News Articles

News News Updates that Connect Veterans to Resources and Information
Included below are news updates containing resources and information for veterans employment opportunities and support. News and resources are shared on a regular basis from leaders in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) and veterans service organizations (VSOs). Articles explore and promote available resources for veterans employment and advocate for veterans employment awareness and employment issues.

March 2020

Understanding Veteran Mental Health and How You Can Help

Post-traumatic stress, or PTS, is a disorder that has demanded increased attention over the years in both the medical and military communities, especially after the end of the Vietnam War.  Veterans who suffer from PTS may have experiences that trigger unwanted memories that can result in heightened reactions, anxiety, and depression. The same symptoms associated with PTS were previously attributed to informal concepts, such as Shell Shock and Operational Exhaustion. The recognition of PTS and its association with veterans led to an influx of concern and consideration for veterans, particularly those who’d seen combat.
Veterans are at high risk for developing PTS or a depressive disorder. According to the RAND Corporation’s Invisible Wounds report, 18.5% of returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTS or depression, and 19.5% report having a traumatic brain injury (TBI). RAND reports that among those veterans, only about half seek treatment, and only half of those who seek care get the minimal amount of adequate care.
In the past, mental health has been stigmatized or completely ignored. As modern psychology continues to develop, mental health is increasingly being seen as equally as important as physical health. New medicines have been developed to help combat mental health disorders. New therapy methods offer additional coping mechanisms and allow participants to better understand their problems.
There is still much more to be done when it comes to eliminating the stigma associated with mental health issues and encouraging veterans to reach out. According to an article by Managed Healthcare Executive, veterans often shy away from mental health treatment because of the remaining stigma around mental health and a military culture that encourages strength in the face of adversity. Unfortunately, unaddressed mental health issues often lead to other issues, such as substance abuse, isolation, and even suicide.
It’s important to be aware of the mental well-being of the veterans around you. Treated or untreated, understanding veteran mental health helps mitigate worsening symptoms. Knowing the symptoms of common veteran mental health disorders, as well as having basic skills to interact with a veteran with a mental health issue, can create trust and increase the possibility for success in helping them find employment and rebuild their lives.
The VA takes veteran mental health very seriously, offering an array of free programs and resources for veterans to access. They keep an up-to-date Mental Health page on their website covering a number of topics, as well as a useful tab that aids veterans who aren’t sure where to start with getting help. is another valuable website, compiling multiple resources for veterans, as well as general mental health information. It also covers basic definitions around mental health and describes ways to find support.
Recognizing and addressing mental health has improved tremendously over the past few decades. However, we as a society still don’t treat mental health with the same gravity as physical illness. As mental health studies continue to evolve, you can be a voice for its importance and help advocate for veterans to get the help they need.
Refer to the resources below for information about mental health: homepage help for Service Members and Their Families
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health page
Invisible Wounds Report by RAND
Community Organization Model Tackles Veterans’ Mental Health Issues by Managed Healthcare Executive
PTSD History and Overview


March 2020

The Best Jobs and Fields for Veterans

Veterans have a variety of skills that lend themselves to many career fields. Some veterans pursue careers that closely mirror their work while in the military, leveraging skills gained during their service; other veterans look for careers that will allow them to gain additional skills and pursue fields outside of their comfort zones. Regardless of whether a veteran wants to seek employment that provides work similar to their experience during service or explore an entirely new area, there are many career paths to refer veterans to for employment.
As per an article on ZipRecruiter, veterans often enjoy working closely with others in hands-on roles. Additionally, industries such as security, construction, and supply chain/logistics typically employ large numbers of veterans because jobs in those fields offer work similar to the work veterans performed in the military. However, there are many fields suited to veterans. An article by Orion Talent lists some of the best industries and job positions for veterans across sectors. The company lists the following industries as key ones to consider as you help veterans find employment:

  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Construction
  • Distribution/Transportation
  • Logistics & Supply Chain
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil & Gas
  • Pharmaceuticals/Medical Device
  • Power Generation
  • Renewable Energy
  • Retail

Being informed about the job market, different industries, and specific job information can help you inspire and motivate veterans to find work that’s meaningful to them. This kind of information and data can help a veteran who is unsure about their next steps in employment figure out what opportunities to seek out. While veterans’ professional desires will vary from person to person, it’s important to recognize emerging trends.
In your day-to-day work as a veterans’ employment specialist, it’s critical to always focus on the individual veteran you are directly helping, and learn about their specific needs, passions, and skills.
For resources on job fields and jobs that are appealing to veterans, check out the articles below:
Industries and Positions for Veterans by Orion Talent –
The 12 Best Job Industries For Veterans by ZipRecruiter –
The 8 Best Cities For Veteran-Friendly Jobs by ZipRecruiter –
The Top-Rated Workplaces for Veterans in 2019 by –
Jobs For Infantry Vets: What You Need to Know by MilitaryTimes –


January 2020

How to Hire Veterans

Military service is a life-altering endeavor that influences all aspects of a person’s life after service—including employment. Transitioning from military to the civilian workforce can take many months, or even years. However, this transition from soldier to staff member can be made easier by employers.
Veterans are often the most dedicated, team-focused, self-starting population in the workforce. According to a brief published by Syracuse University’s Institute For Veterans and Military Families, there is a strong business case for why companies should hire veterans. The Institute found that:

  • Veterans are entrepreneurial.
  • Veterans assume high levels of trust.
  • Veterans are adept at skills transfer across contexts/tasks.
  • Veterans have (and leverage) advanced technical training.
  • Veterans are comfortable/adept in discontinuous environments.
  • Veterans exhibit high levels of resiliency.
  • Veterans exhibit advanced team-building skills.
  • Veterans exhibit strong organizational commitment.
  • Veterans have (and leverage) cross-cultural experiences.
  • Veterans have experience/skill in diverse work-settings.

These are essential skills to succeeding in any company setting.
However, veterans sometimes have difficulty finding consistent work, which can leave them feeling misunderstood or isolated. Some even feel there’s a disconnect between them and employers, and that their skills do not translate in civilian markets. While it can be a challenge to explain to potential employers how the work of a former service member fits into a new workplace setting, the benefits are endless, as demonstrated above.

So what are the ways an employer can leverage these skills and this workforce and effectively engage veterans in the hiring process?
Many industries that hire a lot of veterans have already built a large veteran presence over years of business. A joint Veteran Hiring Guide between and says the best way to hire veterans is through recruiting practices. Having recruiters who are veterans themselves, as well as reaching out to an organization that connects veterans with employers, are both excellent methods to hiring veterans.

Veterans typically maintain robust social and professional networks with other veterans. LinkedIn reports that 28% of veterans in their first year of transition stay within veteran networks, whereas only 1.2% venture into civilian networks. Hiring veteran recruiters or having veteran connections in recruiting is one of the best ways to effectively engage with veterans as these connections allow for employers to tap into their veteran employee networks to enhance their recruitment efforts.

If a company doesn’t have veteran recruiters, another option is to connect with veterans through veteran hiring resources. There are multiple federal and non-federal programs that connect veterans to employers. American Job Centers are one of the primary resources to contact to learn about veteran employment. Others include: Soldier for Life, Marine for Life Network, Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development and Veterans Business Outreach Centers, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and more. DOL VETS maintains a list of organizations to reach out to in their Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans. Additionally, this resource also provides excellent supplementary information about hiring veterans, including best practices around hiring and retention.

To hire veterans, a company must understand veterans, who may not have the same experiences, references, and perspectives that civilians have. If companies want the advanced skillsets veterans bring, they must understand the differences between veteran and civilian applicants. Cultivating this understanding paves pathways to meaningful, loyal employment and hard work and dedication.
Be sure to check out these two excellent resources on hiring veterans:


January 2020

Honoring the Employers who Hire our Nation’s Heroes

Honoring the Employers who Hire our Nation’s Heroes

The HIRE Vets Medallion Program will soon accept applications for the HIRE Vets Medallion Award, the only federal-level veterans’ employment award that recognizes a company or organization’s commitment to veteran hiring, retention, and professional development. There are three company sizes for application:

  • Small Employer (1-50 Employees)
  • Medium Employer (51-499 Employees)
  • Large Employer (500+ Employees)

There are two medals companies can receive: Platinum and Gold. Learn more about the award criteria, the benefits of the program, and how employers can apply at
This is a great opportunity for companies to show their commitment to hire and retain veterans. It also solidifies and highlights partners in our shared endeavor to hire veterans.
HIRE Vets also maintains a resource page with information on applying to the Medallion Program, hiring resources, a factsheet, digital toolkit, and more. It can be viewed here:

September 2019

The Battle after Service: Suicide Prevention for Veterans

For many veterans, long after their service has ended, another battle begins. But this battle isn’t fought with fellow soldiers using military tactics to defeat a common enemy. This is a solitary battle, an internal battle, fought within the mind and heart—making it one of the most challenging battles a veteran can face.

There were more than 6,000 veteran suicides each year from 2008 to 2016. In 2016, the suicide rate was 1.5 times greater for veterans than for non-veterans. According to a Department of Veterans Affairs study, 20 veterans take their own lives each day.

While suicidal thoughts can impact anyone, veterans are especially prone to suicidal ideation and action as a result of the PTS that can accompany military service. A number of factors, including extended times at war, severe combat conditions, brain trauma, and life-lasting physical injuries, contribute to the high number of veteran suicides. While this tragedy is still pervasive among veterans, there have been strides in providing resources and support for veterans struggling with suicide.  

In 2007, Congress passed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (JOVSPA) of 2007. This law supported the creation of a comprehensive program to combat suicide among veterans. The law, which was named for a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who died by suicide in 2005, directed the Department of Veterans Affairs to implement a comprehensive suicide prevention program for veterans, which includes staff education, mental health assessments, a suicide prevention coordinator at each VA medical facility, 24-hour mental health care, and other resources and services.

One of the most effective and critical supports that veterans can have when facing suicidal thoughts is other veterans. Veteran support groups, such as the Road Home Program in Chicago, provide individualized care and navigation of services to help heal the invisible wounds of war. Peer support groups sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs also provide outlets for veterans to share their emotions with others who have had similar experiences.

Other, less traditional forms of connecting and sharing are also becoming more prevalent. StoryCorps, whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world, has an entire collection devoted to military voices. Watching and listening to these stories can help veterans feel less alone in their experiences. Additionally, Make the Connection, a website devoted to capturing and sharing stories of recovery from veterans, allows you to filter by era, branch, combat experience, and many other categories, enabling those who visit the site to find the stories and testimonials that are most relevant to them.

Because of their strong rapport and meaningful relationships with veterans, LVERs and DVOP specialists are in the unique position to observe a veteran’s demeanor and mood. If you recognize any of the following signs of suicide, you should reach out to the resources listed below. Veterans who are contemplating suicide can feel hopeless, trapped, or agitated; have persistent trouble sleeping or eating; feel rage or anger; engage in risky activities without thinking of the consequence; increase their drug or alcohol use; withdraw from family and friends; or feel like there is no reason to live.

These men and women have served our country; it’s up to the entire community to serve as part of their support system.

Resources for Veterans in Crisis:

  • US Department of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health Website: Https:// - This website connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline and online chat, regardless of enrollment in VA care. If you are thinking about death or suicide, call the Veterans Crisis Line now at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, use the Veterans Crisis Line online chat, or send a text message to the Veterans Crisis Line at 838255. The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support, 24/7/365.
  • Mission 22: Https:// - Mission 22 is a non-profit that combats the ever-rising veteran suicide rate. Mission 22 has three main programs; veteran treatment programs, memorials, and national awareness. Mission 22 provides treatment programs to veterans for Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and other issues they might be facing.
  • National Center for PTSD, Peer Support Group: - This resource sets up veterans with peer support groups. Peer support groups are led by veterans for veterans. Groups often meet in person, but many groups also provide online support.

If you are aware of any other resources, please share them with the community at the Making Careers Happen Community of Practice, on NVTI Student Central.
Source: Https://

August 2019

Veteran Unemployment Rate Hits New Lows

Good news! The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a new report on the employment status of veterans. In a report surveying 60,000 American households, the BLS concluded the unemployment rate of veterans has maintained its 18-year-low of 3.5%, with the peak unemployment rate being 9.9% in 2011. The rate of jobless veterans from September 2001 until now, referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans, has dropped from 4.5% in 2017 to 3.5% in 2018, a 10-year low.

This is in no small part due to the hard work of LVERs and DVOP specialists who work day in and day out to help veterans prepare for and find meaningful work. Thank you for your contributions toward improving the quality of life for those who serve our nation.

Read the full report here:

August 2019

DOL Announces $48.1 million in Grants for Homeless Veteran Reintegration

The Department of Labor (DOL) awarded 149 Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants to various community services and agencies totaling over $48.1. Over 20,000 veterans experiencing homelessness or who are highly at risk of homelessness will receive employment and training assistance. Since the inception of HVRP in 1987, the program has steadily increased the numbers served with grant funds and expanded the geographical coverage of these grants. HVRP is the only federal grant program focused exclusively on competitive employment for homeless veterans.

The 12-month grants range from $100,000 to $500,000. California has the most recipients with 30 grants awarded. Texas has the second highest recipients with eight grants awarded.

DOL has a full press release outlining the grants and a list of grant recipients. Read it here:

August 2019

Growing Opportunities: How Farming and the USDA Have Helped Veterans in the Job Market

Three-point-two-percent of United States veterans are unemployed according to the Department of Labor ( While this may seem like a small percentage with a steady decline over the past few years, it still means that hundreds of thousands of veterans are without a job. According to, ( there are currently 20.8 million veterans in the United States. Using the Department of Labor’s statistic, we can calculate that around 665,600 veterans are unemployed. However, agencies, like the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), are providing beneficial tools and programs for former service members, so that unemployment rate can continue its steady decline. The USDA works with organizations like the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to generate ample employment opportunities.

The USDA grants large loans to veterans to help them grow their respective businesses. Steven Clipp, a Navy veteran who writes for VAntage Point, states in his VA blog post, Veterans Have Opportunity to Grow with USDA and Farming Resources, “In 2018, USDA's Farm Service Agency provided $64.5 million in direct and guaranteed farm operating loans to Veterans.“ Based on the millions of dollars issued to this particular population, the USDA is committed to jumpstarting agricultural sector careers. Clipp reinforces this idea by writing, “USDA is committed to assisting Veterans across the country to keep America’s food supply safe and secure.” The USDA seeks to leverage the qualities and characteristics inherent in service members and the skills gained during their service, by identifying, attracting, and ensuring veterans are successful.

Veterans and farmers share many common characteristics and values such as: dedication, fortitude, and resilience. The similarities in these career fields offer an easier transition for veterans into a new employment opportunity, such as agriculture.

With over 40 programs and various financial tools such as: cost-share assistance, funding preferences for engaging in conservation efforts, as well as loan and grant assistance programs, the USDA is committed to extending a financial helping hand to former military personnel in their pursuit of a post-service career. Steven Clipp writes, “Veterans looking to return home or start a new career on a farm or in a rural community have the tools and opportunities needed for success.” Clipp understands that the USDA’s implementation of these programs is a way to not only incentivize veterans to join the agriculture business but to take care of those who have served.

Bi-lateral success is the selling point. The USDA’s initiative to engage and support former military personnel in agri-business via loans and other programs is based on a win-win model. The more success the veterans have in farming, the more revenue and recognition will be generated for the agriculture industry. The USDA also perceives a major opportunity with restoring communities and the engagement of the veteran demographic. Clipp quotes USDA Military Veteran Agricultural Liaison Bill Ashton, in his article saying;

“Nearly one quarter of veterans, approximately 5 million, live in rural areas. They (veterans) can be a positive force for our communities. USDA is committed to making our programs accessible to help veterans start or grow a career and maximize the potential talent of this population.”

Contrary to common perception, the USDA doesn’t just recognize this talent in rural areas, but they also understand there are plenty of qualified veterans in urban areas. Veterans who live in a metropolitan area can access cutting edge technology that can make their transition into agriculture smoother. For example, new urban-based technologies such as rooftop farming and aquaculture farms (indoor hydroponic farms) are potential resources that the USDA can provide to veterans. These resources, along with several others, are detailed within USDA’s Urban toolkit.

This toolkit provides information regarding cost estimation, business planning, and risk management, as well as the technology needed to successfully farm in the city. This resource is just another example of the USDA’s commitment toward ensuring veterans are in the best possible position to achieve success no matter where they live.

