Veterans Get Free Training For “New Collar” Jobs

About a dozen veterans took part in the intense week-long training and certification offered for free by IBM. The first session of 2017 was offered in Tampa, FL.

It’s estimated the high tech industry will create more than 200,000 “new collar” jobs in the next three years. To fill those positions, IBM is tapping into a workforce that’s already well trained – veterans.

“We need to get people to hit the ground running and be productive,” said Tampa IBM executive Stuart Bean. “And you just can’t fill them unless you have people who are already disciplined, already trained, mature enough, (and) can hit the ground running.”

Tampa IBM hosted the first veterans session of 2017 followed by a free veterans’ session this week in at Asher College in Las Vegas and April 3 in Pittsburgh, The Tower at PNC Plaza, 300 Fifth Avenue. Additional sessions are available in Philadelphia, Houston and Fort Hood, Texas and several other cities. Continue reading

Jobs for Veterans and the Walmart Promise

Nov. 12, 2012 -- Jessica L. Wright, Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and Major General Retired Don C. Morrow, Arkansas Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve State Chairman look on as Bill Simon, president and CEO Walmart U.S., signs a Statement of Support with ESGR, reaffirming Walmart’s commitment to employing members of the Guard and Reserve. The signing ceremony was one of 10 held nationwide. Photo credit:

Nov. 12, 2012 — Jessica L. Wright, Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and Major General Retired Don C. Morrow, Arkansas Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve State Chairman look on as Bill Simon, president and CEO Walmart U.S., signs a Statement of Support with ESGR, reaffirming Walmart’s commitment to employing members of the Guard and Reserve. The signing ceremony was one of 10 held nationwide. Photo credit:

Walmart CEO Bill Simon announced this week that the retail giant would hire 100,000 veterans who have been honorably discharged over the next five years.

“Hiring a veteran can be one of the best business decisions you make,” said Simon. “Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. They’re quick learners and team players. They are leaders with discipline, training, and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever.”

Simon’s announcement received a lot of media coverage and praise from First Lady Michelle Obama.

But there are skeptics like Time reporter Christopher Matthews who question the motivation behind the Walmart offer.

To actually make a dent in veteran unemployment, Walmart would have to increase its annual hiring of veterans to 65,000, or 325,000 over five years — and hope other employers in the U.S. adopt similar hiring policies.

Some readers of were equally skeptical:

And readers at pointed out that Wal-Mart could pull in up to $9,600 in tax breaks per veteran hired, a financial boost they argued calls into question the real reason behind the hirings. reported that Wal-Mart officials would not respond to criticisms. Their job offers to veterans will  include part-time and entry-level positions.

Minnesota Guard Starts Civilian Hiring While Still Deployed

minnesota_natl_guardLast spring, a group of corporate recruiters in business-casual attire traveled to Kuwait to help hundreds of Minnesota National Guard members find civilian jobs weeks before the soldiers headed home.

A specialized team from government, education and business were flown in to prepare the troops. An NPR report says that every soldier got one-on-one help with mock interviews, resumes and career planning.

The program appears to have proven successful. NPR reports:

Of the more than 500 service members who needed jobs, officials say only about 35 are still looking for work.

Minnesota National Guard Capt. Ron Jarvi explained to NPR that the program helped troops focus on getting a job before they got overwhelmed with coming home.

“The reality is that you’re trying to reintegrate with your spouse or with your kids or getting paperwork filed with the state and reinstating your license and doing all of the different things that you have to do to reintegrate,” says Jarvi.

Guard and Reserve members split their time between civilian and military jobs. So, finding work after a long deployment is particularly difficult for them because employers are concerned about the Guard member being deployed again and may hesitate to hire them.

You can hear more about the Minnesota National Guard hiring program HERE.

Unemployed Veterans Offered New Education Benefits

Photo courtesy of

New benefits that cover education costs for up to one year are now available for unemployed Veterans between the ages of 35 and 60.

The joint program between the VA and Department of Labor aims to train 99,000 Veterans for work that is in high demand.

“This important tool will help those who served our country receive the education and training they need to find meaningful employment in a high-demand field,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki in a written news release. “Veterans are disciplined, hardworking, goal-oriented team members who can play a vital role in helping businesses and the economy grow.”

To qualify Veterans must:

  • Be 35-60 years old, unemployed on the day of application, and not dishonorably discharged;
  • Start education or training after July 1, 2012, in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school leading to an associate degree, non-college degree or a certificate for a high-demand occupation as defined by the DOL;
  • Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g. Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment);
  • Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program within the last 180 days;
  • Not receive VA compensation at the 100% rate due to individual unemployability (IU).

