Job Fair For Veterans, Especially Those With Disabilities

Bay Pines VA – C.W. Bill Young Medical Center. Photo Courtesy: VA.gov

A job fair with special emphasis on opportunities for veterans with disabilities is set Thursday, August 2, 2018 from 5-8 p.m. at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS).

Similar job fairs have been conducted in the past and have been instrumental for Veterans seeking employment in the federal government according to a VA Bay Pines release.

“Qualified applicants will be interviewed on the spot, and tentative job offers may be made that day. Applicants interested in positions in Nutrition and Food Service, Housekeeping and Engineering are encouraged to bring their resume, DD214 (Member 4 Copy with Character of Service), VA letter showing disability rating, and Schedule A letter if applicable.”

For more information about the upcoming job fair, please contact Brenda Sykes, Section Chief, Human Resources Management Service at (727) 398-6661, extension 10636.

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Pilot Program to Turn Military Skills into Civilian Credentials

Aircraft Systems Inspector Steve Zerbato fires up the twin engines of an F/A-18F Super Hornet, as Aircraft Mechanic Kirk Hale sits behind during a pre-induction maintenance inspection Dec. 9. On the ground Aircraft Electrician Rob Peterson, Sr. (left) and Aircraft Systems Inspector Phillip Yates provide ground and safety support outside the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast maintenance hangar at Cecil Commerce Center. (U.S. Navy photo by Vic Pitts/Released)

There will soon be help for some service members transitioning from military to civilian jobs. The Department of Defense has pilot program for five occupations that cover 17 military specialties:

  • aircraft mechanic
  • automotive mechanic
  • health care
  • supply and logistics
  • truck driver.

The program began in October, Frank C. DiGiovanni told the American Forces Press Service, and will determine if additional, external training is necessary to meet civilian credentialing.

 “Some of these licenses and credentials require a certain level of experience to qualify,” he said. So, the program will eventually assess service members at various stages in their military careers, he said.

The pilot program is one of several credentialing and licensing initiatives at the federal level.

In Florida, streamlining credentialing and professional licensing is the goal of the director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, Mike Prendergast. He plans to ask Florida lawmakers to start the process in the coming 2013 legislative session.

Veterans Applying for Retraining Top 30,000 and Climbing

Photo courtesy of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

The Hire Heroes Act of 2011 included a section for the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). It offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed Veterans.

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Department of Labor rolled out VRAP July 1, 2012 and as of July 9 it’s received more than 30,000 applications.

Veterans who qualify  for VRAP are:

  • Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
  • Are unemployed on the date of application
  • Received an other than dishonorable discharge
  • Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
  • Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to un-employability
  • Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program

The program is limited to 45,000 participants through September 30, 2012, and 54,000 participants from October 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014.

Details on the VRAP are available HERE.

Hiring Veterans Is About More than Just Providing a Job

Photo courtesy of themilitarywallet.com

Employing Veterans requires more than just recruitment and hiring, it must include, training, assimilation and retention says Nathan Herman, who served in a Marine tank battalion in Iraq and is now Executive Director of Military and Veterans Affairs at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Herman writes in the Huffington Post:

Looking back now, 11 years later almost to the day of my arrival in Baghdad, I find myself locked in a different but similar type of struggle.

My goal is to collectively hire 100,000 veterans with members of the 100,000 Jobs Mission and build a long term strategy to hire, train, assimilate and retain these veterans.

Like the “shock and awe” operations of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there are many public efforts underway to raise awareness about veteran unemployment — efforts which are absolutely necessary but only part of the battle plan.

Herman is calling for a national discussion and attention to providing veterans the skills and support they need to turn a new job into a long-term career.

You can access a Veterans Job Bank through the National Resources Directory.

A wide range of Veterans employment programs are available through the White House Joining Forces website.

Jobs for Veterans One Step Closer, Tax Credits Now Law

Photo courtesy of the White House blog.

President Barack Obama signed legislation that gives employers tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans and wounded warriors.

“An entire generation of new vets will be provided much-needed practical support to transition from combat to careers.  As an Iraq vet I am privileged to lead the membership team at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the country’s first and largest nonpartisan organization committed to our newest veterans,” wrote Iraq veteran Jason Hansman on the White House blog.

You can read Hansman’s full blog entry, “Hiring Vets Is Smart Business,” HERE.

The American Forces Press Service reports:

The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a credit of up to $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers a credit of $9,600 per veteran for businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Under the Recovery Act, employers who hired certain unemployed veterans were eligible for a tax credit of up to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages, for a maximum credit of $2,400 for veterans who had been unemployed at least four weeks. This credit expired at the end of 2010. For employers who hire veterans unemployed for longer than six months, a new credit of 40 percent of the first $14,000 of wages, up to $5,600, will be applied.

The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit will double the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities. A new credit of 40 percent of the first $24,000 of wages, up to $9,600, will apply for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed longer than six months.

The law will maintain the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit of up to $4,800 for veterans with service-connected disabilities.

The new tax incentives continue an ongoing effort to ease unemployment among veterans. A White House statement released today notes that in August the president challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans or military spouses by the end of 2013.

You can read the full article on Monday’s signing of the VOW Act, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011, HERE.

Debunking Employers’ Misconceptions About PTSD and TBI

Photo courtesy of the VA.

Despite no evidence, a survey shows 46 percent of Human Resources managers think PTSD poses a hiring challenge. Alex Horton takes on the stigma of PTSD and TBI held by some employers in his entry for the VA blog – Vantage Point.

BY ALEX HORTON

As I walked the parking lot and aisles of Costco as an employee, I kept something from many of my coworkers. Something that prevented glances of worried suspicion and morbid curiosity that have met me many times over the last three years. I knew from the past that revealing my military and combat experience could define who I was before I had a chance to do it myself. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  and mental instability are shortcuts civilians use to judge war Veterans, and I didn’t want to give them a chance.

It was a pleasant surprise to learn about a robust effort to combat this issue during a panel at the National Veterans Small Business Conference today. Veteran business owners have descended on New Orleans to attend classes and workshops designed to help Veteran-owned businesses win federal contracts, as well as provide a space for Vets to learn more about small business operations and networking and marketing. One important lesson of the conference is how to integrate Veterans in the workplace, where barriers to employment make it difficult for Vets to find (and hold) jobs.

Lisa Stern of the Department of Labor’s project America’s Heroes at Work gave a presentation that aimed to demystify the stereotypes that surround PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), especially in the workplace.

Photo courtesy of the VA.

This effort comes as Veterans find themselves unemployed at a higher rate than non-Veterans. Despite an accelerated learning curve, dedication to a team, and an ability to thrive under pressure, Vets are often at a loss on how to bring their military experience to the table as an asset. Many find it difficult to translate their skills into civilian terms or exemplify how they thrived individually in a team-oriented environment. Or just like me, many Vets avoid a self-inflicted stigma wound that could endanger their ability to land a job or associate with peers.

Stern debunked the longstanding myths that PTSD and TBI have a negative impact on workplace safety and productivity. She cited that 46 percent of HR managers surveyed claimed PTSD poses a hiring challenge, despite no evidence that suggests folks with PTSD are prone to violence or dampened efficiency. And for employers who think accommodations for Veterans with PTSD or TBI would be expensive or complex, solutions like flexible work schedules or written instructions instead of just verbal directions can be easy and effective ways to help Vets thrive in the workplace.

To read the full story, click HERE.

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