City of Austin creates internships for Ft. Hood soldiers

The City of Austin will partner with Fort Hood to offer internships for exiting soldiers. The program will help soldiers get accustomed to civilian life, while learning the skills necessary to gain a job.

Thursday morning, Austin city leaders stood with Fort Hood officials as they entered into a partnership to help soldiers exiting the service. The city will offer internships that may lead to employment.

"When you're hiring a soldier what you're getting is all the intangible skills that are hard to put a price on. You're getting a person who has integrity, honor,” said Col. Todd Fox, Garrison Commander, Ft. Hood.

"It is the very least we can do. We're proud to do it. We're excited about it,” said City Manager Marc Ott.

The first department to offer the 18-22 week internships is fleet services. 25 percent of the 104 employees once served our country. Karl Schroeder is one of them. He was in the army.

"I worked on a lot of the big trucks. The dump trucks, the deuce in a halves. Basically, I was called a light wheel mechanic. I did a lot of transmission work,” said Schroeder.

What he does today isn't much different working on big engines like this septic truck. However, he did go through an adjustment period. "I was a little off there for a while because I had been so used to the military. Military life is different because you have to follow orders, a lot more orders in the military than in civilian life,” said Schroeder.

600 to 900 soldiers exit Ft. Hood per month. Next week city leaders will travel to the post to select the first three interns.

Schroeder and his co-workers look forward to working alongside them and help them with the transition.

"I think it's a really, really good thing you know because there's a lot of military personnel out there who could use this transition, the help, the encouragement and the City of Austin is supplying that,” said Schroeder.

These are paid internships. The Army is paying all of the salary and benefit expenses as well as relocation costs to move soldiers and their families to Austin.