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 Harris’ Desire to Serve Her Country Continues at DHS

Chemeka Harris is a management analyst in the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She’s also a veteran of both the U.S. Army and the Army Reserves, having served for eight years between 2003 and 2011.
“I was trained to establish secure communications systems,” she explains.
With training completed, “I was immediately assigned to work in the unit’s headquarters as a human resources specialist,” a job she says she had no experience with, but viewed as a challenge.
“I remained in the staffing office for the duration of my active-duty time, where I continued to sharpen my human resource talents, which greatly contributed to me obtaining a position as a human resource technician for the Department of Defense (DOD) after active duty,” she details.
As Harris prepared to transition out of the military, she found many organizations ready to help her. She chose the American Corporate Partners Organization as the one that was the right fit for her.
“I was matched with a mentor whose qualifications aligned with my civilian career goals,” she explains. “My mentor’s professional guidance enabled me to map out my immediate and long-term career objectives.”
Prior to her military service, Harris had thought about becoming a teacher, and took education courses at a local community college. However, after transitioning out of the military, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and, more recently, an MBA, graduating with distinction.
She wanted to continue to serve her country and was able to do that when she came on board at DOD. Although she found her position there rewarding, she continued to research other organizations where she could expand her knowledge and develop new expertise. She found it in DHS.
“I was immediately intrigued by its mission of strengthening the homeland security enterprise. DHS became even more appealing as a place to work when I discovered the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), [which] fell under its umbrella,” shares Harris.
FLETC provides law enforcement training to more than 90 federal, state, local and tribal partners, which enable law-enforcement agencies to meet their strategic objectives. FLETC’s global reach contributes to strengthening the homeland from both within and beyond the U.S. borders. In addition to providing training, FLETC has a dedicated mission-support staffing model that operates business lines such as finance, logistic management, informational systems and organizational health.
Harris joined the DHS/FLETC team in 2010 as a staff assistant in the Centralized Training Management Directorate. In addition to her office-management duties, she was afforded the chance to see how trainees received resources in the classroom that enabled them to successfully complete their training.
“My decision to join the DHS/FLETC team was because I recognized the opportunity to gain the valuable experience I needed to grow professionally within DHS.”
In her current position as a management analyst in the director’s office, Harris’ responsibilities include personnel management and managing the directorate budget, which consists of 12 subordinate offices.
“Recently I became part of the strategic planning team,” she adds. She also serves as an executive assistant to FLETC’s deputy director, where her duties include scheduling, making travel arrangements, preparing briefing books and working on special projects.
Within DHS, its Veterans Employee Association (VEA) supports the development and implementation of policies that affect veterans, helps bring awareness of veterans’ issues, and identifies available resources and training opportunities for DHS employees.
It also serves as a liaison with various veteran organizations, military employment and training experts, and mental health professionals.
Veterans can apply for employment with DHS through usajobs.gov, dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers, as well as at any DHS recruitment and hiring event, where on-the-spot interviews are conducted and tentative job offers are made to qualified candidates. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr.
 
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