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October 28, 2022

Enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2002, Jamie Gardner was assigned to be a jet mechanic for the AV8B Harrier, during which time he deployed twice to Iraq. While on active duty, he completed his undergraduate degree and was accepted for an officer commissioning program. He left active duty in 2013 but continues to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve at his present rank as a Major. Since then, he completed two graduate degrees and began his civilian career as a senior HR professional. Jamie now serves as the director of talent acquisition and employer branding for Watkins Wellness, and is a member of the board of directors for the San Diego Society for Human Resources Management, in the role of VP, workforce readiness. Here he discusses the importance of workforce development, especially helping veterans transition into civilian life and find meaningful professions.

Jamie Gardner Headshot ResizedWhy are you passionate about workforce development?

As someone with a passion for community involvement and helping people to start, advance and in some cases re-start their careers, serving as a member of the Workforce Development Board is an exciting opportunity for me. I am a firm believer that people achieve fulfillment when they are engaged in a meaningful profession where they feel that they are able to bring their best to work everyday, and where they are valued. As a member of the Workforce Development Board, it is a privilege to help members of our community achieve this fulfillment.

If you had $1M to donate to a workforce development program, what would you want done with it?

I would love to see an investment into programs aimed at effectively supporting our veteran community, transitioning service members and their spouses and families. As a veteran, this is a passion that I have. Having experienced the journey of transitioning from military to civilian, I know all too well the challenges of resetting and starting a new career in San Diego.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I love getting on the paddleboard with my son in Mission Bay on a late Saturday afternoon to watch the sun set.

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