Hanscom interns learn on the job

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Two local college students with disabilities participated in a summer work program here that offered on-the-job experience in their respective course of study.

The Workforce Recruitment Program connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with job-seeking college students and recent graduates with disabilities. The Department of Defense and the Department of Labor sponsor the program.

“This is the first year that Hanscom Air Force Base has participated in the Workforce Recruitment Program to hire motivated college students with disabilities,” said Carmen Aguiar, 66th Force Support Squadron program manager for Hanscom’s Affirmative Employment Program/Disability. “The program provided two University of Massachusetts Lowell seniors with the opportunity to learn more about working for the federal government.”

The two students, Jeanine Buonopane and Eric Saadatmand, are working for the 66th Force Support Squadron and 66th Civil Engineering Division respectively.

“The Workforce Recruitment Program shows that people with disabilities are capable of doing great work,” said Buonopane, who is working customer service in the Military Personnel Flight. “The experience has provided me a pool of resources as I move forward in my career.”

Buonopane is studying business administration with a concentration in management and management information systems.

Her supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Seth Graham, NCO in charge of the Military Personnel Flight, spoke about the work done by Buonopane.

“Jeanine has contributed to the renewal of nearly 1,500 contractor ID cards with MITRE,” he said. “Her contributions do not go unnoticed. She also contributed to nearly 4,000 active duty, retiree and civilian ID card renewals.”

Saadatmand, who is studying electrical engineering at UMass Lowell, spoke about his internship at Hanscom AFB.

“I’ve learned a lot here, even more than I’ve learned at school, through my experiences on base having to work problems on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “At college it is a lot more theoretical, whereas here we determine the root cause of a problem and then solve it. It’s been great learning through this experience.”

His supervisor, Joshua Hussey, CE Operations deputy, spoke about his contributions.

“Eric has been a great addition to the Civil Engineering team this summer,” he said. “He comes in everyday with a positive attitude and ready to learn what the day-to-day operations of Hanscom require.”

Aguiar, and other WRP recruiters across the country, conduct interviews with interested candidates from accredited colleges and universities. Candidates represent all majors and range from college freshmen to graduate and law students. Information from the interviews is loaded into a searchable database for hiring officials at Hanscom and elsewhere.

Students interested in participating next year may begin registering Aug. 27 at www.wrp.gov.

Internships run through Sept. 30 each year and funded by the Department of Labor at no cost to the unit. The program, in some cases, allows the Air Force organization to convert the intern into a permanent position without a competitive announcement at the end of the internship.

For more information about the program at Hanscom, contact Aguiar at 781-225-1405 or by email at carmen.aguiar@us.af.mil.

The Air Force’s Equal Opportunity Policy Office at 240-612-4006 can provide additional information about the program overall.