to go back to work in the civilian world, he or she fills out a form that is compiled by the Department of Defense for its records and it then falls to the TSP, seemingly, to find a job that fits his or her skillset.

That’s where the problem is occurring, according to Frantzen.

“You might have heard about the services iHeartRadio and Monster.com are providing,” he said, “but, the problem is only about 2 percent are using these services.”

The problem with employers needing a trainable workforce and 1.2 million trainable, eager TSP needing employment and the lack of either side knowing of the other’s existence has begun that data flow conversation. 

Louisiana has been part of that push, according to Frantzen, and if the state and TSP can move forward together, the repercussions could be mutually beneficial. 

For starters, parishes like Calcasieu and Cameron have recently announced large job growth. Military families, according to Frantzen could not only potentially fill these job vacancies, but provide Louisiana the chance to grow in population and begin to reclaim some of the seats in Congress it has lost over the past two decades.

The government, for its part, has started taking some notice, too.

Frantzen complimented the DOD’s movement to begin training for future TSP nine to 12 months before becoming non-active personnel. There have also been legislative bills put forth to change the DOD’s policy in regard to sharing the TSP data, according to Frantzen, who  also pointed out that even an executive order could help change things like the procedure nuance that appears to be the main issue.

For the time being, Frantzen points to conversations like the one he had with Rotarians Tuesday as part of the process and part of the eventual progress.

He also points to the fact that, if more and more choose the benefits route, the financial strain could become another tipping point in the situation.

Acadia Parish Today

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