Farming and agriculture are about giving back to the community, a value understood by former military members. According to, agriculture is listed as a 2.4 trillion-dollar industry. Former service members should consider agriculture as a new career path through which they can leverage existing skills to seek out opportunities and grow their futures.

To learn more about the USDA’s veteran programs, visit

To learn more about the opportunity of farming in the city and the Urban toolkit, visit:

To access Steven Clipp’s VA blog post, visit:

June 2019

NVTI CoP – Know Your Community!

When you take an NVTI class, you don’t just complete your training and call it a day. Think of an NVTI class as a formal invitation into the NVTI learning community. Through NVTI Student Central, you have access to a variety of resources. One great resource is the NVTI Community of Practice, Making Careers Happen for Veterans. You can navigate to the Community of Practice through the NVTI Student Central homepage.

The Community of Practice is a fantastic opportunity to network with other professionals in your field, stay in contact with them, and expand your own professional knowledge, all through a dynamic and engaged community in NVTI Student Central where members share their own experiences and lessons learned.

In Making Careers Happen for Veterans, the main page is set up for easy navigation with recent posts and links to various resources. The bulk of the community is under the topics tab. Every folder on this page has information regarding the specific topic it’s named after. You can create your own posts and discussions in any topic—you have full access.

One of the best tools you can use through the Community of Practice is the ability to contact Department of Labor employees directly through “Ask a Fed.” If you have any questions about laws or regulations, you can post your questions there and a DOL representative will answer them, and even possibly expand upon it or create a new topic in the Community of Practice.

Communities of Practice are a unique opportunity to connect with people in your profession. Through Making Careers Happen for Veterans, you’re already connected to thousands of people—now it’s just a matter of joining in the conversation!

If you cannot access Making Careers Happen for Veterans, contact for permission. You may also submit any questions you have about the Community of Practice and someone will assist you.

June 2019

Employment Challenges for Military Spouses

VETS’ work revolves entirely around veterans, in mission and practice. However, it’s not just veterans you serve; it’s also their families, specifically their spouses. Military service often requires relocation, which can result in less-than-ideal career opportunities for those married to active service members. Gaps in employment, inconsistent career paths, and preconceived notions about veteran families often prevent them from gaining meaningful, long-term employment.

Veteran spouse employment is yet another factor to consider when speaking about veterans’ financial situations and helping to provide services. It’s important to account for a veteran’s full situation—what is their familial situation? Do they have a spouse? How was that spouse impacted by the veteran’s deployment? Can their spouse also benefit from services? What can veterans learn from VETS to share with their spouses?

In a survey of over 10,000 veterans and active service members conducted by Blue Star Families, 62% of respondents reported having stress due to their financial situation; 52% reported that their spouse being unable to find employment was the greatest financial obstacle they faced; and 37% reported feeling insecure about their financial future.

The main problem is relocation. Companies are often unwilling to hire military spouses because of the chances a military spouse may have to move after being hired. If there’s no possibility for remote work, hiring a military spouse is seen as high risk.

Other problems can occur with military families abroad, where military spouses encounter language and cultural barriers. Employee marketability can only go so far if a spouse cannot guarantee long-term commitment or language fluency. Unsurprisingly, the problem primarily affects women—9 out 10 active military spouses are women—who are already disadvantaged with wage gaps and the motherhood penalty, a statistic that shows that after having their first child, a mother’s wage will not increase at anywhere close to the rate of a first time father’s wage.

Julie Bogen discusses these issues and more in her recent Defense One article, which includes not only an analysis of the challenges military spouses face searching for jobs, but also many eye-opening statistics from credible sources regarding what she refers to as “the dismal career opportunities.”

The issue has gained enough attention that some programs are starting to cater to military spouses exclusively. For example, licensed occupations are now widely accepted across the country for military spouses. If an insurance agent licensed in Virginia had to move to Florida, an exception could be made that allows her to keep her license, instead of getting a Florida license. WorkforceGPS has an excellent resource for military spouses seeking to carry licenses across state borders.

By understanding the barriers around employability, the challenges in job seeking, and the frustrations that are linked to these roadblocks, we can find ways to mitigate these issues, better serve veterans and their families, and even help change employers’ perceptions around veteran employability.

May 2019


How do your veterans choose their career or occupational pathway? Some of us adhere to what might be called the Drift Theory of Vocational Choice. For a variety of reasons, some people approach job searching with the idea that, “Any job is a good job,” without concern for whether the job will be satisfying or not. Others take a more analytical look at their career choices and make intentional decisions about employment based on their interests, aptitudes and skills.

Vocational interests are the likes and dislikes regarding different occupations or types of work. One job seeker may like working with people, while another may prefer to work with information or data over people. We all have our own preferences about work activities we enjoy or don’t. As military service members, we may have liked our jobs or grown to dislike them. Employment we enjoy contributes to our desire to learn more on the job and retain our positions, if not advance.  
Job dissatisfaction is more often about how much we like job activities instead of how much we earn. When drawn to certain types of jobs, it’s logical to think that other job seekers are drawn to the same types, because they share your job interests. Like-minded people are drawn to similar occupations.

When we talk about a good job match, it means that job tasks complement a person’s interests and coworkers share the same work passion. Studies show that people flourish in their work environment when there is a good fit between their personality traits and the likes and dislikes from previous experiences. Lack of congruence between personality and environment leads to dissatisfaction, unstable career paths, and lowered performance . In Holland’s theory, there are six personality types that complement six job types. These include: Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional and Realistic. Three of these types constitutes a Holland code – e.g. a Conventional Enterprising Investigative (CEI) combination, which may best reflect Accountants or Auditors.
The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is the nation's primary source of occupational information. It includes My Next Move for Veterans, a tool to help veterans determine what they want to do for a living. Your veterans may find the O*Net Interest Profiler helpful to find out what their interests are and how those interests relate to the world of work. The Profiler uses Holland Codes to identify occupations that might be of interest to the test taker.
If a veteran, service member or dependent qualifies for or is already receiving VA education benefits, they may be interested in using CareerScope, an assessment tool that measures  interests and skill levels and helps an individual figure out their best career path.

Holland, John L. (1997). Making Vocational Choices, A theory of vocational personalities and work environments, (3rd ed.). Odessa, FL, US: Psychological Assessment Resources.


May 2019

The First Step Act – A New Step in Helping Incarcerated Veterans

The nation’s veterans have sacrificed a great deal to ensure Americans’ safety and security. But what happens when a veteran gets entangled in the criminal justice system? Unfortunately, veterans are not immune to criminal activity, making up around 8% of all inmates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 855 per 100,000 veterans commit a crime, compared to 965 out of 100,000 nonveterans. While they may have statistically lower incarceration rates than nonveterans, the fact that nearly 1 in 10 inmates in the prison system have served our country is disheartening—and a testament to the need for more services and resources for veterans.

The Department of Labor is rolling out new grant opportunities to help individuals transitioning from the criminal justice system, including veterans, find jobs. Originally passed by Congress in late 2018, the First Step Act is a measure aimed at helping former federal inmates find meaningful employment after exiting federal prison. The grants, totaled at just over $7 million, will be awarded to agencies that start rehabilitative services for formerly-incarcerated men and women exiting the federal justice system.

A panel of several experts from rehabilitation groups discussed the importance of inmate rehabilitation. The panel consisted of Jackie Davis of the Virginia Career Works Bay Consortium in Virginia, Kerri Pruitt of the Dannon Project in Alabama and South Carolina, Denise Robinson of the Alvis agency in Ohio, and Jon Ponder of Hope For Prisoners in Nevada.

The panelists all praised the act as a great step in looking at federal inmates not as criminals, but as people seeking to get a fresh start and contribute to their communities. The U.S. has high recidivism rates; many inmates cite an inability to get jobs and reintegrate into society as a major factor for why they become repeat offenders. For veterans, reintegrating into society after military service can be challenging. For veterans who have been incarcerated, the challenge can seem almost insurmountable.

Pruitt emphasized that most of her clients often suffer from mental illness, the most common being PTS—a struggle that is all too real for as much as 30% of the veteran population (statistics vary depending on service era). Many inmates often have undiagnosed mental health issues that go unnoticed during their conviction. Pruitt expressed that while reforming former inmates is an easy bipartisan issue, the stigma of mental health and the partisan nature of drug control often present challenges when helping individuals who struggle with substance use or mental illness.

This is the story of many veterans who have been through traumatic war experiences. For veterans in the prison system, compounding effects can lead to unrecognized, negative factors for reentry to society. The panelists all agreed that effective methods to help a person move past their incarceration include developing relationships, treating their clients like family, and encouraging them to view themselves as more than just a criminal record.

While the First Step Act is one of the first far-reaching federal programs to help inmates, there are plenty of public and private organizations that have partnered with mental health organizations, businesses, and coalitions to help former inmates transition back into society. Pruitt said she kickstarted a rehabilitation partnership with Stepping Up in Alabama to help formerly incarcerated individuals with mental illness and histories of substance use get help and find jobs. All the panelists remarked that partnering with as many organizations as possible is critical, especially when it comes to supporting the nation’s veterans.

April 2019

March 2019 DOL VETS and VSO Meeting

The monthly meeting between the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) and personnel and leaders from Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) around the country was held at the DOL Headquarters in Washington D.C. on March 22, 2019.
The meeting highlighted two key reports—one from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and one from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). BLS presented the Employment Situations of Veterans for 2018. Some key highlights from the report are:

  • The unemployment rate for female veterans declined to 3.0 percent in 2018, and the rate for male veterans (3.5 percent) changed little over the year. The unemployment rate for male veterans was not statistically different from the rate for female veterans.
  • Among the 326,000 unemployed veterans in 2018, 54 percent were age 25 to 54, 40 percent were age 55 and over, and 6 percent were age 18 to 24.
  • Veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in August 2018, higher than the rate for veterans with no disability (3.5 percent).
  • About 1 in 3 employed veterans with a service-connected disability worked in the public sector in August 2018, compared with about 1 in 5 veterans with no disability.
  • In 2018, the unemployment rate of veterans varied across the country, ranging from 1.4 percent in Iowa to 6.5 percent in the District of Columbia.

Find the report, along with other data, at this link
The discussion then turned to the IVMF report on Enhancing Veterans’ Access to STEM Education and Careers: A Labor Market Analysis of Veterans in the STEM Workforce. Some key highlights from this report were:

  • Overall Participation in STEM: The majority of those in the labor force are not in STEM occupations (6% compared to 94%). Veterans, however, represent a larger proportion in STEM occupations compared to nonveterans (8% compared to 6%).
  • Veteran Participation in STEM fields: Veterans are 1.47 times more likely to be in a STEM occupation compared to nonveterans.
  • Veteran Trends in STEM fields: Veterans entered into STEM occupations at an increasing annual rate of 0.232 percentage points between 2012 and 2016.
  • Largest Region Concentration of STEM workforce: The South Atlantic region (District of Columbia, Delaware, West Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida) exhibited the largest concentration of veterans in the STEM workforce.
  • Top STEM Clusters for Veterans: The top two STEM occupation clusters for veterans were the information technology and computer science cluster (43%), followed by the engineering STEM cluster (38%).
  • STEM Occupations with Growing Veteran Participation: Of the 49 STEM occupations, nearly half (19) exhibited a positive trend of increased veteran participation from 2012 to 2016. Information Security Analysts occupation exhibits the highest odds ratio; veterans are 2.64 times more likely to be in the Information Security Analysts occupation compared to non-veterans. The Information Security Analysts has a positive yearly increase of 0.17 percentage points a year.
  • Top States for STEM Earnings Growth: Thirty-six (36) of the 51 states (including District of Columbia) exhibited positive trends in the average total annual personal income for veteran STEM workers (in nominal dollars) from 2012 to 2016. The states with the highest positive growth were North Dakota, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Maine, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
  • Veteran Earnings in STEM Careers: On average, veterans in STEM occupations earn slightly over 8 percent more than their nonveteran peers ($93,833 compared to $86,676, respectively). Veterans in STEM occupations also tend to out-earn, at even higher rates, both their veteran and non-veteran counterparts in non-STEM fields.
  • Veteran Unemployment in STEM fields: Veterans in STEM fields tend to experience lower overall unemployment than those in other occupations, although unemployment was slightly higher for veterans in STEM compared to nonveterans in STEM.

Find the report, along with other data, at this link
The meeting ended with a brief discussion on events and resources from various VSOs:

As always, visit and for more employment, transition, and training resources and news.

March 2019

Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Options

The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to increasing employment opportunities for military spouses. The Department recently released an interactive map to determine what options military spouses have in terms of obtaining temporary licenses or transferring their occupational licenses when relocating with their spouses. Access the tool here: Search parameters include occupation, job title, license name, or state agency.

March 2019

How a ‘New’ GI Bill Will Shape Tomorrow’s Education-to-Employment Pipeline

First passed in 1944, the GI Bill transformed U.S. postsecondary education and the course of the nation’s economic development in the late 20th century. Seventy-three years later, the latest revision of the law is poised to mark another turning point for the education and workforce landscape.
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill, kicked off a college enrollment boom. By 1947, more than 50 percent of higher-education students were beneficiaries and, in some institutions, up to 60 percent of the entire student body were GI Bill veterans. These graduates began their careers in an uncertain postwar economy, but their education and training helped to fuel the nation’s phenomenal economic growth, what many call the “Golden Age of Capitalism.”
Seventy-three years later, the “Golden Age” may be behind us. Technology is ushering a new economic era where the jobs of yesterday are evolving—or eroding—with the emergence of the “gig economy.” Automation and artificial intelligence will shape what skills future workers will need.
As it turns out, a rare bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill has positioned the GI Bill to extend its role in equipping veterans for what’s next in their careers. This August, Congress passed the “Forever GI Bill” and made two critical changes to the program designed to help veterans to forge tomorrow’s education to employment pathways. (The program currently serves about one million veterans annually.)
First, as the title indicates, veterans will no longer lose their benefits after 15 years—as was the case under the original GI Bill. This is important because it recognizes that the path from education to employment is not as linear or sequential as in the past. Education, competencies, and skills training is more likely to happen in fits and start, as life allows.
Second, the providers and methods of education and job training programs are becoming more diverse. While traditional colleges and universities still do the lion’s share of the work, more and more programs are available by non-accredited education providers that focus on rapidly-changing skills and competencies that employers need now. Congress dedicated $75 million ($15 million per year over five years) to nontraditional providers for these new opportunities through the High Technology Pilot Program.
The program authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into contracts with providers to offer educational programs to eligible veterans. The pilot is remarkable for at least three reasons:

Federal funding to new institutions

Eligible high-tech programs, as defined by the new law, must be related to technology subjects but do not have to be offered by a higher-ed institution or lead to a degree. Providers must have also been in existence for two years and offer the program for one year.
This definition aligns with the rise of “bootcamps” or other non-accredited educational programs such as General Assembly, Skill Distillery, and other providers that have emerged in recent years. The law reflects Congressional confidence that short-term, intensive training can produce tangible employment outcomes.

New pathways to government dollars

The Forever GI Bill provides the VA Secretary with wide-ranging ability to develop “approval criteria” to define more specifics on which providers are eligible, how the funds will be awarded, and to weed out fraud. That process is underway since contracts with the high-technology programs must be in place by the end of next year, or sooner if possible.
Interestingly, non-accredited providers that cannot access Title IV Federal Student Aid can already become eligible for students to use GI Bill funding, but the process is laborious and time consuming. For example, the entity has to wait to apply for two years after they receive state licensure and approval to be in operation. At that time, providers must then fill out a new application and go through a separate process to get approval for GI Bill funding eligibility, working through a State Approving Agency, which then must also get approval from the VA.
This pilot program could cut begin to cut through that red tape and dramatically simplify access to federal funding by creating a whole new approval process.

