By Betty Boyd, Military Affairs Committee

We are honored to introduce Cynthia Ellis, who served as a master sergeant at both Creech and Cannon AFB. She was a sensor operator, on the MQ9 Reaper Drone, working the camera to gather intelligence.

Ellis is now retired from the Air Force and dedicated herself to serving our country for 20 years. The Department of Defense (DOD) has a skills bridge program, which is designed to help retirees or transitioning veterans to help them into meaningful career opportunities.

Ellis, while still working for the Air Force, signed up for Hiring for Heroes, which is a skills bridge program and a US Chamber of Commerce program where the participant does a fellowship with a company.

Ellis states, “the Hiring for Heroes program is an amazing opportunity to learn how things work in the civilian sector.” She was matched with the Counter UAS Program, which tests the capabilities of smaller drones in ground operations, as well as the air and ground operations.

When asked: what are some of the challenges a transitioning veteran would encounter? Ellis indicated, “the jobs I had were so military-specific, that there would be very few civilian opportunities that would translate to the outside. I will have to draw on other qualities I have such as planning and leadership.”

While in the military, Ellis was expected to just “run with it”, and in the civilian world, you make connections and may have to take a step back by just learning a different skill set will help you to be successful. Ellis was offered a job through the Heroes for Hiring Program, so we congratulate her on her new endeavor!

Ellis’s advice to all service members is to start early when you are ready to transition out. Make connections and consider a skills bridge program. Take courses that will help in the transitioning out process, along with working on your resume and be open to new opportunities.

Some takeaways Cynthia reflected upon, taking care of her family, the possibilities in the military are endless, and the forging of friendships. Cynthia states,” I recommend the service and it is a good life”.

Cynthia Ellis, we thank you for your service and we wish you well in all your future endeavors.

For more articles by the Military Affairs Committee, click here.