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.

 

April 2018
Academic Credit for Military Experience

Ralph Charlip, LFACHE
Word Count: 325
Date Submitted: 8 Apr 18
Article Number: 2018-10

 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 https://www.ecs.org/academic-credit-for-military-experience-state-profiles/. 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 veterans.gov 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 dol.gov/vets and veterans.gov 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: https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/veteran-and-family-resources/starting-growing-a-business/boots-to-business/.

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 https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/veteran-and-family-resources/starting-growing-a-business/

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: https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/veteran-and-family-resources/starting-growing-a-business/

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 https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/.

 

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 https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/veteran-and-family-resources/starting-growing-a-business/vetnet/

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:  http://veteranentrepreneurship.org/

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  https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/veteran-and-family-resources/starting-growing-a-business/cvob/

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 https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/.

 

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
http://onward2opportunity.org/
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. 

AmericaServes 
https://americaserves.org/  
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 https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/. The next article in this series will explore IVMF’s research program.

 

February 2018
CALIFORNIA JOB CENTER HELPS VETERAN GET CAREER BACK ON TRACK

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
INSTITUTE FOR VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY (IVMF)

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 https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/. 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."

From: https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/sponsor-story/wi-workforce-dev/2018/02/08/wisconsin-workforce-development-job-centers-help-employers-recruit-veteran-talent/110184860/

 

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 dol.gov/vets and veterans.gov for more employment, transition, and training resources, and news.

 

February 2018
LVER RESOURCES

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 https://www.vip.vetbiz.gov/Default.aspx. 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 https://www.naics.com/search/.  

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
RESOURCES FOR ASSISTING CLIENTS

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 https://strategies.workforcegps.org/announcements/2017/09/25/13/46/Improving-Service-Delivery-at-American-Job-Centers

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

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. https://www.sas.com/en_us/news/press-releases/2017/november/ivmf-government-education.html#

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 & Travelhttps://www.nrd.gov/misc/about_us

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.   https://gfa.asu.edu/

 

January 2018
NATIONAL VETERANS SPECIAL EVENTS

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 (https://www.va.gov/adaptivesports) 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: https://www.va.gov/adaptivesports.

 

January 2018
DVOP SPECIALISTS & LVER RESOURCES

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. (http://www.conniefrancis.com/ethos): 

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. (https://codingitforward.com/fellowship)

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. (https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/veteranedge/):   

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

(http://cmawarrior.org/)

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. (http://craneologyinc.com)

ASM
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. (https://asmed.com

 

January 2018
DOL VETS "HIRE VETS MEDALLION PROGRAM"

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.

FIGURE 1-AWARD CRITERIA

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 https://www.dol.gov/vets/hirevets/. 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 www.veterans.gov 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) (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4466143). 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 https://ion.workforcegps.org/resources/2017/07/19/10/02/AJC_Customer_Flow_Scenarios

For Those Clients with Undisclosed Disabilities

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOuczENU_dU&feature=youtu.be

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
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: https://veterans.force.com/NewVetForceHome

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: https://hireourheroes.org/veterans-training/

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: http://patriotbootcamp.org/apply-san-antonio-2018

 

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 www.veterans.gov 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 https://www.fedshirevets.gov/. 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: https://www.usajobs.gov/. 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 https://www.va.gov/vso/VSO-Directory.pdf 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 Veterans.gov 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 dol.gov/vets.
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 dol.gov/vets and veterans.gov 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, careeronestop.org/workerreemployment
  • 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 https://www.dol.gov/vets/ 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 dol.gov/vets.

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 bls.gov/cps 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

844.423.8872

 

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