Employment outcome matters

Higher-education funding has traditionally required student financial eligibility and enrollment at eligible institutions. Yet in recent years, states are increasingly adopting performance-based funding formulas based on degree attainment, course completion by underserved students, and responsiveness to workforce needs.
In Ohio, for example, the funding formula contains “success points” that are used to allocate funding associated with student success as measured by credit accumulation and “developmental” completion. However, these programs are still largely experimental. With the exception of Ohio and Tennessee, states typically only dedicate a small percentage of their funding formulas to the program and implementation is cautiously carried out over a long period of time.
This pilot forges ahead with outcomes-based funding. The statute establishes payments to approved education providers in three parts: 25 percent of the cost of tuition and other program fees is upon the enrollment of the veteran; 25 percent of the costs is paid upon the completion of the program; and 50 percent of the cost is upon the employment of the veteran in the field of study of the program. Simply put, the employment outcome matters.
The first GI Bill set the course for the nation’s prosperity during a time of postwar economic uncertainty. Congress has, again, utilized the GI Bill to help veterans navigate new economic uncertainties and shifting postsecondary education and job training opportunities.
There is hope that the High Technology Pilot Program can help better align postsecondary education (in its many forms) with the needs of our economy. In three years, the Secretary submits the first interim assessment of the program. The final report will come out two years later, in 2023. By then the pilot program will likely look like something we should have done long ago.


February 2019

Resources to Assist Services in Rural Areas

Organizational Author(s): WorkforceGPS Team
Every state has rural areas. And providing workforce services to these areas is challenging due to long distances and in many cases, a lack of support services and infrastructure like broadband and affordable transportation.
This month, we are highlighting successful practices, programs and services in rural areas.  We have created a resource page that provides you with quick access to these resources.  We will continue to add links to this page as we hear about more materials that showcase services to customers in rural areas.
We are also pleased to share with you several new reports and resources that have been posted on the global site and various WorkforceGPS Communities.

Relevant WFGPS Communities: Resources Organizations


February 2019

Apply to the HIRE Vets Medallion Program Award Today!

Did you know that employers of all sizes can receive an Award from the U.S. Department of Labor for their efforts to recruit, employ, and retain America's Veterans?

The 2019 HIRE Vets Medallion Program is now accepting applications! Learn more and apply online at

  • The Award highlights companies and organizations committed to hiring and retaining America’s veterans in good, family-sustaining careers
  • The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is the only federal-level veterans’ employment award that recognizes job creators
  • The application deadline is April 30, 2019
  • Award recipients will receive a certificate and digital images of the medallion for use as part of their marketing and promotional activities

For more information, visit, follow @VETS_DOL, and join the conversation using #HireVets 


February 2019

Are You New to the Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) Staff? This Primer Will Prepare You for the Job

As announced in Veterans Program Letter (No. 01-19), Training Requirements and Reference Tool for Newly Hired Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) Staff, the National Veterans’ Training Institute (NVTI), in collaboration with Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) and state grantee employees, produced a Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) Primer to provide newly hired Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists and Local Veterans’ Employment Representative (LVER) staff the essential information on the basic Federal requirements associated with their jobs. This desk aid was designed to provide commonly used job resources for DVOP specialists and LVER staff. 

All newly hired DVOP specialists and LVER staff must satisfactorily complete the required JVSG courses delivered by NVTI within 18 months of employment. Consolidated Position staff who serve a dual role as a DVOP specialist and LVER staff must satisfactorily complete five JVSG courses. This desk aid will give newly hired JVSG staff an easy tool to reference as they learn and apply the Federal requirements of the job before they begin to complete the mandatory training.

The standard content of the JVSG Primer is organized around seven major areas, including:
  1. What is the Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service?
  2. What are the Jobs for Veterans State Grants?
  3. What is it like to work in an American Job Center?
  4. What legal and regulatory guidance affects my work?
  5. What additional guidance exists to help me get started?
  6. What is the National Veterans Training Institute?

What Resources Might I Find Useful to Reference? The JVSG Primer is available in two electronic document formats and may be accessed by going to The Adobe Acrobat version of the JVSG Primer is a high-quality, professional document that cannot be edited or customized for other purposes. The JVSG Primer is also available as a Microsoft Word version that can be customized for state or local use to include additional guidance like standard operating procedures. NVTI will update both versions annually with current information.


February 2019

Recent VA Resources

Below are some resources that may be of interest to Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialists and Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER).

  1. The National Veterans Outreach Office is holding a Facebook Live event on February 12th at 2 p.m. EST to promote VA Programs to End Homelessness. Visit this page for more information.
  2. The Veterans Business Administration (VBA) Education Line of Business (LOB) is interested in partnering with groups to present information on the Education GI Bill Benefits. Contact Tammy Hurley at for more information.
  3. The VA Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization is holding two events in the upcoming months:

Event: 2019 Government Procurement Conference
Date: April 19, 2019
Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC 20001
Purpose: To foster business partnerships between the federal Government, its prime contractors, and small, minority, SDVOSB, VOSB, HubZone, and WOSBs.
POC: Bob Jefers (301) 535-4230
Event: 14th Annual Veterans Business Conference
Date: March 19th, 2019
Location: Army Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
Purpose: To provide education, networking, and business opportunities for the military community who continue to serve and strengthen our country with their small business endeavors and entrepreneurial spirit.
POC: Charles McCaffey (703) -4569-9890

  1. The VA Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiative is holding an Informational Roundtable on February 26th, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 810 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington DC. Contact Trulesta J Pauling at for more information.
  2. The Veterans Employment Services Office (VESO) is holding a few events in the upcoming months. Contact Zelda Davis at for more information.
    1. February 14th, 2019: Recruit Military Veteran Job Fair, Richmond, VA
    2. February 19th, 2019: DoD Operation Warfighter Internship Fair, Fort Belvoir, VA
    3. February 21st, 2019: Recruit Military Veteran Job Fair, Baltimore, MD
    4. March 11th, 2019: VESO Facebook Chat with the EEOC (Reasonable Accommodations Part II)
  3. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Rural Health (ORH) released new fact sheets, a brochure, and videos at
  4. The VA Privacy Service will be holding Speaker Series events on March 27th and May 22nd, 2019. Contact for more information.


February 2019

Veterans at Work Certificate Program by SHRM

A new certification program released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER) with more resources when advocating for the hiring and retention of veterans. The program, called Veterans at Work Certificate Program, was released in November 2018 and is targeted at HR professionals, hiring managers, and front-line supervisors.

LVERs can also promote this certification to the organizations they work with, empowering their HR professionals with knowledge of the value of hiring veterans and how to engage and integrate veterans into their organizations. The program's content is based in part on The Recruitment, Hiring, Retention & Engagement of Military Veterans by Deborah Bradbard, PhD and James Schmeling, JD (SHRM Foundation, 2018), a new guidebook that makes the business case for hiring veteran candidates.

To earn the Veterans at Work certificate, participants must complete several program components, including content review, online training, brief quizzes, and pre- and post-participation surveys. Ten professional development credits (PDCs) toward recertification are available to SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credential-holders.

The program is free and open to all HR professionals. To find out more and register for the program, visit


January 2019

Resources to Assist Veterans

Veterans deserve the full attention and support of the workforce system as the transition back into the civilian workforce. For some, the transition is quick and seamless, but for others, it takes additional time and support. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has compiled a number of resources to assist veterans in their employment needs, including the job finder tool that matches the veterans’ military job with civilian careers that use similar skills. In addition, ETA has pulled together a number of workplace resources to increase awareness about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to help increase awareness to support our veterans and others with this disability.


November 2018

Job Creators that Hire Veterans

Created as a result of legislation signed by President Donald J. Trump, the HIRE Vets Medallion Program recognizes job creators that recruit, hire, and retain America’s veterans. On November 8th 2018, the Department announced recipients of the 2018 HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award. Honorees include small businesses, community-based nonprofits, and national companies.

Watch these videos to hear why it makes sense to hire veterans.




November 2018


The U.S. Department of Labor has developed a number of resources for organizations interested in learning about industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs). These programs were established by President Trump’s Executive Order “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.” A Training and Employment Notice was issued on July 27, 2018, to create the framework for the programs. On September 20, 2018, the Department of Labor began soliciting public comments on the IRAP accreditation application. Comments can be submitted via email to by November 19, 2018, to be considered. Learn more at


November 2018

HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award Ceremony

HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award Ceremony
The United States Department of Labor recognized organizations that actively recruit, employ, and retain our nation’s veterans with an award ceremony under the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act, or HIRE Vets Act on November 8, 2018. This program demonstration is under the During the ceremony, Department of Labor Secretary Acosta stated that altogether the 239 businesses receiving awards hired 8,230 veterans within the past year alone.
The award categories included two tiers; Gold and Platinum, for large, medium, and small organizations. The program requires that organizations provide an employee veteran organization or resource group to assist new veteran employees with integration into the civilian workforce and a dedicated human resource professional or initiatives to support hiring, training, and retention of veteran employees. Among the recipients, Southwest Airlines runs a Military Ambassador Program that bridges the gap between veteran issues and the resources and tools available to veterans. The Arizona Public Services company has a Veteran Transition and Engagement Network to help service members transition to civilian life. The company Two Marines Moving bases their entire recruitment strategy on hiring veterans and frequents veterans transition seminars to employ service members coming out of the military.

Award recipients with U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Acosta and Congressman Cook
Representatives from each category gave remarks after being presented with the awards by Secretary Acosta. They shared a few best practices in hiring and retaining veteran employees:

  • Nicholas Baucoum of Two Marines Moving shared that connecting veterans to the mission of the company has helped in retaining their veteran employees.
  • Joe Padlo from Veterans Elite Services shared that a best practice was to not just hire veterans, but to work with outside vendors who also hire veterans.
  • Rich Cross of the Independence Fund shared that not only should companies look to hire veterans, but to provide opportunities to veteran spouses and caregivers.

For more information about the HIRE Vets Medallion Program, visit and read more about the ceremony at


November 2018

After Listening to Veterans, VA Put All Its Services on One Website

Wednesday night, the tech team at the Veterans Affairs Department launched their latest effort to improve the quality of services for former military personnel with the relaunch of

Find out more at


November 2018

DoD Career Path DECIDE

The Department of Defense (DoD) recently released a tool called Career Path DECIDE that provides Service members with an online advisement tool to support their career exploration and planning. This tool also aids Service members in identifying and making informed decisions about education and professional development opportunities. The graphic below describes the steps for using the tool.

Career Path DECIDE brings together data from trusted Government sources including Department of Labor’s O*NET, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Career One Stop, Department of Education (ED)’s College Navigator, DoD’s Defense Manpower Data Center, and Tuition Assistance DECIDE. These sources are updated as each source data system is updated, which varies by source system.

Find out more at Try it out and be sure to share your experience via the Feedback button at the top of the website.


November 2018

New Resources for Veteran Job-Seekers

A few new resources have been released to assist veterans find jobs or apprenticeships.

  1. The National Labor Exchange (NLx) has designed and released a new search engine especially for veterans. The website can be found at:
  2. The Department of Labor released the website which allows users to search for apprenticeships using keywords and zip code.  
  3. Google has a new search capability to filter jobs based on Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) codes that enables users to search for jobs matching their experience in the military. Simply type “veterans jobs” in the Google search bar and the MOS entry box will appear. The screenshot below displays the MOS entry box on Google.



November 2018

New Mini-Documentary Highlights How Two Nonprofits Have Partnered to Prepare Veterans for Post-Military Careers

WorkingNation follows Workshops for Warriors and Hire Heroes USA as they equip veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce with advanced manufacturing skills

This is a MUST SEE documentary for all military veterans seeking a sustainable career path after service.

Salute to Skills” is a new mini-documentary from WorkingNation that follows 23-year-old Zachary Pierobello as he makes the transition from military service to a successful career in advanced manufacturing.

The video is available to view here.

The documentary was produced by WorkingNation, a national nonprofit campaign working to expose hard truths about a skills gap crisis in the United States and bring the country together to create and amplify solutions.

In the 5-minute documentary, we learn how Workshops for Warriors is putting transitioning veterans like Pierobello through an intensive 16-week accredited STEM training program, equipping them with skills that make them desirable candidates for the 2.3 million open jobs in advanced manufacturing.

As part of this unique partnership, Hire Heroes USA also works with the veterans on the soft skills they will need – like resume building, networking and interviewing – for a successful civilian job search.

Together, Workshops for Warriors and Hire Heroes USA are putting these qualified U.S. veterans on a path toward sustainable, good-paying post-military employment.

“Veterans often come out of military service with a particular experience that doesn’t immediately translate to a career in the civilian workforce, and are therefore too often overlooked for civilian careers,” said Hernan Luis y Prado, founder and CEO of Workshops for Warriors. “As the only accredited program in the country providing advanced manufacturing training for veterans, we are building off their valuable career experience in the military and fast-tracking them toward a sustainable, good-paying career in in-demand industries.”

“For many military men and women, the civilian job search process is a struggle,” said Christopher Plamp, chief executive officer of Hire Heroes USA and a decorated Air Force combat pilot. “Through this partnership with Workshops for Warriors, Hire Heroes USA is able to supplement the certifications these veterans receive with the employment guidance and tools they need. We help them translate their success in the classroom into a well-paying job.”

The video is part of WorkingNation’s “Do Something Awesome” series, consisting of heartfelt, human mini-docs that shine a light on programs across the country working to prepare Americans for jobs of the future.

Each episode in the “Do Something Awesome” series highlights a different scalable program that is working to create a more sustainable workforce in a rapidly changing U.S. economy.

Collectively, the episodes illuminate a broader and often difficult to understand narrative facing the United States – that the world of work is changing faster than we ever could have predicted, and we are not ready.

By highlighting these corporations, nonprofits and individuals, WorkingNation is providing a wide audience with information on emerging careers, pathways to steady jobs, and successful programs that other organizations can adapt for their respective communities, across multiple industries.


October 2018


AARP and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service have launched Operation Protect Veterans to help raise awareness of common scams targeting veterans. According to a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, Veterans are victimized by scam artists twice as often as the rest of the public. Further, the Fraud Watch Network’s recent survey showed 16 percent of U.S. Veterans have lost money to fraudsters, compared to 8 percent of non-Veterans. Some of the scams include:

  1. Benefit buyout scams involving disability or pension payments.
  2. Identity theft scams including phishing for personal information or employment offers where the veteran must pay a fee to apply.
  3. GI Bill education marketing scams that encourage veterans to attend an expensive for-profit educational institution.
  4. Special deals on loans and rentals.
This information is helpful to pass along to the veterans you work with to ensure awareness that they are at-risk for being targeted by scammers. These scams can be reported by calling 877-908-3360 or by visiting Click here for more information.


October 2018


The Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation (ARF) launched an ammonia industry program for refrigeration technicians last year to address the shortage of technicians in the HVAC&R (heating, cooling, air conditioning, and refrigeration) industry. In addition to finding a solution to this shortage, ARF is also targeting transitioning military personnel to fill apprenticeship roles. This program is tied to the national standards for refrigeration industry apprenticeships, which the DOL approved in November 2017.

As part of its focus on the military, ARF has been building up a scholarship fund and working with the federal government to train transitioning military personnel on their bases. The on-base training is designed to make the transition into appropriate technician apprenticeships seamless. Apprentices with military backgrounds may qualify for additional benefits under the GI Bill and qualify for an additional monthly stipend paid by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Find more information here.

In similar news, the Northwest Technical Institute in Arkansas recently announced an expansion of its ammonia accreditation/training center to help fill job openings. The expansion aims to shorten the current length of the training program from 11 months to four or six weeks and increase enrollment capacity from 12 to 14 students to about 75 students. Construction is planned for January 2019. Find more information here.

This information can be helpful for DVOP Specialists with clients who are looking to enter the HVAC&R industry after military service. For LVERs, connections can be made with companies looking to fill roles in this industry.




The organization for Disabled American Veterans (DAV) released a report entitled Women Veterans: The Long Journey Ahead on September 12, 2018. This report is a follow-up to Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home, which DAV published in September 2014. The report findings and recommendations cover a broad range of lifetime needs including health care, mental health, community care, shelter, legal concerns, education, disability benefits, and financial security. The entire report can be downloaded here:
General Findings (p. 9):

  • Women veterans are less likely to have the family support system that married military men generally enjoy.
  • Compared to men who served, women veterans are younger, have a lower median income (or no income), and are more likely to live in poverty and qualify for food stamps.
  • Among homeless or unstably housed veterans, women are more likely to have custody of minor children compared to men.

