Keeping track of BRAC progress

By BRAD RICHARDSON

Saturday, January 19, 2008 8:02 PM CST

The promises of BRAC are becoming a reality, as the findings from a recently conducted economic impact analysis clearly show. The region is facing extraordinary growth potential.

New jobs on Fort Knox will result in more than $300 million annually in new payroll, which means an additional $96 million in state tax revenue over the course of the next five years. And for every two new jobs on post, one additional job will be created off post.

To bring us up-to-date on Fort Knox BRAC progress, I want to introduce Fort Knox’s new deputy garrison commander for transformation, Col. Jeff Ogden. He’s officially been on the job for a little more than six months, providing important support to Maj. Gen. Williams, Col. Needham and now Brig. Gen. Campbell.

Coming here from the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville where he served as deputy commander, Jeff hit the ground running and immediately immersed himself in the Fort Knox transformation.

We’re proud to have him as one of our key military partners.

BR: So Colonel Ogden, the word transformation is quite appropriate isn’t it?

JO: We’re certainly witnessing a transformation at Fort Knox — our facilities, our roads, even the type of workforce. And all major BRAC construction projects are now under way. There are already 1,300 more soldiers at Fort Knox than there were in 2005, when the BRAC announcement was made.

BR: Can you remind us again who’s coming, who’s going and when?

JO: Sure, Col. Needham told me that his staff had previously prepared a chart for you, so I asked them to update it. Remember, it’s not etched in stone. The numbers can fluctuate.

BR: These charts don’t include any students, right?

JO: That’s correct. These numbers are permanent party personnel only. The students come for a short time. They live in the barracks, have no cars and don’t bring their families. They rarely leave post, and their impact on the local economy is small. While the Department of Defense correctly includes Armor school students as losses in their roll up, the actual impact of the 4,000 incoming permanent employees will be much greater. They bring their families, live in your communities, attend your schools, pay taxes and spend their money locally.

BR: One other question, the findings from the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Board’s regional labor study last year indicated there will be as many as 1,400 new job openings on post. Will people in the region be eligible to apply for those jobs?

JO: Prior experience will most certainly help make someone more competitive for the positions left vacant by civil servants who choose not to move, but even people without experience may be eligible to apply as education can often be substituted for experience. We’d like to work with the One Knox team and its partners to hold a series of regional symposiums to help people better understand the federal hiring process. There are also plans under way to train staff in the Lincoln Trail Career Centers on how to help job seekers use the Army’s Resumix system.

I’d encourage anyone interested to visit the Civilian Personnel Online Web site www.cpol.army.mil and www.usajobs.gov.

Brad Richardson is executive director of One Knox. .

This story, written by Brad Richardson, was provided to One Knox courtesy of The News Enterprise. Read more stories from The News Enterprise at www.thenewsenterprise.com.