The program is on a first-come basis.

Details are available through the VA Call Centers toll free at 1-800-827-1000.

Veterans go to the VRAP application online at

And, Veterans are also encouraged to visit the nearly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers in the country. To find the center closest to you at:

Military Friendly Employers: More Than 3,000 Nominated

The silhouettes of Soldiers from the Florida Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment, stand out against the open hangar door of the Aviation Support Facility, Aug. 29, 2011. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa.

Each year, the Defense Department asks for nominations of employers who provide “outstanding support” for the National Guardsmen and Reservists who work for them.

The nomination process is 12 weeks long when members of the Guard and Reserve and their families can nominate civilian employers for the Department of Defense recognition known as the Freedom Award.

This year, 3,236 nominations were received for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the department’s highest recognition.

The officials from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a DoD agency, will name the award recipients this summer. As many as 15 employers could be recognized nationally at the ESGR ceremony set Sept. 20, 2012 in Washington D.C.

Award winners from 2011 did more than support military employees and their families, according to an ESGR press release, the employers provided help such as driving a deployed employee’s children to school, replacing a deployed employee’s broken refrigerator, and working overtime to cover shifts so a service member employee could take part in military training.

Semifinalists for the 2012 Freedom Award will be announced in April according to the news release.

A Job Board, Employment Opportunities for Military Spouses

Staff Sgt. John Carlin walks off the flightline with his family May 13, 2001, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Sergeant Carlin is assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Chris Willis)

Unemployment is high among recently returned combat veterans, it’s also an ongoing problem for military spouses. A military family is used to routine moves or PCS (Permanent Change of Station) every few years, it’s different for a potential employer looking for a permanent worker.

But, job hunting for military spouses may get a little easier thanks to a new partnership between the Department of Defense and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced this week.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership includes more than 70 employers who have committed improving military spouse employment. Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, helped launch the new partnership this week while recognizing military spouses for their service and sacrifice as they manage family, work and community service many times in the middle of a spouse’s deployment.

Some statistics from

  • 95% of the 1.2 million military spouses are women.
  • 85% of military spouses either want or need employment currently, and there is a 26% unemployment rate among them (1 in 4 spouses are without work).
  • There are 750,000 Active duty spouses – over half are under 31 years old.
  • 84% of spouses overall have some college, including a Bachelor’s degree (25%) and a post-graduate/advanced degree (10%).
  • Military spouses are also special because of their frequency of relocation – military families move 14% more often than their civilian counterparts.

A Job Board is available online for military spouses looking for work. There’s also a section for potential employers.

Finding Civilian Jobs in 2011

Lt. Col. John Haas, commander of the 1st Squadron, 153rd Cavalry Regiment, based in Tallahassee, Fla., steps off a plane at Hunter Army Airfield, after a nearly year-long deployment with the Florida National Guard's 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Iraq and Kuwait. Photo by Debra Cox

Finding a job is a top priority for military veterans transitioning to a civilian life and National Guard coming off active duty. And, recent statistics show a higher unemployment rate among veterans than the general public. There are programs for employers and incentive grants.

Job fairs specifically targeted to veterans are another approach. Later this month, RecruitMilitary, a military-to-civilian recruiting firm, has scheduled an “Opportunity Expo” for job seekers who have military backgrounds/ The veterans job fair is set at Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. It’s free and open to veterans who already have civilian work experience, men and women who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, members of the National Guard and reserves, military spouses, and other military family members.

The event is scheduled Thursday, Jan. 20, beginning at 11:00 a.m. and ending at 3:00 p.m.

Some online resources for job searches:

Vet Jobs boasts on its front page that it has more than 35,000 jobs posted, up 17.5 percent from last year.

Warrior Gateway which has a job search engine that cross references geographic info with job opening descriptions.

Military Hire offers help with resume writing and has a list of “military friendly” employers.

U.S. Department of Labor has information for veterans as well as employers including a veterans hiring toolkit for employers.

Florida Department of Veterans Affairs has grant info for disabled veterans, details on a military family employment program as well as links to state job search sites.

Florida veterans may want to keep an eye on Tallahassee where Gov.-elect Rick Scott appointed as his new chief of staff Mike Prendergast, a retired U.S. Army colonel and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Prendergast joined the Army in 1978 and retired in 2009 as U.S. Central Command‘s provost marshal.

Gov.=elect Scott has said that jobs are his highest priority the top issue for veterans.

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