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

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Some Veterans Minimize Their Military Service on Resumes

The red-white-and blue honor cords that graduating student veterans will wear on their gowns.

The red-white-and blue honor cords that graduating student veterans will wear on their gowns.

About 150 University of South Florida graduates this May will wear a red-white-and-blue cord on their gowns as they pick up their diplomas. The cord signifies their service as a military veteran.

The graduates are transitioning into a civilian world where Post 9/11 veterans have a higher unemployment rate than the national average. And some veterans feel their military service is counted against them when they apply for jobs.

“They were telling me nobody wants to hire us and that’s really not true,” said Kelly Myers, a Chase 1st vice president and district manager. He meets occasionally with student veterans at the USF Office of Veteran Services. “I know as a company Chase is very interested in veterans for a lot of different reasons.”

Myers said as employees veterans bring a strong work ethic and an ability to work in teams.

“Several of the vets had taken the fact that they were in the military off their resume and they said it really hasn’t served us well,” Myers said. “I said for me I would put it right back on there. It’s probably the strongest recommendation to catch my eye that you are a veteran. So, you’re one of the first people I want to interview.”

Air Force veteran and graduating senior "Fit" Mangasha (left) shakes hands with Larry Braue, director of the USF Office of Veteran Services.

Air Force veteran and graduating senior “Fit” Mangasha (left) shakes hands with Larry Braue, director of the USF Office of Veteran Services.

Air Force veteran and USF graduating senior Fitawrari Mangasha is optimistic about his field in information technology.

“I have a couple of prospects,” Mangasha said. “Things are looking very positive on the job prospects for me.”

Aisha McCloud Hepburn, USF graduating senior and 9-year Army veteran, said she returned to finish her communications degree because of the help she was offered through the USF Office of Veteran Services.

“I really didn’t feel a part of USF until I went to the Veterans Services with Dr. (Larry)Braue,” Hepburn said. “That’s when I realized how important it was for veterans to get an education. And the classes that he gives for veterans here is really a big help.”

A veteran salutes during the national anthem at the USF baseball game where graduating student veterans celebrated their success.

A veteran salutes during the national anthem at the USF baseball game where graduating student veterans celebrated their success.

Larry Braue, a retired Army colonel with a PhD, has overseen USF’s Veteran Services for three years.

“This has been a good year in that we’re getting a lot of people interested in mentoring our veterans, working with them, hiring them,” Braue said. “And I see nothing but good things happening this next year as a result of the changes that we’ve had.”

The office has to started an awareness campaign to educate USF faculty, staff and employees about the veterans experience transitioning back into school. And there’s a mentoring program that pairs student veterans with leaders within the community.

Veterans Job Corps: First Reponders, Entrepreneurs, More

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the Veterans Job Corp and the economy while speaking at Fire Station #5 in Arlington, Va., Feb. 3, 2012. (DOD photo by Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.)

President Barack Obama plans to create a Veterans Job Corps for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The program includes three initiatives.

First, the veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom would be hired to help restore national parks throughout. Reuters reported:

Obama proposed setting aside $1 billion to develop a conservation program that he said would put up to 20,000 veterans to work over five years rebuilding national parks or local communities.

Secondly, Pres. Obama’s plan also calls for grants to help local communities hire veterans as firefighters and police.

 The administration will make available $166 million in 2012 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant funding and $320 million in 2012 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants and award that money with a preference to communities that recruit and hire post-9/11 veterans. The President’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year will include additional $5 billion for these grant programs.

The third initiative involves training veterans as entrepreneurs.

Back in August, the Administration established a two-day course in entrepreneurship as part of the Transition Assistance Program with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, along with the Small Business Administration. The SBA also offers an eight week online training program that will teach the fundamentals of small business ownership to more than 10,000 veterans every year.

The unemployment rate for Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars remains above the national average. Some online tools to help veterans and military spouses find jobs are available HERE.

10 Things You Can Do to Help Veterans with PTSD

Another lead up to PTSD Awareness Day, June 27.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of  the signature medical issues for returning combat veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So, it’s important that the civilian community from employers to educators understand and know how to help those living with PTSD.

Vietnam veterans have been instrumental in pushing for PTSD awareness among the military hierarchy, government officials and civilian communities. For veterans, understanding the symptoms and seeking early treatment is critical for successfully living with the disorder. But, civilians can help too.

10 Ways community members can help:

  1. Understand that anyone can experience trauma, such as accidents, assault, war, or disasters.
  2. Think broadly. When trauma happens, the survivor’s family, friends, coworkers, and community are affected.
  3. Learn about common reactions to trauma and readjustment to life outside a war zone.
  4. Be aware of where to get help for trauma survivors, Veterans, and people with PTSD.
  5. Expand your understanding of how PTSD is identified and treated.
  6. Know that treatment for PTSD works.
  7. Ask a Veteran or trauma survivor if talking would help, but do not push if someone is not ready to discuss things.
  8. Realize that stigma is a barrier to getting treatment. Getting people to talk or seek help is not always easy. Your encouragement matters.
  9. Know the facts. More than half of US adults will experience trauma in their lifetime. About 7% of adults will deal with PTSD at some point. For Veterans and male and female sexual assault survivors, the figure is higher.
  10. Connect with self-help resources, apps, and videos about PTSD.

The list is courtesy of the VA National Center for PTSD. You can stay informed about PTSD through the PTSD Monthly Update.

War Veterans “Welcome Home” Event at Tampa’s USF

It’s the Tampa Bay area’s Fourth Annual “Welcome Home America’s Heroes” celebration for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars offering entertainment, giveaways and helpful health and benefits information.

U.S. Soldiers assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, patrol through the streets of Abu Ghraib, Iraq, May 7, 2009. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kani Ronningen/Released)

Tampa’s James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital is hosting the celebration for Florida’s active-duty military members and veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The VA estimates that more than 10,000 veterans from the area have served in the Global War on Terror. They and their family members are invited to the event that also includes free health screenings, information on employment and veterans’ benefits. It’s part of an outreach campaign to assure Florida’s returning veterans are aware of and receive the services and health care they’ve earned.

The event is scheduled at the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida, MLK Plaza, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Military members also will have the oppportunity to meet with representatives from the VA, state and community organizations such as the University of South Florida Veterans’ Association, VetSuccess and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs officals.

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