'Boots to Business' programs help transitioning airmen into civilians careers as business owners

by Nicholas Quallich
KFDX

Part of the Air Force motto states "Integrity first, service before self." And specialized service to the community is what some airmen, transitioning to civilian life, are learning about.

Major Celina Hatleberg has been in the United States Air Force for nearly 20 years. Now, she's looking at plans beyond her career serving her country. While she said she wants to fly for a major airline, she also wants to put a business plan into place.

"I do want to start my own business as a practitioner, someone who helps others," Major Hatleberg explained. "It's called Faster EFT. It's neuro-linguistic programming; it's working with your subconscious, how to change those programs, how you do things daily.”

And to get there, she's taking advantage of the Boots to Business program: a service of the U.S. Small Business Administration and part of the Department of Defense's Transition Assistance Program or TAPS.

"It's a workshop that helps inspire and encourage them to become entrepreneurs and teaches them the basic skills of how to think about it and to get started," said Myron Pullum, the leader of the seminar, from the Veterans Business Outreach Center.

Pullum says when he left the Army more than 20 years ago, programs like Boots to Business just didn't exist. All he got was some basic information about moving into the civilian life.

"It was geared toward helping you find a job and making sure that your family was taken care of if you passed away," Pullum stated.

The two day seminar covers topics such as legally setting up a business, business planning and more.

And quite a few airmen, like Major Hatleberg, are taking advantage of the opportunity.

It's an opportunity that provides many resources, helping those in the military transition from serving their country, to serving their community as an entrepreneur.

The program is free to veterans and their families.

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