By Army Sgt. David E. Roscoe
Special to American Forces Press Service
April 21, 2008 - Soldiers of the 864th Engineer Combat Battalion provided basic carpentry and masonry skill training to citizens of Kushamond and surrounding villages. The Fort Lewis soldiers worked to provide Afghans with skills and construction leadership to find steady employment. The workshop, held in late March, also provides the country with future leaders, businessmen and construction contractors.
"The skill-labor workshop is going to have a successful impact on the local job market here in Kushamond, Afghanistan, and allow the local citizens to find a steady source of income to provide better lifestyles for their families," said Army 1st Lt. Pranish Sharma, 2nd Platoon leader, 864th Engineer Combat Battalion.
"The skill-labor workshop benefits coalition forces by allowing us to provide contracts to local citizens to help in the rebuilding of Afghanistan," said Army Pfc. Jason Gonzales, a carpentry and masonry specialist with 2nd Platoon. "The workshop has also given the locals the confidence and knowledge to successfully perform carpentry and masonry work in their local communities that will eventually transform Afghanistan's economy."
The Afghan citizens participating in the skilled-labor workshops varied in age, and at least 50 percent were unemployed, officials said. These individuals received a complete set of tools, including hand and power tools and safety gear.
Task Force Pacemaker and provincial reconstruction teams have taken major strides in assisting Afghans with basic carpentry and masonry skills by hosting four skilled-labor workshops in the past three months throughout Paktika and Nangarhar provinces.
Developing skilled-labor workshops, educating Afghan citizens in site-safety management, and hiring graduates to perform construction and masonry jobs are several things coalition forces do to help develop Afghanistan, officials said.
(Army Sgt. David E. Roscoe is assigned to the Task Force Pacemaker Public Affairs Office.)