Findings on Shelter:

  • Women veterans report “couch surfing” (50 percent) and remaining in a violent relationship (43 percent) as a means to maintain a roof over their heads than the alternative of sleeping in their car (30 percent) or on the street (15 percent). (p. 41)
  • Projections provided to the VA homeless program show a 9 percent increase in anticipated demand for homeless services by women veterans between 2015 and 2025 due to their increasing numbers in the overall veteran population. (p. 42)

Findings on Financial Security:

  • Women veterans still had the highest rates of unemployment post-9/11. (p. 43)
  • DOL has noticed a four-year trend showing the highest rates of unemployment for women veterans are for 18- to 54-year-old women currently enrolled in school. In 2016, this group had an 8 percent unemployment rate, higher than both male veterans and women nonveterans. (p. 44)
  • Women veterans are overrepresented in the labor force—they make up 10 percent of veterans and 12 percent of the overall labor force (though much of this may be attributed to the younger age of female veterans compared to male veterans). (p. 45)
  • Thirteen percent of the veterans served by DOL’s Jobs for Veterans State Grant program are women. (p. 45)
  • Women comprise 13 percent of the veterans referred to jobs and 13 percent of those who retain referred jobs after six months. (p. 45)

Findings on Transition:

  • Women and men face similar challenges reintegrating into community and family life after deployments or military service, but women may experience that transition differently than men. Women are transitioning from a male-defined culture of war fighting to a civilian world where cultural expectations cast them as mothers, wives, and family caretakers. Civilians often don’t recognize them as veterans or active-duty military, for instance leaving disparaging notes when women park in spots reserved for military and veterans. (p. 49)

Findings on Education:

  • Like male veterans, but unlike female college students, women veterans are often hesitant to seek out help when they have a problem, whether it concerns mental health or academics. Too many veteran coordinators on campus simply expect veterans to come to them when they need help. (p. 55)

Notable recommendations from the report include:

  • DOL should partner with VA and Veterans Service Organizations to understand the barriers to full employment for women veterans, particularly those in school and those with disabilities, and adjust their employment programs based on these findings. (p. 45)
  • The Transition Assistance Program should collect and publicize outcome and satisfaction data broken down by gender and race. (p 50) [Recommendation is for DOD; DOL not specifically mentioned]


September 2018

By: NVTI Staff Writer

A Google search of best practices for workforce case management returns12.3 million links. On the first page of the results there is a really “to the point” article that is worth sharing.

The organization behind the article is Mi Casa, a Denver, CO-based organization that started in 1976 as a women-focused non-profit and has grown into a significant organization in the Workforce arena. In her article, (, Stephanie Noll (M.S.W.), addresses four aspects of case management and then provides recommendations for each one. The four aspects and related recommendations (recommendations are direct quotes from the article) are:

1.  Service:  Serve others and address their social problems.  Best practice tips:

  • Conduct comprehensive intake interviews with all participants.  Gather information about their background and any challenges they currently face.
  • Write an Individualized Service Strategy (ISS) for each participant.  Identify action steps that will be taken to resolve the barriers.
  • Meet weekly with each participant to monitor progress toward the ISS.
  • Develop relationships with other service providers to create a network of high-quality resources and referrals.

2.  Importance of Human Relationships:  Relationships are primary agents of change.  Best practice tips:

  • Meet weekly with participants to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to them.  Offering regularly scheduled case management meetings not only allows for follow-up on the ISS but also shows participants that they matter to you.
  • Maintain additional regular contact with all participants, even if for a brief check-in.  Drop by the classroom for daily announcements or quick check-ins with participants.
  • Include relationship and communication skill-building activities in the workforce development curriculum. This provides participants with the opportunity to get to know each other and develop a community of support among themselves.

3.  Dignity and Worth of the Person:  Treat each person with respect and honor differences and diversity.  Best practice tips:

  • Involve participants in the development of the ISS.  Case management is most effective when it is a collaborative process between participant and case manager. 
  • Give participants time to tell their own story.  Everyone has a story to tell and they have the right to tell that story in their own way. Sometimes the most powerful aspect of case management is offering people a chance to feel heard.  Listening nonjudgmentally to someone’s story can be the best way to show someone respect and honor their dignity.

 4.    Social Justice: Pursue social change on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice.  Best practice tips:

  • Recognize any differences in identity and life experience that may exist between the case manager and participants.  Be sensitive to differences in levels of power and privilege and how they might impact case management.
  • Provide space for participants to discuss their experiences of discrimination.  Offer empathy for the challenges that participants have faced.  Acknowledge the resilience, determination, and strength they have shown in overcoming challenges throughout their lives.
  • Speak up about social injustice.  Advocate for services, procedures, and laws that are fair and create more equitable access to opportunity for all people.  Attend community events to stay informed about greater social justice efforts.  Inform participants of opportunities to get involved as well.

As you read over these ideas, they are not much different from what you learned in NVTI courses. So, this may be a refresher for some of you and certainly it’s a validation of the material you learned at the Institute.  

Many of these ideas have applicability beyond case management – they are good practices for leaders. Taking an approach to leadership of serving others (called Servant Leadership), building and maintaining good relationships with your staff, respecting your team members (including their differences), and speaking out when values are not honored are actions that good leaders (and team mates) take.

To close on a high note, Noll reports that at the end of the Mi Casa program, participants feel they have received more than expected. What a great ending!



August 2018

Home Depot Foundation Commits $50 Million to Skilled Training; Emphasis on Transitioning Service Members

Home Depot announced a $50 million commitment to train 20,000 tradespeople over the next 10 years in order to fill the growing skilled labor gap. In 2017, The Home Depot Foundation launched a pilot trades training program for members separating from the military in partnership with nonprofit Home Builders Institute (HBI) on Ft. Stewart and Ft. Bragg. The program, which has a job placement rate of more than 90 percent, will now roll out on additional bases across the United States. To learn more, read Home Depot’s announcement here.


Welcoming Military Spouses to LinkedIn’s Military and Veterans Programs

LinkedIn recently announced that they are expanding their military and veterans program to include military spouses through a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program. Through this program, spouses can receive one year of LinkedIn Premium during each of their moves to new installations to help with career transitions, and once again upon conclusion of military service. Read LinkedIn’s announcement here.


Newport News Shipyard Plans to Create 2,000 New Net Jobs over Next Five Years

Newport News Shipbuilding plans to expand its workforce to about 25,000 by creating 2,000 new jobs over the next four years, approximately. Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball will lead a new partnership with the shipyard to aid in the hiring push. It will focus on promoting opportunities at the company via state agencies that deal with employment, veterans, community colleges, and economic development. Read the announcement here.


U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award Of $47,600,000 in Training Grants to Help Homeless Veterans Re-Enter the Workforce

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the award of 163 Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants totaling $47,600,000. This funding will provide workforce reintegration services to more than 18,000 homeless veterans. Funds are being awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards; local public agencies and nonprofit organizations; tribal governments; and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills training, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance. Read the announcement here.


Veteran Opportunities with Holland

Holland, a regional LTL transportation provider, has partnered with the Department of Labor and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a professional truck driver apprenticeship program for veterans. The program offers veterans career training in the trucking industry as they integrate back into civilian life. In addition to paid training, eligible veterans can receive their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill funds while completing the apprenticeship.

In addition to the partnership with the Department of Labor and the VA, Holland has also received grant funds for $40,000 to support the training program. The funds were approved at the end of 2017 when Holland received the Department of Labor Apprenticeship certification. The grant is from FASTPORT, a veteran employment software company with a mission to connect veterans to career opportunities. FASTPORT works with Holland to provide veterans with meaningful careers and to build a pipeline between the military community and the trucking industry.

Information on how to apply for the Holland Veterans program can be found at or by calling 844-617-6410.


After the Army, a New Career in Tech

By Leo Kay

Antonio In The Army

Through hard work and a unique apprenticeship program, Antonio Williams of Louisiana has transitioned from the military to the tech industry after a 22-year career in the U.S. Army as a culinary specialist.

Apprenti is a program of the Washington Technology Industry Association Workforce Institute that addresses the workforce shortage in the tech industry through paid, on-the-job training and education. It began in Washington state and has since expanded nationally through a U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship intermediary contract.

As a first step, Antonio spent 12 weeks in an intensive training program at Honolulu Community College in Hawaii, where he was located at the time he left military service. This “pre-apprenticeship” phase allowed Antonio to learn foundational skills relating to hardware, networking, software deployment, and troubleshooting. He received certifications in A+, Network+, Linux+, and Server+ before being placed as a data center technician apprentice with a technology company in Portland, Oregon.

As an apprentice, he continues to learn and enhance his skills through hands-on work. Antonio’s salary as an apprentice equals about $50,000 annually and he expects to be hired full-time within a year at a salary roughly double his current earnings.

“The program provided a great avenue to change careers after the military,” said Antonio. “I would recommend this program to anyone.”


June 2018
June DOL VETS and VSO Meeting

The monthly meeting between the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) and personnel and leaders from Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) around the country was held at the DOL Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2018.
The meeting began with an overview of the new courses offered by the National Veterans Training Institute (NVTI). Some key highlights from the presentation were:

  1. Fifteen (15) core Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) courses were updated. These courses are required by newly hired Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists and Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER) within 18 months of being hired.
  2. Three legacy courses have been redesigned into five courses, with three prerequisite eLearning courses focusing on pertinent laws, regulations, and significant barriers to employment (SBEs).
  3. The two in-person classes, one for DVOP specialists and one for LVERs, are now competency based. Other topics include Case Management, Managing Case Management, Leadership, Working with Special Populations, Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA) Investigators, and Veteran Benefits.
  4. The primary training location is Dallas, TX, with 26 training locations around the country and opportunities for onsite delivery when requested.
  5. Eligibility has been expanded to Regional Administrator for Veterans’ Employment and Training (RAVETs), Director for Veterans’ Employment and Training (DVETs), American Job Centers, Employment & Training Administration (ETA) grants staff, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Wagner-Peyser Act, as well as competitive grant recipients like the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program.
  6. New courses being developed include Advanced Employer Outreach/Business Services, Grants Management courses for federal staff and newly funded grant recipients, as well as Career Coaching.
  7. A JVSG instructional guide is also being developed for newly hired JVSG staff which will include basic information about JVSG which will serve as a primer before completing courses at NVTI.

The discussion then turned to employment issues associated with military spouses and disabled veterans. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes representatives began the discussion with information about their program to create Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones across various states to address the economic impact of unemployment and underemployment of military spouses. This program grew out of a study conducted by the foundation titled Military Spouses in the Workplace, which found that only 50% of military families polled reported having dual income status. Hiring Our Heroes will be launching this program throughout American cities in 2018. This will be a collaborative effort among the local business, civic, and military communities to establish geographically-focused employment networks to connect military spouses to local career opportunities. Read about the program here.
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) presented next, speaking about their efforts to create a national dialogue regarding licensure for military spouses and their stay at work/return to work program demonstration RETAIN (Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network). RETAIN Demonstration Projects are a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in partnership with DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA)This program demonstration will test the impact of early intervention strategies that improve stay-at-work/return-to-work (SAW/RTW) outcomes of individuals who experience work disability while employed. Read more about this program here.
ODEP also highlighted their Job Accommodation Network (JAN), which provides free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues including accommodating veterans in the workplace.
In addition, ODEP presented on their Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program, a framework for systems change that centers on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life. Issues that this program focuses on include mental health and veterans. Read about the program here.
Finally, ODEP shared two resources that provide information on disability employment and mental health issues. The first,, shares information on state policies, practices, technical assistance initiatives, and outcomes that are focused directly or indirectly on the employment of individuals with disabilities. The second resource, the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC), reports to Congress and federal agencies on issues related to serious mental illness (SMI) and serious emotional disturbance (SED).
The meeting ended with a brief discussion on events and resources from various VSOs:

  • The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) will be hosting a Virtual Career Fair on June 20, 2018 and the Military and Veteran Networking Forum on September 20, 2018 at the National Air and Space museum in Washington, D.C., Click here for more information.
  • The DC Metro Business Leadership Network will be hosting its 7th Annual Wounded Warriors Symposium titled: Building and Maintaining a Culture of Veteran Inclusion on June 27 in Reston, VA. Click here for more information.
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) provides a Guide to Hiring & Retaining Veterans with Disabilities on this website
  • The American Legion convened the Employment Innovations Taskforce in February with the purpose of conducting independent surveys and assessments regarding the efficacy of content currently being delivered through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The group is also seeking to learn what recruitment efforts private sector employers are using to hire transitioning servicemembers now and in the future. Find more information here.

Finally, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be hosting their 5th Annual National Veterans Small Business Week from November 5–9, 2018. Find more information here.
As always, visit and for more employment, transition, training resources, and news.


June 2018

In Part I of Marketing for DVOPS and LVERS, we introduced the concept of marketing and explained how it differs from sales.  We began a market analysis by considering who our customer is and what differentiates one customer from another.   In Part II, we focus on expanding the market analysis around channels of communication and spend some time on the “4 Ps”. 

Once you know your customers and their characteristics, the next step in marketing is to consider how you are going to communicate with your customer.   For most DVOPs, this is relatively straight forward.   Where the DVOP and LVER are in the same location, mostly likely you will talk to each other face-to-face.   Where the DVOP and LVER are not collocated, you will likely use the phone, email, or maybe electronic chat to communicate.

This gets more complicated for LVERs whose customers vary by type of industry, who the contact is (e.g. a human resources person or the company owner/CEO) and the company’s commitment to hiring veterans through the AJC and possible other characteristics that complicate communication including geography, the company’s familiarity with the AJC and the services available, and the number of people the company is hiring on a recurring basis.   Grouping companies with similar characteristics allows the LVER to consider appropriate ways to communicate with the customer.  We suggest you create a matrix to portray the customer and the communication channels that you want to use for each one and how often you plan to communicate with the customer.  An example is at Figure 1.

Figure 1-Sample Customer Communication Matrix

With a communication matrix complete – knowing your customers and knowing how you are going to communicate with each one, we can move on to a discussion about the “4 Ps” - Price, Product, Promotion, and Place.

Pricing:   While it might appear that there is no price related to your “product” (a job ready veteran-client), consider this:  there is a cost for the DVOP to work with the veteran-client and prepare the individual for employment.  You can measure the cost in terms of the number of hours the DVOP spends with the veteran-client, how much money is spent on the veteran-client for training classes, time spent by other AJC staff working to support the veteran-client and the DVOP, as well as the veteran-client’s time.    The LVER does not directly pay the DVOP, but if the veteran-client is not fully job-ready, the LVER will have spent time (money) working with the veteran-client before returning the veteran-client to the DVOP for additional development.  
Likewise, LVER customers look at the cost to hire.   While AJC services are free to the company, the company still must spend time screening and qualifying the candidate.  If candidates are not really job-ready or are not a good match for the job, company culture, etc. then the company spends time and money on a non-viable candidate.  This translates to their cost and to the Pricing of your “product.”
Product:    As a veteran, you know the value that a veteran can bring to any organization.   When you have a job-ready veteran-client who has a top-notch resume, dresses for success, can interview well, and is a close match to a company’s job requirements and culture, no one can beat the “product” you have to offer.   When the DVOP completes their work with the veteran-client and transfers the veteran-client to the LVER in a closely coordinated and well communicated manner, the LVER is best positioned to help the veteran-client take the next steps to employment.   A well-prepared veteran-client allows the LVER to match that veteran-client to a company. 
Promotion:   Because of the way our workforce system works, the DVOP seldom must “promote” their veteran-client to the LVER.   However, there may be circumstances when promotion is still necessary.   An example might be a homeless veteran or a recently incarcerated veteran who was imprisoned for a serious felony.  Between the DVOP, the LVER, and the veteran-client, finding the best way to promote the individual as the veteran-client moves through the workforce system is important and requires a team effort if the process is to end successfully in a sustainable employment opportunity for the veteran-client.

On the other hand, “promotion” is a significant portion of the LVER’s work with hiring organizations.   Not only does the LVER have to promote individual veteran-clients, the LVER must promote the AJC services, the workforce system, and importantly, themselves.   As the spokesperson for the workforce system with hiring organizations, the LVER must look, act, and talk the part to be successful in placing candidates into meaningful jobs.  Giving careful consideration to how to promote all these aspects to prospective employers in a customer-focused, integrated manner will help achieve the ultimate outcome of having veteran-clients become employees in targeted organizations.   LVERs might create a Promotion Matrix such as the one in Figure 2 to help identify the best way to present the veteran-client, AJC, and themselves.

