Employment for veterans takes a “major” step in the City of Greer

GREER, S.C. – It’s a long way, both literally and figuratively, from running the U.S. Army’s Ft. Buchanan in Puerto Rico to learning about municipal government operations in Greer, S.C.

Maj. John Doehler

Maj. John Doehler

That’s the challenge that U.S. Army Major John Doehler accepted when he applied for the
Veterans Local Government Management Fellowship (VLGMF). The 16-to-20-week Department of Defense Military Installation approved career skills program provides service members who are within 180 days of separation from the military with management training and hands-on experience in the local government environment.

The goal is to prepare those veterans for smooth transitions into local government careers. Just 10 local governments nationwide are hosting fellows in the program’s first year of being offered nationally.

Scott Robinson, senior program manager for the International City/County Management
Association (ICMA), said Greer is the first city in South Carolina to participate in the fellowship offered to veterans through ICMA and the U.S. Department of Defense. The fellowship is offered at no cost to the city.

Doehler, who has more than 33 years experience in the Army and Marine Corps, served four years as Chief of Operations at Ft. Buchanan in Puerto Rico and is currently assigned to a base in Miami. He arrived for his fellowship in September with the City of Greer and has already begun his first assignment – building the framework for a Neighborhood Services Program in the city.

“I learned about the job posting from VLGMF and realized my talents and expertise seemed to be ideally suited for working in local government,” Doehler said, noting that he served in both the enlisted and officer ranks. “I am adept at seeing things from different points of view.

“What I’ve done in the military seems to reflect a lot of what is being done here. There are just a few more moving parts here. It’s interesting work and it’s rewarding. Just like in the Army where we’re taking care of a military installation, here we’re taking care of a city.”

Doehler said his desire to relocate with his wife to the Upstate after retiring from the Army in December made the City of Greer an ideal location for his fellowship experience.

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