Sonoco signs partnership agreement with U.S. Army

Lt. Col. Stephen Christian and Allan McLeland sign the memorandum of agreement for the Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program. Photo by Melissa Rollins

By Melissa Rollins, Editor,

Sonoco has joined a growing list of companies partnering with the U.S. Army to offer soldiers opportunities when the time comes for them to transition to civilian life. U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Columbia Commander Lt. Col. Stephen Christian signed the Memorandum of Agreement for the Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program with Sonoco’s Vice President of Human Resources Allan McLeland. The ceremony was held at Sonoco’s headquarters Dec. 20.

“When I found out that we had solidified a partnership with Sonoco, I was excited about the opportunity,” Christian said. “Sonoco has been a stable, growing business for over 115 years and is now a multi-billion dollar global business.”
Christian said that PaYS is a valuable resource for soldiers and businesses alike.

“The Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program is one of the most important, yet least known, programs that the United States Army offers to its perspective soldiers,” Christian said. “The program is designed to prepare, train, and connect soldiers to their future employers. Under the PaYS Program, soldiers are guaranteed a job interview with the PaYS partner of their choice upon completing their reserve training or active duty service. It is truly a strategic partnership between the United States Army and a cross-section of corporations, companies and public sector agencies.”

McLeland said that the agreement means that soldiers will receive priority when it comes to receiving an interview.
“This is not a complicated thing,” McLeland said. “The Army trains and develops very talented people and Sonoco gets to post our jobs and communicate with folks that are in the Army and are ready to make a career transition into the civilian world. They are able to see what we have available. What we offer them is an interview; that’s a very valuable thing. Our recruiters know this, there is maybe only one other group at Sonoco that we guarantee an interview for, not even in all cases do we do that, and that is our board of directors and our officers. To guarantee an interview is a big deal.”

McLeland said that Sonoco understands the value of supporting the people who have served our country.

“We have 460 employees in Sonoco today who have served in the military or are serving in the military; that’s an impressive number,” McLeland said. “This is a great partnership, this is a great connection between the military, the U.S. Army in particular, and Sonoco. The values, some of the skills that the military develops and the trades that are important to the military, they are also important to Sonoco.”

McLeland said that some of those important skills include leadership, discipline and tenacity.

“Neither organization will stop before the mission is complete,” he said. “That is a common and valuable trait. Teamwork; I can’t think of anything great that has happened in the military or at Sonoco that didn’t involve a group of people coming together, bringing their diverse skills together and working towards that common mission.

Author: Duane Childers

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