Figure 2-Promotion Matrix

Place:   For DVOP’s “place” is generally easy – it is where the LVER is located.  If the DVOP and LVER are not collocated, the DVOP connects the veteran-client and the LVER by phone, email, or in some other manner.   For LVER’s “place” is generally easy as well – its primarily where the company is located.  It entails bringing the veteran-client to the company.   Other “places” could be job fairs or even the AJC if companies come to these locations to meet the veteran-clients.

In this two-part series we have tried to introduce some marketing concepts as they apply to DVOPs and LVERs.  The tools are as effective as you want to make them, but the tools are all designed to help DVOPs and LVERs successfully match job-ready veteran-clients to hiring organizations.


May 2018

Did you ever think that your job as a DVOP and LVER is all about marketing?   If you said, “yes,” great!  Then this first in a series of articles on marketing will help you frame your thoughts.  If you said, “no,” then we’re going to introduce you to some new ideas that you might find helpful.

Let’s start by differentiating between selling and marketing.  While they are related, they are not the same.  According to the online Business Dictionary,
“marketing is about the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It includes the coordination of four elements called the 4 P's of marketing:

(1) identification, selection and development of a product,
(2) determination of its price,
(3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer's place, and
(4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.

Marketing is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction.”    
The online Business Dictionary goes on to explain selling:
“Marketing differs from selling because (in the words of Harvard Business School's retired professor of marketing Theodore C. Levitt) ’Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariable does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse and satisfy customer needs.’ In other words, marketing has less to do with getting customers to pay for your product as it does developing a demand for that product and fulfilling the customer's needs.”

Effective marketing starts with a clear understanding of the customer – who the customer is, where they are, what they need, what they want, what they will pay for the goods or services and any special customer circumstances.   After this “market analysis” is complete, the “4 P’s” are applied.  The outcome of the analysis and the integration of the “4 P’s” is a marketing plan that explains how you are going to market to your customer.

Let’s start by understanding your customer.   You might think that the veteran-client is your customer.  In many ways, that’s true.   For our purposes though, let’s consider that for DVOPs, your customer is the LVER and their counterpart in American Job Center’s Business Development function.   For the LVER, your customers are the businesses that are willing to hire veterans.  And in terms of our marketing approach, the veteran-client is the “product” you are trying to successfully market. 

With the customer in mind, the next step is to segment your market (customer).   For a DVOP this means understanding that each LVER is different.   The question that a DVOP must answer is, “how are LVERs different?”   The answer depends on the LVER.  For example, experience – some LVERs are more experienced than others.   LVER customers might be a differentiator.  For example, if your AJC has more than one LVER, one might be focused on government jobs, the other on for-profit businesses.  Or maybe one LVER has one geographic region and another LVER has a different region.   Other differentiators might be:  is your customer an LVER or a business development specialist; does your customer have experience as a DVOP; does your customer have experience in the business they are trying to recruit to hire veterans; is your customer located near you (e.g. in your immediate area) or geographically separated?   You can brainstorm other criteria for segmenting your market based on your experience and local circumstances.

For LVERs, segmenting your market means understanding the businesses in your community—are they non-profits, are they for-profits, or are they government organizations?   Are they small, medium, or large organizations?   Are they industrial, manufacturing, research, or service (or any other type) organizations?    Are they hiring?  Is the organization closing?  Is the organization losing/gaining market share?  If they are publicly traded organizations, are their share values increasing or decreasing?    Other criteria might be something you brainstorm with your colleagues.

There are several reasons for segmenting your customers and going through this thoughtful process.  First among the reasons – once you have completed this exercise around your customer, you will begin to better understand who they are and what they need for an effective handoff of your veteran-client from DVOP to LVER or from LVER to employer.  Secondly, having a better understanding of your customer will help you better prepare your veteran-client for the handoff.    Here’s an example.   If your LVER is new in the role, has never been a DVOP, and works in a different AJC that’s 60-100 miles away, then what you need to do with your veteran-client might include a slightly different focus on oral communication (because the conversations between the veteran-client and LVER will be by phone), use of video technology (so the veteran-client and LVER can Skype), and ensuring your veteran-client understands that the turnaround time for communication between the veteran-client and the LVER may take longer than if the LVER was co-located in the cubicle next to yours.   

In this article, Part I, we introduced the concept of marketing and explained how it differs from sales.  We began the market analysis by considering who our customer is and what differentiates one customer from another.   In Part II of Marketing for DVOPs and LVERs, we’ll focus on expanding the market analysis around channels of communication and spend some time on the “4 Ps”. 


May 2018
Secretary's Honor Award


May 2018
Customer Communication

By: NVTI Staff Writer

Each of us has countless occasions throughout the day to communicate with our customer, whether that customer is a client, a family member, a co-worker, or a supervisor. We communicate with our customers face-to-face, on the phone, via a text/email exchange, or maybe via sign language. No matter how we communicate or who we are communicating with, it’s valuable to know how to maximize the communication so that we can achieve our goals – and hopefully those of our customer.
Figure 1-Shannon and Weaver Communication Model

The basic communication model was created in 1948 by Claude Elwood Shannon and Warren Weaver of Bell Laboratories. Today this model is taught in classrooms across America including colleges and universities as well as in leadership development programs. The model starts with the sender – the person who initiates communication. The message then goes through a set of filters (the lightning bolts in Figure 1) which represent the Sender’s view of the world. The message is then accepted by the Receiver through the receiver’s filters, or view of the world. After the Receiver processes the message, they provide feedback. This changes the role of the Receiver to a Sender and the original Sender to a Receiver. Sometimes the feedback is verbal, sometimes it’s nonverbal. In this model, the Sender is responsible for ensuring the message is clear, received, and understood.  

Filters for both the Sender and Receiver vary based on the environment of the communication (private office vs. public gathering area), individual biases, and culture.   Potential filters include:  personality, language, culture, time, perception, interest, experience, emotions, internal distractions, message design, and communication channel. 

Language is particularly important for DVOP specialists and LVERs who have customers from all branches of the military who may use Service-specific terms in their communication. Being sure that both parties understand the meaning of acronyms and Service-specific terms can help improve the communication process – when in doubt, ask what a term means. As you work with your customers, keep in mind that you own the communication process, not your customer.

Professor Albert Mehrabian of the University of California-Los Angeles conducted studies of the way people communicate. From his studies, he concluded that verbal communication includes three components: spoken words, voice and tone, and non-verbal communication (body language). Dr. Mehrabian’s studies led him to believe that 55% of our communication is non-verbal, 38% is voice and tone, and only 7% is spoken words. Practically speaking (pun intended), we have the best chance of successful communication when we are face-to-face with our customers. We not only hear what and how they speak, but we can watch their body language. When we can’t see our customers during the communication process, we only receive 45% of the message - that’s a major filter in the communication process. For example, when you are on the phone with a customer, you can only hear their words and you can get a sense of their voice and tone. This means you must work harder to understand the message you are being sent and that the message you are sending is clearly understood. Asking for feedback, summarizing the conversation as you go, asking for confirmation of your understanding, are all good ways to help ensure the message you sent and the one you received are accurate.

Today, the use of text messages (including emails) grows every day. According to Michael Bentz in an Adobe blog from 25 July 2015, “While the dramatic rise of new communication apps has overtaken SMS, an average of 20 billion text messages are being sent daily this year, translating to 7.3 trillion annually! That’s more than 5.5 million per second!” That’s a lot of communication!  Using Dr Mehrabian’s model, I would suggest that a text or email message is equivalent to the spoken word – or only 7% of the message. Using text/email to communicate with your customer may be easy and fast but crafting the communication so that the full message is understood takes a lot more work than a phone call (which has 45% of the message components included) or face-to-face (with 100% of the message components included).

So, what does this all mean? For DVOP specialists and LVERs, communication with the customer is essential. The best chance of successful communication is face-to-face and the worst chance is using email or text. If you must use text/email, take time to review your email and if it’s a really important communication, test it on someone who can help ensure you crafted a clear message. Seek feedback when you are the Sender and give feedback when you are the Receiver. Remember, only 7% of the communication process is what you say, 93% is how you say it and how your body reacts to the communication.


April 2018
Academic Credit for Military Experience
By: NVTI Staff Writer

 One of the challenges members of the Uniformed Services face is completing a college degree – whether the degree is a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree due to the member’s change of duty station. Some states recognize this challenge and provide college credit for the member’s active duty/reserve/guard experience. Information about this subject is available on the Education Commission of the States (ECUS) website at This article summarizes key information from the ECUS website.

The website provides detailed information about each state’s program for academic credit for military service. There is also a comparison tool where you can quickly see how each state compares to other states in giving academic credit for military experience. This comparison tool is built around four topics and the resulting comparison deals only with that specific topic. The four topics are: 

When you select an individual state profile, you can find more information on whether or not the state has a policy to award academic credit for military experience.

The ECUS web site can be a valuable tool for DVOP specialists who have clients interested in earning a college degree.  We recommend you become familiar with the site before you use it with your clients.


April 2018
Veteran is Firmly Planted in the Working World Again

By Leo Kay on April 11, 2018
Sean McMillen Sean McMillen has taken an unorthodox path in the professional world, with stopovers as a soldier in the U.S. Army, an egg inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and an independent nursery owner. Now – thanks to support from a disabled veterans assistance program – he’s enjoying his most satisfying career yet, working as a grain inspector for a company in Oregon.
A self-described city kid, Sean discovered a passion for gardening in his early twenties when a friend gave him an orchid. After a stint in the Army, Sean decided to open his own farm and nursery outside of Portland, Oregon, where he still lives.
Unfortunately, when business took a downturn, Sean had to close his nursery and seek a new career path. By his estimate, he was about six months away from homelessness, with no viable job prospects in sight. He also suffered from the effects of a back injury he incurred during an Army exercise.
That’s when he reached out to a program in Portland, supported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, that helps disabled veterans reintegrate into the civilian workforce. He credits the staff with helping him tighten up his resume, navigate the job search process, and, perhaps most importantly, “get motivated again.”
Within a few months, a large company that was opening its first office in his area offered Sean a position as a certified grain inspector, and he accepted. On any given day at his new job, he travels around the Pacific Northwest to collect samples for certification from a grain silo in Yakima, Washington, or even a tanker in Seattle Harbor with a load of wheat bound for international markets. 
He regularly refers other veterans to the program that helped him get back on his feet. “I don’t think a lot of people know these programs are out there,” Sean said.
Veterans can visit or call 1-877-872-5627 to learn about the employment services available near them, including one-on-one assistance at an American Job Center.
Leo Kay is the regional public affairs director for the Labor Department in San Francisco.


April 2018
Employment Situation of Veterans – 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their 2017 Employment Situation of Veterans on March 22, 2018. The numbers for last year were positive – a 3.7 percent unemployment rate in 2017, down from 4.3 percent in 2016. This is the lowest veteran unemployment rate in 17 years. Some key highlights from the report were:

  1. The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans edged down to 4.5 percent in 2017. The jobless rate for all veterans declined to 3.7 percent.
  2. The unemployment rate for male veterans fell to 3.6 percent in 2017, and the rate for female veterans changed little at 4.1 percent.
  3. Among the 370,000 unemployed veterans in 2017, 59 percent were age 25 to 54. About 37 percent were age 55 and over and 4 percent were age 18 to 24.
  4. The unemployment rate of veterans varied across the country, ranging from 1.7 percent in Maine and Vermont to 7.3 percent in Rhode Island.

To access the news release which includes the tabulated data, click here.


April 2018
March DOL VETS and VSO Meeting

The monthly meeting between U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) and personnel and leaders from Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) around the country was held at the DOL Headquarters in Washington D.C. on March 30, 2018.
The meeting primarily focused on the 2017 Employment Situation of Veterans report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released on March 22, 2018. The numbers for last year were positive – the lowest veteran unemployment rate in 17 years. Some key highlights from the report were:

  • The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans edged down to 4.5 percent in 2017. The jobless rate for all veterans declined to 3.7 percent.
  • The unemployment rate for male veterans fell to 3.6 percent in 2017, and the rate for female veterans changed little at 4.1 percent.
  • Among the 370,000 unemployed veterans in 2017, 59 percent were age 25 to 54. About 37 percent were age 55 and over and 4 percent were age 18 to 24.
  • The unemployment rate of veterans varied across the country, ranging from 1.7 percent in Maine and Vermont to 7.3 percent in Rhode Island.

To access the news release which includes the tabulated data, click here.
The meeting ended with a brief discussion on services and resources from various VSOs:

  • The DC Metro Business Leadership Network will be hosting its 7th Annual Wounded Warriors Symposium entitled: Building and Maintaining a Culture of Veteran Inclusion on June 27th in Reston, VA. Click here for more information.
  • The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) will be hosting a Military and Veteran Networking Forum on September 20, 2018 at the National Air and Space museum in Washington DC. Click here for more information.
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) will be hosting 150 career fairs, 24 of which will be virtual. Click here for more information. In addition, DAV posted a guide on hiring and retaining disabled veterans which can be found here.

As always, visit and for more employment, transition, and training resources, and news.


March 2018
IVMF – Entrepreneurship Programs, Part II

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) was established in 2011 at Syracuse University in New York with its founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. Since its inception, IVMF programs have grown to meet the needs of transitioning service members, veterans, and family members of both groups. There are 12 IVMF programs for entrepreneurship. In this article we’ll focus on entrepreneurship programs that have special eligibility requirements.

IVMF’s entrepreneurship programs are designed to help veterans, transitioning service members, and spouses start their own business. For some of the programs, enrollees must meet eligibility requirements. The first one is the Boots to Business (B2B) program. This program was designed in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration to assist those interested in exploring business ownership or other self-employment opportunities. B2B is a two-day program open to transitioning service members, including Guardsmen and Reservists and their family members, that is offered worldwide. After the two-day program, participants can enroll in follow-on classes. Check out this website for more information:

The second program is the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV), which teaches the steps and stages of creating a business, with a tailored emphasis on the unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a veteran business owner. EBV is open to post 9-11 veterans. Other veterans can enroll, and IVMF will refer them to other similar programs. EBV is an intensive program that starts with a 30-day online session. Then there is a 9-day residential program with 12 months of post-program support. The residential program is offered at ten partner universities across the nation. During the residential portion, all costs are covered including materials, travel, food, and lodging. During the 12-month follow-up period, attendees can access over 36 different partners – everything from financial management to marketing to mentors aimed at small businesses. There is also a specialized version of EBV for veterans’ family members or caregivers that operates in the same way as the traditional EBV. Information on both programs can be found at

The third program is the EBV Growth Track. This recently launched program is a three-phase program that gives veterans with a successful business the tools and coaching to propel their business to the next phase: sustainable growth. Topics include acquiring growth funding, rebranding for expansion, determining a sustainable growth rate, partnerships, managing cash flow, and much more. Veterans of any era who have been in business for three years and have five employees are eligible to apply.

The last program, targeted for women veterans, active duty women, and women spouses, is called V-WISE - Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. The V-WISE online program is 15 days and the residential program is three days. IVMF pays for lodging for the attendees. The follow-on portion is similar to EBV. An introductory program is also offered called V-WISE IGNITE. This one-day conference covers the basics of starting a business and is held in various locations across the country. Information about both programs is at:

DVOP specialists can help their clients tap into these resources when a client is interested in starting a business. Having a working knowledge of all the IVMF programs and events will provide DVOP specialists with valuable resources. You can find more information about IVMF at


March 2018
IVMF – Entrepreneurship Programs, Part I

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) was established in 2011 at Syracuse University in New York with its founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co.  Since its inception, IVMF programs have grown to meet the needs of transitioning service members, veterans, and family members of both groups.  There are 10 IVMF programs for entrepreneurship.  In this article we’ll focus only on those that are open to anyone, while the next article in this series will focus on programs that have special eligibility requirements.

IVMF’s entrepreneurship programs are designed to help veterans, transitioning service members, and spouses start and grow their own business. According to Misty Stutsman, IVMF’s Director, Entrepreneurship & Small Business, “there are nearly a dozen IVMF programs designed to help individuals start their own business and with more than 76,000 individuals having participated in one or more programs.”  

VETNET is an IVMF program that is available to free to anyone. Through VETNET, IVMF offers a series of webinars about careers after military service. Topics range from search techniques, marketing, project management, accounting, research, personal branding, and much more. You can find VETNET at

A second free IVMF resource open to anyone is called the “Center of Excellence for Veteran Entrepreneurship.” According to the Center’s web site, it serves as a resource database to “collect, organize, and share knowledge, resources, and networks to advance entrepreneurial opportunities for transitioning service members, veterans, and their families.” The database is organized into four “buckets.” In the first bucket, users can find information tailored to veterans who are interested in starting or evolving their own business. The second bucket is a storehouse of academic research related to entrepreneurship for veterans, transitioning services members, and their families. Training programs are the third bucket – a resource of academic and other training focused on entrepreneurship including college level courses and degrees. The final bucket provides information about corporations who are interested in working with veterans for whom the Center will serve as a bridge between stakeholders and networks. The Center’s web site is:

The final program is IVMF’s Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB), with founding partner First Data. This is a network of Fortune 500 companies who are interested in having more veterans within their supply chains. While this resource is free, it does require registration. Through CVOB, veterans and military spouse business owners can connect with a coalition of industry leaders committed to providing innovative solutions, thought leadership, webinars, original publications, networking, and matchmaking events.  Information on CVOB is available at

The remaining IVMF programs require enrollment and enrollees must meet specific eligibility requirements. We’ll cover those in the next article.

DVOP specialists can tap into these IVMF offerings and explore what is available for their clients. Since the programs covered in this article are open to anyone, DVOP specialists and their clients can benefit from exploring the IVMF offerings. Having a working knowledge of all the IVMF programs and events will provide DVOP specialists with valuable resources. You can find more information about IVMF at


February 2018
IVMF – Career Preparation and Employment and AmericaServes

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) was established in 2011 at Syracuse University in New York with its founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co.  Since its inception, IVMF programs have grown to meet the needs of transitioning service members, veterans, and family members of both groups.  This article focuses on two IVMF programs: the career preparation and employment program called Onward to Opportunity- Veterans Career Transition Program (O2O-VCTP) and the community services program called “AmericaServes.”

Career Preparation and Employment
IVMF’s career preparation and employment program is called Onward to Opportunity - Veterans Career Transition Program (O2O-VCTP) andis very similar to the work that DVOP specialists and LVERs do to prepare clients for employment and then match clients to companies that hire veterans. The program has a local presence in 14 military communities, but individuals can enroll from anywhere and the program is also available online nationwide for convenience. The program, supported by lead funders JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Schultz Family Foundation, offers free exams and professional certifications for in-demand industry programs. For example, O2O-VCTP offers certification for project management and the Project Management Institute’s exam. According to Beth Kubala, IVMF Senior Director for Programs and Services, “upon enrollment, a client goes through an intake process to determine what certification meets the client’s need while maintaining a focus on employment.” Once the client enrolls, IVMF staff are available to coach and encourage clients to complete training and certification, after which Hire Heroes USA takes over and works to place the individual with an employer. Program graduates can also take advantage of a host of post-program support offerings. 

According to Ms. Kubala, who is herself a retired Army officer, AmericaServes was designed to “help veterans with the challenge of navigating across multiple organizations in local communities that provide services to veterans and their family members.” The IVMF partners with local service organizations to create a collaborative network of providers using the latest information technology. AmericaServes makes seeking services as easy as one-stop shopping.  Each organization completes a profile of their services which is entered into the referral management system. Clients can contact a central referral management office or work with one of the network providers.  In either case, referral specialists – typically social workers – assess the client’s needs during an intake process and then quickly matches the client to a service provider or providers. A referral is electronically generated and sent to the designated service provider outlining the client’s needs. A client may need the services of several organizations and the referral specialist works with the client to be sure the client receives the needed services. AmericaServes is currently in 16 communities across the United States. Ms. Kubala said the IVMF is planning to expand to other communities as the need grows. The benefit of a nationally-connected service organization supported by technology is vital to ensuring veterans can access the services and help they need quickly and efficiently from wherever they are. 

DVOP specialists can tap into IVMF offerings for their clients by having clients enroll in appropriate IVMF programs. Having a working knowledge of all the IVMF programs and events will provide DVOP specialists with valuable resources. While LVERs cannot tap into IVMF’s employer network directly, having job-ready clients enroll with IVMF through O2O-VCTP allows the clients to access more than 500 employers through IVMF’s partnership with Hire Heroes USA. You can find more information about IVMF at The next article in this series will explore IVMF’s research program.


February 2018

Editor's note: This story was adapted from a post by the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Department.

Marine Corps veteran Gregory Lincoln was 59 when word came down that his IT specialist position was being eliminated. Gregory had more than 20 years of professional experience in IT and education-related fields, as well as degrees in business administration, criminal justice, and information technology. Unemployment was devastating.

"My family was facing our darkest moment ever and we had no hope," Gregory says. "My wife and I just bought a home. I didn’t know where to turn."

That changed when his local veterans’ center referred him to the High Desert America’s Job Center of California in Victorville. The support, encouragement, and guidance he received from his "angel crew," as he calls them, put him on the path to success.

"I’d started thinking something was wrong with me. I was on the verge of losing my home and no jobs were coming in," he says. "They came in and boosted my confidence when it was at its lowest level."


February 2018

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) was established in 2011 at Syracuse University in New York with its founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co.  According to Maureen Casey, IVMF’s Chief Operating Officer, “being associated with the university allows IVMF to take advantage of all the campus resources.” This benefits IVMF and its customers, because IVMF staff can reach across the University for highly qualified advice and assistance.

This article provides an overview of IVMF and is the first in a series of articles which will explore in more detail the four major IVMF programs: Career Preparation and Employment, Entrepreneurship & Small Business, Community Support, and Research. As we review each program, we will highlight ways DVOP specialists and LVERs can tap into IVMF to help clients.


IVMF serves transitioning service members, veterans, and family members of both groups. All of IVMF’s services and programs are offered to these groups for free. Since 2011, IVMF has served more than 90,000 customers. In its efforts to maintain and grow its free programs, IVMF depends on many sources for financial support. Some of these include government grants, non-profit foundation grants, corporate philanthropy, and individual donors.  

To bring the highest quality programs to its customers, IVMF partners with federal, state, and local governments; the Uniformed Services; private and non-profit organizations; and countless veteran service organizations. By coordinating the work of many organizations, IVMF can do more for the thousands of customers it serves every year.

The four major IVMF programs provide a variety of services and support to transitioning service members, veterans, and family members.

  • Career Preparation and Employment:  IVMF offers a career skills program that provides civilian career training, professional certifications, and job placement support to transitioning service members, members of the Reserves or National Guard, veterans, and military spouses. 
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business: In addition to the Boots to Business program, IVMF offers many programs targeted at helping veterans decide if they want to start their own business as well as programs designed to help customers be successful as entrepreneurs.
  • Community Support: In 14 communities across the U.S., IVMF partners with other organizations to help veterans, transitioning service members, and their families access and navigate resources to meet their individual or family needs quicker and more efficiently by using a technology-based referral platform.
  • Research: The Institute has assembled a multidisciplinary team of social scientists, applied research and evaluation methodologists, subject matter experts, and world-class institutional partners spanning the Syracuse University campus and beyond.  This team conducts actionable research into and evaluation of a variety of programs related to IVMF’s customers.

DVOP specialists can tap into IVMF programs for their clients by having clients enroll in appropriate IVMF programs. Having a working knowledge of all the IVMF programs and events will provide DVOP specialists with valuable resources. While LVERs cannot tap into IVMF’s employer network directly, having job-ready clients enroll with IVMF allows the clients to access more than 500 employers through its proprietary partnership with Hire Heroes USA. You can find more information about IVMF at The next article in this series will explore the Career Preparation and Employment program.


February 2018
Wisconsin Job Centers Help Employers Recruit Veteran Talent

Marcus Perez faced a common challenge among veterans when he left the US Army in 2014, translating his military experience and education to a successful civilian career. Despite using the Army’s career transition resources and studying resume writing resources, he was unable to land an interview.
Perez had the good fortune of leaving the service from Ft. McCoy, the only base in his home state of Wisconsin. There, he was referred to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Office of Veteran Employment Services – Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program in Lacrosse.
Using OVES’ statewide network, Perez quickly connected with DVOPs in northern Wisconsin where staff helped him select a target career field, tailor his resume and directly connect with employers that were actively seeking his expertise, including West Corporation where he accepted an offer and remains working as the Director of Human Resources.
"Connecting with the Office of Veterans Employment Services was a blessing that most veterans aren’t fortunate enough to have so early in their transition,” said Perez. "All veterans need to visit their Wisconsin Job Center for program assistance. It's such a game changer."



February 2018
February DOL VETS and VSO Meeting

The monthly meeting between the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) and personnel and leaders from Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) around the country was held at the DOL Headquarters in Washington D.C. on February 2, 2018.
The meeting began with a brief overview of the HIRE Vets Medallion Program, where businesses will be recognized for recruiting, retaining, and employing veterans, as well as offering charitable services in support of the veteran community. The Program Demonstration kicked off on February 2, and will allow DOL VETS to initially run applications, raise awareness of the Program, and enable more employers to prepare to successfully garner recognition when the Program launches in 2019. This demonstration will use the same criteria the HIRE Vets Medallion Program will use in 2019.
The meeting then turned to priorities for the year and highlighting efforts in supporting the veteran community. Priorities focused mainly on transitioning service members, homeless veterans, and women veterans. Here are specific priorities from the different VSOs:

  • Vietnam Veterans of America will be focusing on veterans with toxic exposure, homeless veterans, veterans with PTSD and substance abuse, women veterans, veterans in the justice system, minority veterans, and will also advocate for veterans starting their own businesses
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America will be focusing on veterans’ healthcare and partnering with disability advocacy groups
  • Legion will be focusing on homeless veterans, veterans’ small businesses, and transition services for women veterans
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars will be focusing on apprenticeship, homeless veterans, and the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
  • The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States will be focusing on data sharing between Veterans Affairs, DoD, Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Department of Labor
  • The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) will be focusing on protecting healthcare and retirement benefits and military pay compatibility with the private sector
  • Disabled Army Veterans will be focusing on TAP, women veterans, and the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program
  • AmeriCorps will be focusing on connecting veterans with AmeriCorps and an apprenticeship program
  • Easter Seals will be focusing on homeless veterans
  • SBA will be focusing on their Veterans Business Outreach Center and Boots to Business training
  • Troops to Education is focused on helping veterans become teachers and teaching support positions and expanding programs to include spouses
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will be focusing on women veterans, suicide prevention, mental health, TAP, and GI Bill funding for entrepreneurs

Here’s a brief roundup of services and resources shared at this month’s meeting:

  • DOL VETS piloted a revised Career Technical Training Track program in Norfolk, Virginia, which will be rolled out in May. This course will help transitioning service members answer the question “What do I want to do and how do I get there?” It allows transitioning service members to conduct their own personal career exploration (matching interests, aptitude, and values), then research and chart a course to attain the necessary credentials to successfully attain that career. 
  • Vietnam Veterans of America will be holding the Veteran Small Business Forum on April 11, 2018. Find out more here.
  • The Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach presented their 2017 Final Report, which included recommendations on ensuring quality employment for veterans after military service. The report focuses on three specific areas: barriers to employment for veterans, transition and training resources, and direct services for veterans and employers. The report will be available soon here.
  • The Military Officers Association of America will be holding career fairs throughout 2018 which are open to all who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Military, and their spouses. Find more information below:
  • Disabled Army Veterans will be holding national employment fairs and conventions. Find more information here.
  • SBA will be holding its National Small Business Week from April 29 to May 5, 2018. Find more information here. Look out for the 2018 Veterans Small Business Week.

As always, visit and for more employment, transition, and training resources, and news.


February 2018

This article focuses on several resources that are of interest to LVERs.  Some of the resources in this article may be specific to a state or region.

Using the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to find Veteran Owned Businesses: The VA has a formal certification process for two designations – Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB). As a result of the certification process, the VA maintains a sizable database of veteran businesses. Anyone can use the database to find veteran businesses without registering with the VA. The web site is Users can scroll down to the search function and enter a state or other criterion to get a list of veteran businesses that meet their criteria. One of the search criterion is “NAICS”. NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System. These are a series of codes that industry and Government use to identify the capabilities that a company can provide. LVERs can use the NAICS search to find a specific type of company in the local area which can increase chances of matching a client’s skill set to a possible employer. NAICS can be found at  

Chambers of Commerce: Chambers of Commerce exist in almost any community across the country. Chambers of Commerce maintain a list of member companies and individuals and you can use this list to match clients to company needs. In addition, in larger communities, there may be more than one Chamber of Commerce. For example, in Denver CO and Washington DC (and elsewhere), there is a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that deals primarily with Hispanic-owned businesses. These sector Chambers can be a source of good leads for LVERs.

American Job Center (AJC): Don’t forget that your AJC has access to company profiles. Information may come from companies who advertise openings through your AJC, as well as from local, regional and state economic development organizations.   Where an AJC is co-located with other social service organizations, those organizations may have their own company databases. 

Non-Profits: Non-profits offer a source for matching clients to employers. In larger communities, there may be an association of non-profits. This association, like the Chamber of Commerce, maintains a list of their members and sometimes non-member non-profits. Working with the association can provide LVERs with opportunities to find meaningful employment for clients.

LinkedIn:  LinkedIn is a good source of company information. You can search “Company XXX” and replace XXX with your locality and a list of companies will be generated.

Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) and Veteran Support Organizations: Many veteran-focused organizations maintain job boards for their members or for the public.  These job boards can be a source of company information, as most VSOs also allow companies to post vacancy announcements on the VSO job board. 

State Attorney General’s Office: Each state requires businesses to register with the state – typically with the State Attorney General’s office. LVERs may be able to access the resulting database to obtain a list of companies in the local area.

Tax Records:  While this can vary from state to state, most states maintain public tax records by county. LVERs can access the tax record database to identify companies in the local area.

Company Licenses: Governments at the state, county or local level may require a company to have a license to operate. The resulting database (normally a publicly accessible website) can be an excellent source of information for LVERs. 


February 2018

While our articles normally cover a single topic, this article covers a number of short items of interest:

Improving Service Delivery at American Job Centers: Check out three articles on the Department of Labor’s WIOA web site that deal with enhancing services across the AJC:  Enhanced Intake for All American Job Center Customers: A Functionally-Aligned Model; Organizing American Job Centers into Networks for the Delivery of Public Workforce Services; and Moving Toward Integrated Job Seeker Services: Collaboration Among American Job Center Programs

2018 Forum-National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB): Registration is open for the March 24-27, 2018 NAWB meeting in Washington D.C.

Analytics Training Program:   SAS, a company focused on analytics, has partnered with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families to offer analytics training to veterans and their families.  

Beginning in January 2018, the IVMF will offer two free SAS programming courses at 14 military installations around the US and also online. Participants can receive vouchers to sit for SAS Certification exams for free, redeemable at any Pearson Vue testing center.

National Resource Directory: The National Resource Directory is a resource website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers to programs and services that support them.  Major categories of resources on their web site include:  American Red Cross; Benefits & Compensation; Community of Care; Education & Training;   Employment; Family & Caregiver Support; Health; Homeless Assistance; Housing; Military Adaptive Sports Program; Other Services & Resources; Transportation & Travel

Arizona State University (ASU) – Global Freshman Academy:   ASU, one of three State of Arizona public universities, has announced a new, innovative way for students to complete their first year of college called the Global Freshman Academy (GFA).  The GFA offers the entire freshman year online.   According to the ASU web site, there is no requirement for a transcript or an application, and students can begin immediately.  The best part of GFA is that students pay $600 per course only after the student is happy with their grade and can retake the class to improve their grade if the student is not happy with the grade they earned.  According to GFA (ASU) staff, veterans can enroll in GFA classes, but cannot use GI Bill (VA education) benefits to pay the $600 course fee.


January 2018

The US Department of Veterans Affairs sponsors six national veteran events which are designed to help veterans with rehabilitation efforts and provide a national competition around sports and creative arts. The six events are:  The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic; the National Disabled Veterans Tee Tournament, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the National Summer Sports Clinic, the National Veterans Golden Age Games, and the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.

DVOP specialists may have an interest in these events. Some of the veterans you serve might benefit from participating in one of the events in terms of overcoming or mitigating any disability they might have.  VA’s web site ( emphasizes the value of the events to veterans. The web page reads, “Your courage, your determination and your drive all led you to serve America proudly. Those same characteristics will also lead to satisfaction and success in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans of all ages and abilities report better health, new friendships and a better quality of life when participating in adaptive sports. Disabled Veterans who are physically active simply have more fun! To get started, take some time to review the many sports opportunities available to you by reaching out to your VA clinical team and checking out this website.”  

Participation in the events is generally managed through a VA medical facility and the veteran’s health care provider team. Networking with your local or nearby VA medical facility can help you connect your veteran-client with the appropriate VA person. In addition, VA has grants to assist “members of the Armed Forces (ASG Program) provides grant funding to organizations to increase and expand the quantity and quality of adaptive sport activities disabled Veterans and members of the Armed Forces have to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sport programs at the regional and national levels.” 

While the six events are each held in a specific locality in the US, participants come from across the US. In 2018, the six events will be held in the following locations:

Winter Sports Clinic: Snowmass, CO, April 1-7, 2018.  Applications close on December 15, 2017, so it may be too late to register for this coming year. However, like the other five national programs, this is an annual event and you should make a note on your 2018 calendar to check on the Clinic in August 2018.

Wheelchair Games: Orlando, FL, Jul 30-Aug 4, 2018. Registration runs from January 1- April 15, 2018.

Golden Age Games:   Albuquerque, NM, August 3-8, 2018. Registration runs from April 2-May 2, 2018. 

Tee Tournament (golf and bowling): Iowa City, IA, September 10-14, 2018. Registration is from December 1, 2017- April 1, 2018

Summer Sports Clinic:  San Diego, CA, September 16-21, 2018. Registration is November 1, 2017-April 1, 2018. 

Creative Arts Festival: Des Moines, IA, October 29-November 4, 2018. This competition includes 51 categories in the visual arts division that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 100 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing:  Unlike the other national programs, individuals compete locally before they apply to the National event. The deadline for national submissions is March 23, 2018.

All the programs, except the Winter Clinic, typically move from city to city each year and are hosted by a VA medical facility. Community volunteers are almost always needed.  As a DVOP specialist, not only can you volunteer, but you can also find participants who can benefit from your assistance. 

While large employers help sponsor most events, local businesses may be involved in a host of ways from being volunteers to providing food to participants. As an LVER, you can find businesses at these events who want to hire veterans and have demonstrated a commitment to the veteran community.  

Information about all the programs, including a one-page colorful flyer, is available at:


January 2018

This article focuses on several resources that are of interest to DVOP specialists and LVERs. Some of the resources in this article may be specific to a state or region.

ETHOS:  Effectively Treating Our Heroes, Our Survivors
Singer Connie Francis created ETHOS to focus on medical attention, support experts on PTSD, transitional care and family counseling. This organization is not yet operating, but keep checking their website for more information. ( 

Civic Digital Fellowship 
This organization supports training for individuals interested in working for the Federal Government in the technology area. The fellowship includes a $3,300 stipend, free housing, and transportation to/from Washington DC. According to information on the organization’s web site, fellows have the opportunity to network with leaders in government and technology, and to participate in field trips. Past site visits include the United States Digital Service and the White House. Fellows also work one-on-one with a mentor to develop individual skills. Program mentors have both private and public-sector experience, and have created incredible technology-driven products. The 2018 Fellow application process has closed. DVOP specialists are encouraged to check this web site and look forward to the 2019 application cycle. (

Veteran EDGE-Engage, Develop, Grow, Elevate Veteran EDGE is a conference for entrepreneurs, including veterans and military spouses, sponsored by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. The Veteran EDGE Conference will take place February 16-18, 2018 in Austin, TX. This first-of-its-kind event is dedicated solely to veteran and military spouse business owners and the ecosystem that supports them. During this three-day conference and training event, stakeholders, IVMF program graduates, and veteran and military spouse-owned businesses from around the country will gather to network and learn about the latest opportunities, best practices, and resources available to their growing companies.  There are only 150 spaces and applications are still being accepted. (   

Centurion Military Alliance
This organization is focused on transitioning service members and their spouses. CMA advertises itself as a high-touch organization. CMA hosts community based military-to-civilian workshops designed to assist transitioning service members, veterans and spouses. Here are the dates for 2018 workshops:

  • January 25th in Roundrock, TX
  • February 22nd in San Antonio, TX,
  • April 5th in Columbus, GA
  • April 26th in Roundrock, TX
  • May 3rd in Colorado Springs, CO
  • May 24th in San Antonio, TX
  • June 7th in El Paso, TX
  • July 26th in San Antonio, TX
  • August 23rd in Roundrock, TX


Craneology Inc
Craneology, Inc. is a "Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business", whose main objective is to provide both the private and public sectors with comprehensive crane operator and rigger training and certification. Craneology, Inc. achieves this objective through its team of expert trainers from the various fields within the Crane and Rigging Industry. While courses have registration fees as do certification exams, this company provides training that can lead to meaningful employment. (

This Rockville MD company provides IT, Technical, Management, and Human Capital training. In addition, ASM participates in a spouse’s program that provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance to eligible military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or Associate’s degree in a portable career field or occupation. (


January 2018

In 2017, VETS created a program to recognize employers who hire veterans under the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Veterans Act, or HIRE Vets Act, signed into law on May 5, 2017. The program is called the “HIRE Vets Medallion Program.” This program is of interest to LVERs as a way to recognize employer partners.

The official kick-off of the program occurred during the November Veterans Day celebration at DOL. The program is designed to recognize employers who recruit, employ, and retain veterans. Figure 1 outlines the award criteria.



Starting January 31, 2018, VETS will accept applications for the program demonstration. VETS is accepting a total of up to 300 applications and the applications must be received by VETS by April 30, 2018. Winners will be notified by the middle of October 2018 and announced in conjunction with Veterans Day in November 2018. There is an application fee (required by law):

  • $90 for small employers (50 or fewer employees)
  • $190 for medium employers (51-499 employees)
  • $495 for large employers (500 or more employees)

There are two levels of awards: Gold and Platinum. Winners receive a certificate stating the year for which it was awarded and a digital image of the medallion to use, including as part of an advertisement, solicitation, business activity, or product. Award recipients may use the medallion in the marketing of their firm as a veteran-friendly business when hiring, and in efforts to attract additional business.

LVERS (and other American Job Center Staff) should promote this awards program to employers as another way for them to be recognized for their support of veterans. Details about the program can be found at This web site also has a wealth of information about how employers can create an effective veteran-focused program. LVERs can find the tools and handouts to provide companies who have an interest in the Award as well as starting a veteran-focused program.


January 2018
Vet Lands Dream Job as a Pediatric Nurse

By Rhonda Burke
Army veteran Keith Westler is fulfilling a lifelong career goal by working as a pediatric nurse at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks to the assistance of professional staff from the Department of Labor, American Job Centers, and the Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program, he reached his career goals when his previous career came to an unexpected end.

Four years ago, an injury sustained while working as a juvenile corrections officer left Keith unable to continue in that position. With a wife and three children to support, Keith turned to his local American Job Center, where he discovered he was eligible to apply to the Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program. The program made it possible for him to enroll in college courses that would help him gain new skills for employment.

He had always been interested in nursing, but the need to support his family had been a barrier to starting college when he was younger, so instead he enlisted in the Army.

At 40 years old, Keith began his first college course at Ashland University. As he was completing the program last spring, he returned to the American Job Center. He was connected with Disabled Veteran Outreach Program counselor Daniel Lipps, who helped Keith hone his interviewing skills, refine his resume, and land his dream job: He began working at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in October 2017.

“I never gave up my dream of working in pediatric nursing, it was just delayed,” Keith said. “I wasn’t aware of the benefits of a program like Voc Rehab until the job center told me about it. Now, I am the program’s biggest advocate.”

Keith loves his new job, and the starting wage of more than $25 an hour with benefits enables him to support his family. “I am so happy to go to work every day,” he said. “This is the job I was meant to do. I would encourage all veterans to visit the American Job Centers to discover what opportunities are available to them.”

Veterans can receive one-on-one assistance at American Job Centers across the country. Visit for more information or call 1-877-872-5627 to find your local center.

Rhonda Burke is a public affairs specialist for the Labor Department in Chicago.


January 2018
Two Recent Veteran's Program Letters Worth Noting

DOL Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) recently issued two Veteran’s Program Letters (VPL) that are worth noting.

First, VPL 01-18, Exception for Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) Local Veterans’ Employment Representative Duty Roles (LVER), issued on 11 October 2017, discusses when an LVER can provide direct, individualized services to veterans. The VPL authorizes LVERs to temporarily provide these services when there is a Federally Declared Major Disaster Area (a disaster area where assistance is authorized by the President). When there is a Federally Declared Major Disaster Area, VETS will notify states through VETS State Directors that LVERs can provide direct, individualized services for 120 days. Extensions to the 120-day period can be approved by the Assistant Secretary for VETS.   

Keep in mind that under federal law, LVERs who provide direct, individualized assistance (even in a Federally Declared Major Disaster Area) must complete the same training required of a DVOP specialist within 18 months of when the LVER provides direct, individualized assistance. Training is available through the National Veterans Training Institute.  

Second, VPL 04-17, Change 1, National Veterans Training Institute Non-Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) Staff Attendance Guidelines, also issued on 11 October 2017) provides guidance on attendance at NVTI for individuals who are not funded by JVSG grants. Two take-aways from this VPL are:

  1. Non-JVSG personnel who are funded by a US Department of Labor grant can attend NVTI when space is available. In this case NVTI will coordinate and pay for the attendee as if they were JVSG-funded personnel. These individuals are given priority for any course with available seats.
  2. Individuals who are not funded by a US Department of Labor grant can attend NVTI on a space available basis and only with approval by VETS. Travel arrangements and costs for these individuals are the responsibility of the attendee and their organization.

Both VPLs are valid through September 2020.


January 2018
Vet Helps Others Transition to Civilian Jobs

By Leo Kay
After 4 ½ years in the Army, Andres Mendoza advanced to staff sergeant. He emerged from two tours in Afghanistan with a positive attitude and a deep appreciation for those he served with.

Yet, Andres felt that the skills he gained during his seven years in the military didn’t seamlessly translate to the civilian world. 

He spent several months filling out applications − and receiving rejection letters − for a variety of jobs after he was honorably discharged.
“It was like being 18 again at 26,” he recalled. Andres said he likes to consider himself self-sufficient and didn’t think he needed anyone’s help moving forward in his career as a civilian. 

One day his wife ran across a Facebook page that announced an upcoming job fair in Victorville, California, where they now live.
He was hired on the spot for a job loading and unloading trucks at a nearby warehouse. He also met a representative from the High Desert America’s Job Center of California – opening a door to opportunities down the road.
Andres soon began to feel called to help other veterans assimilate to the civilian workplace after leaving service, so he enrolled in a bachelor’s program for social work at Brandon University while working at the warehouse. After receiving several invitations, he also decided to meet with a disabled veteran outreach program specialist at the High Desert center. 

In fact, the job center hired Andres as part of a work/study program and strongly encouraged him to apply for any upcoming disabled veteran outreach specialist positions. An opportunity opened up about a year and a half later, and Andres landed the job.

As someone who has been in the trenches, he has compassion for his former fellow service members and feels he’s uniquely qualified to help in their transition back into the civilian world.

He credits their adaptability and willingness to take instructions as being huge assets when employers are looking to hire. “That’s the perfect recipe for success in the workforce,” he said.

Andres will graduate in May and plans to apply for a master’s program to continue his social work studies. 
In the meantime, Andres now loves going to work every day “helping veterans overcome their barriers to employment.”
“I want to provide others the opportunity that was provided me,” he said. “The system works. I just point to my own story as proof.”


January 2018
LinkedIn Veterans Mentoring Network

Before we get to the LinkedIn Veteran’s Mentoring Network, we want to wish you a Happy New Year and extend a heartfelt thanks to DVOP specialists, LVERs, ADVETs, DVETS, VPA, DRAVETS, RAVETS, the National Office VETS staff, your colleagues from the Wagner-Peyser side of the house, the staff from other DOL offices like the Employment and Training Administration, and the NVTI instructors. Thank you for what you do every day to help veterans, active duty members, and eligible spouses find meaningful work. For some of our veterans, that means the end of homelessness or a successful transition from incarceration to getting back on their feet and, in many cases, saving their families from separation or divorce. Occasionally, you may have even saved someone’s life. So, many heartfelt thanks for what you do every day to help our fellow veterans, family members, and transitioning service members find success in life.

As we move into 2018, the daily challenges won’t get easier. But there are many resources that can help you be successful in finding meaningful employment for your Jobs for Veterans State Grant (JVSG) client. 

One source to help you is a LinkedIn group called the Veterans Mentoring Network (VMN) ( VMN is a very active group with numerous updates every day. If you have not had a chance to join the VMN, we highly recommend it.

Most DVOP specialists seldom have trouble finding veterans or transitioning services members who qualify for DVOP services. VMN is another great resource for identifying veterans and transition services members who qualify for support from a DVOP specialist or from a partner on the “other side” of the AJC. Tom Cal is the VMN group monitor and you will find him engaging and involved in the online group.   According to Tom, VMN can be used for many things, including:

  • Posting information to VMN about the resources you are trying to promote (e.g. job fair dates, training class opportunities, office hours and locations)
  • Career counselors (DVOP specialists and LVERs) can use VMN to request career connections and mentors for clients you are serving.
  • DVOP specialists and LVERs can use VMN to provide insights and assistance to VMN members, and in that way, find new clients.

VMN has 123,200+ members and 135,200 followers – so there are many opportunities for you to connect with potential clients and find support for your current clients.


January 2018
Resources For Assisting Clients

The US Department of Labor recently posted a 20-page, 54 MB American Job Centers Customer Flow Scenarios file on the WIOA Network Community of Practice. The Customer Flow Scenarios give different stories that relate to AJC clients. While none of the stories are specifically aimed at veteran-clients, the stories still provide DVOP specialists and LVERs with some excellent resources.

At the end of each of the five stories, there is a page that contains a series of websites that provide resources related to the story. These five resource pages are an exceptional compilation of resources that are of value to all AJC members. Because of their value, we are including them here. You can find the original 20-page booklet at

For Those Clients with Undisclosed Disabilities

Employers Interested in Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

Seasonal Employee (Farmworker)

Recently Incarcerated Client

TANF recipient transitioning to Sustainable Employment


December 2017
Selected Opportunities for Veterans, Active Duty Military, and Spouses

National Defense Authorization Act 2018
A new measure included in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) gives the Defense Department and Coast Guard permission to reimburse up to $500 for relicensing when an active duty member transfers to a new duty station (permanent change of station). According to information from LinkedIn and the Military Officers Association of America, the legislation does not have a date when the reimbursement is available or how to apply for it. Check this blog for more information as it becomes available.

Vetforce offers free training for veterans and spouses and focuses on a customer relations management tool called “Salesforce”. Courses are delivered online with certificates provided for completed courses. You can find more information at:

Hiring Our Heroes
Hiring Our Heroes and the Department of Homeland Security have teamed to provide free cybersecurity training and certification preparatory courses. Training is available at the novice and expert level. More information is at:

Patriot Boot Camp
Patriot Boot Camp is a program for veterans who are trying to start (or who have already started) their own technology focused business. Patriot Boot Camp is hosting its next technology entrepreneurship boot camp in San Antonio, Texas, from February 16-18, 2018. The program will welcome 50 military veteran and spouse entrepreneurs from around the country to participate in educational workshops, mentoring sessions with startup experts, and peer networking over the course of three intensive days.

The event will be sponsored by USAA, Techstars, and the Jared Polis Foundation, with local support from the 80/20 Foundation, Geekdom, and Codeup.

Patriot Boot Camp will be accepting applications for the San Antonio program through January 7, 2018, pending availability. Early applicants will be notified by email of their acceptance status no later than December 29, 2017. Applications are being taken at:


November 2017
American Job Center Helps Utah Vet Find Right Career
By George Riedel

After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Specialist DeeAnna M. Baxter-Stone struggled to find a civilian career that was the right fit. She took odd jobs to help make ends meet, but struggled financially.

With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, DeeAnna sought work as a federal contractor conducting military investigations but was unable to pass the physical tests due to a shoulder injury.

She was first referred to the Utah South County Employment Center in August 2015. Art Fracchia, an employment counselor with the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program, helped her apply for a position with a security company DeeAnna thought would provide the real-world experience she needed for a law enforcement career. She was offered a position and eventually promoted to project manager, but very long hours left little time for her family and personal life.

“Art was extremely supportive of me when I let him know I was very unhappy in the first job, and he did not hesitate to start all over again to help me look for something that I could make a career out of,” DeeAnna said.

Art then connected her with the state’s Work Success program, where she took several career development classes and participated in networking events.

During this time Art also helped her tailor her resume and coached her on the interviewing process. DeeAnna applied for a number of jobs with no luck. But she didn’t give up and neither did Art.

“DeeAnna listened to all of the advice we gave her. She has a ‘never give up’ attitude. She is a great person to work with,” said Art.

Art proposed she try a completely different route: the Zions Bank Military Internship Program for honorably discharged veterans. The 12-week intensive paid internship provides banking education and mentorship that enhances veterans’ skills and resumes. It also offers job search education and assistance, and opportunities for networking and community involvement.

After classroom training, participants begin rotations through various aspects of banking infrastructure such as regulations, corporate collections, commercial lending, bank fraud, money laundering, and IT. Participants may be hired by bank management at the end of the process. Although this was outside the scope of what DeeAnna had originally wanted to pursue professionally, she saw a real opportunity to use her prior skills with computers and writing, as well as her military leadership experience.

After completing the classroom portion, DeeAnna didn’t even have a chance to finish the internship because Zions Bank was so impressed by her qualifications and aptitude that they offered her a full-time position with a base salary of $65,000 a year, paid leave, and other benefits. She began working for the bank in May as an anti-money laundering/fraud compliance analyst, and is grateful for a 40-hour a week schedule that allows her to spend quality time with her family.

“Had it not been for my representative, I would have never even considered working where I am, basically because I did not know there were positions offered that had coincided with my education,” DeeAnna said.

Veterans can receive one-on-one assistance at American Job Centers across the country. Visit for more information or call 1-877-US2-JOBS to find your local center.

George Riedel is the deputy regional administrator for the Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Services in Dallas.


October 2017
Fiscal Year 2016 Federal Veteran Hiring Results and Federal Hiring Programs

On September 12, 2017, the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released the results of Fiscal Year 2016 (Oct 1, 2015-September 30, 2016) veteran hiring for the executive branch of the federal government. The report, titled "Employment of Veterans in the Federal Executive Branch," normally runs about a year behind the period it covers, so the report issued in September 2017 is the most recent report.

According to OPM, more than 71,000 veterans entered federal employment in FY16, bringing the total number of federally employed veterans to 635, 266 – up 11,000+ from FY15. Veterans represent approximately 31% of the federal workforce--up five percent since 2009. In 2009, the President issued Executive Order 13518, "Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government," starting a government-wide effort to improve veteran employment in federal agencies called "the Veterans Employment Initiative" (VEI).

The federal government has established a dedicated veteran’s employment web site for federal agencies, veterans and other interested parties at The site is a great source for obtaining information about federal employment and deals not only with veteran hiring, but also with veteran-spouse/survivor hiring.

Veterans can be hired into federal jobs through several different methods. There are two ways for the government to advertise (called a job announcement) for a federal job: Merit Promotion and Delegated Examining. Both types of announcements are posted on the federal job web site: Most, but not all veterans, are eligible to apply for a federal job; we’ll cover the details in another article. Eligible veterans can only apply to a Merit Promotion announcement if the announcement allows employees outside the agency posting the announcement to apply for the job. For example, if the announcement is from the Department of Homeland Security and only Homeland Security employees can apply, veterans would not be able to apply. Under Merit Promotion procedures, when veterans can apply for a federal job, the veteran is not given "preference" in the hiring process – they simply get to apply as if they were already federal employees.

If the announcement indicates that any US citizen can apply, it is called a "Delegated Examining" (DE) or "Public" announcement. Any veteran can apply to one of these postings. When a veteran applies to a DE announcement, the veteran may be eligible for "preference" in the hiring process. Preference does not guarantee the veteran a job, but the chance of being referred to the hiring manager increases.

Most veterans can also be hired without going through the Merit Promotion or DE announcement process. There are two ways for this to work. First, any veteran, whether disabled or not, may be appointed to a GS11 or lower position without competition. The authority to hire a veteran this way is called Veterans Recruitment Appointment, or "VRA". The second way is when a veteran has been rated at least 30% disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In this case, the veteran can be appointed to any General Schedule position (GS1 through GS15) without competition. Obviously, networking is important for either of these special appointment authorities to result in a veteran being hired. LVERs should be working with local federal agencies to promote veteran hiring, especially through these two special authorities as they reduce the time for the hiring manager to recruit and fill a position from months to days. If you are not familiar with federal veteran hiring processes and authorities, check the FedsHireVets web site or talk with your state DVET or ADVET.

Helping prepare a veteran for any job, including a federal position, means the DVOP must ensure the individual has a terrific resume, which is a key part of the federal application process. In a future article, we’ll talk about federal resumes and how they are different from a private sector resume and why.

With more than 2 million jobs, the federal government can be a rich source of employment for your veteran clients.


October 2017
VA’s New, Increased Compensation Claims Process

In case you have not heard, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a new process on September 7, 2017 that promises to "deliver faster claims decisions to Veterans and their families." The process aims to deliver decisions within 30 days from the time the VA receives the claim. It is known as the Decision Ready Claims (DRC) initiative. The initial implementation of DRC is limited to those claims that seek an increase in the veteran’s compensation.

VA is working with certain veteran service organizations (VSO) to be sure that the VSOs have the training and tools to ensure that requests for increased compensation claims are complete before the claims are submitted to the VA. The VSOs will confirm that medical exams, military service records, DD 214 (or equivalent), VA Form 21-526EZ -Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits and other forms and supporting documents are complete and ready to send to the VA.

Once the complete package is sent to the VA, a veteran can expect a decision within 30 days from the time VA receives the claim. Because the VSO ensures each package is complete, the VA can assign the claim to a processor for a decision within a month.

If you are working with a veteran who is already receiving compensation from the VA and it appears that the veteran may be eligible for an increase in their compensation, you can connect the veteran with a VSO that is collaborating with the VA on the DRC. To find a participating VSO, go to VA’s directory of VSOs at and check Part 1, which lists VSOs that are "certified" to help veterans process claims.


August 2017
Did you know that the highest unemployment rates for women veterans are found among those enrolled in school?

A Message to veterans service providers from the DOL VETS Women Veteran Program Manager, Dr. Nancy A. Glowacki
In 2016, the highest unemployment rates, particularly for women veterans, were among 18-54 year olds currently enrolled in school. Among those enrolled in school, the unemployment rate of women veterans was significantly higher than that of women nonveterans (8% vs. 5.6%, respectively). Meanwhile, in 2016, the annual average unemployment rate of women veterans not enrolled in school and of women nonveterans not enrolled in school was the same (4.9%).

Veterans tend to attend school at older ages than nonveterans, particularly among women. In 2016, among 18-24 year olds, women nonveterans were over twice as likely as women veterans to be enrolled in school, but among 25-34 year olds, 35-44 year olds, and 45-54 year olds, women veterans were over twice as likely as women nonveterans to be enrolled in school. The likelihood to attend school at an older age impacts their financial and family responsibilities, and many must work while attending school.

This perhaps describes about a crucial need for employment support for women veterans enrolled in school. Some of the best resources out there can be found at and at the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. Employers looking to hire veterans should look no further than the Dept. of Labor’s resources for hiring veterans or even creating an apprenticeship program.

For more information, view the 2016 Employment, Unemployment, and Education Webinar on the Women Veterans page at
Data used in the figures above comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016 Current Population Survey, Annual Averages.


June 2017
HIRE Vets: News from the Monthly DOL VETS and VSOs Meeting

At the latest monthly meeting between U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) and personnel and leaders from Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) around the country, one of the main topics of discussion was expanding opportunities and incentives for employers looking to hire veterans.

The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act, or HIRE Vets Act of 2017, signed into law in May by President Trump, establishes the Department of Labor’s HIRE Vets Medallion Program, which recognizes employers who recruit, retain, and employ veterans, and who provide charitable support to veteran communities. For more information on this DOL program, click here.

“The Department of Labor looks forward to shining a spotlight on employers who make hiring veterans a priority and encouraging other employers to hire our nation’s heroes,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.

And here’s a brief roundup of VSOs offering services and resources, shared at this month’s VETS and VSOs meeting, to help veterans find employment:

  • Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)Transition and Career services, including upcoming career events, tools and resources, networking community, mentorship, and more.
  • Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)Warriors to Work provides transition resources for veterans wounded during their service. Resources include a financial guide for transitioning veterans, and a free Career Boot Camp for veterans and their families. Additionally, WWP provides resources for employers looking to hire veterans.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) – The nonprofit IAVA features a Careers Program for service veterans from war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as an emphasis in 2017 on women veterans support and advocacy.

As always, visit and for more employment, transition, and training resources, and news. And for something to celebrate: DOL VETS announced in June that veterans unemployment is  at 3.4%—the lowest rate in ten years!


May 2017
A New Labor Secretary, and a Roundup of Jobs Resources for Veterans

On April 28, 2017, R. Alexander Acosta was officially sworn in as the 27th United States Secretary of Labor. In late May, Acosta delivered remarks at the G-20 Labor and Employment Ministers’ Meeting in Germany, where he advocated for growth in apprenticeships for current and emerging generations in the workforce.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers state-by-state resources and funding opportunities for veterans seeking apprenticeships. Their resources include a comprehensive list of employers and schools providing apprenticeship programs, as well as financial assistance information. To learn more at Career OneStop’s apprenticeships resource page, click here.

And here’s a roundup of other employment opportunities promoted this past month by the U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment Training Service (DOL VETS), and Career OneStop:

  • Veteran workers who have been laid off can find resources for re-employment at the DOL-affiliated website,
  • In honor of Military Appreciation Month, DOL VETS has resources for employers seeking to hire veterans, here
  • Career OneStop offers self-assessments to help veterans start their job search by identifying careers matched to the skills they have, or discover a new direction for their existing careers

To stay current with Veterans’ Employment opportunities and issues, check back here for more monthly employment news updates and resources. On Twitter, be sure to follow @VETS_DOL for frequent updates featuring links to resources and information for employers and veterans. And lastly, visit for the latest and greatest from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service.


May 2017
How Do You Find a Woman Veteran?
A Message to veterans service providers from the DOL VETS Women Veteran Program Manager, Dr. Nancy A. Glowacki

You may know that one in every ten veterans is a woman.

Women veterans are 10% of the overall veteran population.

But did you know that only one in every 63 women is a veteran?

Women veterans are 1.6% of the overall women population—1 in 63 women is a veteran.

Comparatively, one in every six adult men in America is a veteran.

Male veterans are 16% of the overall male population—1 in 6 men is a veteran.

Why are these numbers important? Because they show how easy it is to overlook a woman veteran – something that we must never do as service providers and fellow citizens.
Among younger women, we see an even more extreme divide between veterans, non-veterans, and the general population.

Veterans are 1.0% of the under-35 women population—1 in 100 women under 35 is a veteran.

So what does this actually look like in the general population? Let's consider a group of 100 people. Among 100 people of all ages, 52 will be women and 48 will be men. Nine people will be veterans. Only one of the nine veterans will be a woman, and she will look just like the other 51 women.

Of 100 adults in the overall population: 8 are male veterans, 40 are male nonveterans; 1 is a woman, 51 are women nonveterans.

So, how do you find a woman veteran?
You ask – and you keep asking, no matter how many women non-veterans you must ask before finding one woman veteran.
If you don't ask, you won't know.

As service providers, it is critical that we ask each and every person, “Have you ever served in the military?” to ensure that women veterans are not overlooked, are connected to the appropriate veteran services, and are never left behind!
Your diligence as service providers is greatly appreciated!

For resources, information, employment assistance, and more, visit the Women Veterans page at

Data used in the figures above comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Current Population Survey, Annual Averages.


March 2017
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics: The Employment Situation of Veterans

On March 31, the U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), hosted its monthly meeting with representatives from various Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs).

This month’s meeting featured presentations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and from DOL VETS’ Women Veteran Program (WVP) using data from the BLS’s 2016 Current Population Survey (CPS), a joint program between the BLS and the Census Bureau. The data was presented by labor economists James Borbely and Karen Kosanovich of the BLS, and Nancy Glowacki, program manager of the WVP.

Standout data covered everything from good news (a continued trend of lower unemployment rates) and areas for concern (older veterans, and in some cases women, too, could use more support). The results arguably shine light on specific areas and demographics where veterans employment thrives, as well as areas where more targeted attention (more support from state and Federal organizations, as well as from both public and private employers) could perhaps achieve more progress.

Experts and representatives from VSOs in attendance at the meeting brought up a number of related topics: the increased desire for more entrepreneurial skills training for older veterans, more occupational skills training for veterans aged 35 and older, expanded G.I. Bill coverage, and increased awareness and advocacy for programs that help businesses develop opportunities to hire veterans.

Here’s a look at some of the most striking numbers from the BLS’s report:

  • Unemployment rates of both veterans and nonveterans continue a decade-long decrease. After peaking in 2010 and 2011 (unemployment above 10%), veterans are now experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in 10 years, which at 4.3% is even lower than the unemployment rate of nonveterans.

  • Aging veterans are most likely to be unemployed. Of 453,000 unemployed veterans in 2016, more than half were age 45 and over—whereas veterans aged 18 to 44 comprise 40% of unemployed veterans, and only 24% of those aged 18 to 34.

VSO representatives and BLS and VETS experts at the meeting discussed how challenging it can be for older veterans to find employment, especially after being out of work longer than six months.

Experts and officials cited the skills mismatch that occurs when the skills required for jobs lost don’t match the skills required in jobs available now, as well as how older veterans are more likely to attempt to start their own business, which brings its own set of challenges.

Younger veterans, those who served between 2001 and the present, are the least likely veterans to remain unemployed for six months of longer.

  • Compared to nonveterans, veterans are much more likely to work for the Federal government. While the vast majority of veterans are employed in the private sector, only 2% of nonveterans work for the Federal government, compared to 10% of veterans (and 16% of veterans from 2001 to present). And the Federal government employs 20% of disabled veterans.

  • Women veterans from 2001 to present are more likely than women non-veterans to work in management and professional occupations. This category of jobs tend to be more high paying, and nearly 50% of women veterans work in this category.

  • The highest unemployment rates for veterans come from veterans aged 18 to 54 who are enrolled in school. Women veterans enrolled in school saw the highest unemployment rate of all, at 8.0%.

And here’s a rundown of further data on women veterans:

  • In 2016, women veterans experienced 5.0% unemployment, compared to 4.2% by male veterans.
  • Women veterans remain unemployed for an average of two weeks fewer than male veterans.
  • Women veterans are more likely than male veterans to enroll in college or graduate.

Visit for more information from the survey mentioned above.

The DOL VETS website hosts comprehensive resources for veterans seeking training or employment, for employers seeking to hire veterans, and for women veterans.

We’ll have another report on veterans employment news and trends after DOL VETS hosts its next monthly meeting with VSOs.

Note: All charts used above were created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, based on data from the Current Population Survey, annual averages 2016.


February 2017

Get the Word Out in 2017: Veterans Add Value to the Workforce
On the morning of February 24, 2017, the Department of Labor’s Tim Green and Mika Cross—the Director of the Office of Strategic Outreach and the Strategic Communications Lead, respectively, from the DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)—conducted a meeting with representatives and partners from Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and private-sector organizations.

The meeting was multipurpose, and key questions were answered. The longest and most important question: In 2017, how are VSOs (at Federal, state, and local levels) positioning themselves and their work in order to have the greatest impact on veterans seeking employment and career development, before, during, and after their initial transition from military service? The shortest and most important answer: Every day, in so many ways.

Whether you’re a veteran yourself, someone who knows or works with veterans, or can simply help spread the word, there’s a lot you can accomplish just from sharing free online content with your own networks.

So what are some new or ongoing opportunities out there for veterans and potential employers?

Programs, services, and career aids for veterans and employers:

There’s so much information, support, and content out there already, but veterans service orgs and communities can always use more help getting their message out. As Mika Cross put it at the beginning of the meeting, “Communications is vitally important to what we do.”

Get the word out to employers looking for their next great hire, share resources with the veterans in your community, and connect with VSOs on social media (and follow @DOL_VETS on Twitter!).

National Veterans' Training Institute

8230 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Corner, VA 22182

Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Dallas, TX 75240



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