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Jamie Horton Work4 Labs ProfileWork4 Labs Staff Writer

Jamie Horton

Community Management Intern at Work4 Labs, L.A. Native, worships at the Church of Hip Hop.
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With the end of the War in Iraq and the winding down of the mission in Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of troops are making their way back to the States. While conditions in the U.S. are no doubt better than the battlefield, these veterans will face significant challenges as they try to enter the civilian workforce.

Rising awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and employer skepticism about vets’ skills have made for slow progress in getting soldiers back to work. Luckily, this issue has entered the mainstream media in the run-up to the presidential election and with this increased exposure has come improved results. Here’s a look at efforts in the public and private sectors to get these brave men and women back in the jobforce.



Joining Forces
Recently celebrating its one year anniversary, the White House’s Joining Forces program has made significant progress on its challenge to the private sector to hire or train 100,000 vets and their spouses by 2013. Headed by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the program has seen significant buy-in from major corporations like GE, Comcast, and Safeway. Check out the Joining Forces site to see the full list of companies that have made commitments to hire returning soldiers. Besides partnering with employers, the campaign focuses on getting veterans proper healthcare, education, and training. Addressing all aspects of the veteran employment problem has been essential to its success across a variety of industries.

Employment Variation
Indicative of the diversity of companies contributing, here’s a look at Dollar General’s and NBC’s plans to employ thousands of veterans in the coming year. First up, Dollar General has integrated its vet hiring efforts into its current expansion plan. As the open more stores and distribution centers across the U.S., the discount retailer will be able to offer a variety of positions to soldiers with different skill sets. We here at Work4 Labs are proud to be a part of this initiative through our own involvement with Dollar General. Next, NBC has partnered with Comcast in their own “Hiring our Heroes” campaign. By hosting hiring fairs and opening up positions within their own operations, NBC has committed to finding employment for 1,000 veterans.

The road to economic recovery has been tough for the whole country, but coming back from combat to a financial mess has been even more difficult for returning soldiers. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the government and the private sector, we have begun to see a boost in vet employment. With continued buy-in from employers and government officials, we can repay our service men and women for their bravery abroad.

Have you been involved in vet hiring efforts? An unprecedentedly effective way to reach them is through Facebook's ecosystem and our advanced targeting technology which can segment candidates by categories such as past employers, veteran associations, and past positions. Here at Work4 Labs, we're proud and honored to support veteran recruiting efforts in anyway we can. Contact us to learn more and find out how to leverage Facebook for veteran recruiting today.

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Tags: Facebook, Recruiting, Social

Comment by Randall Scasny on May 1, 2012 at 12:23pm

I'm a US Navy veteran. I got out 25 years ago and spent a dreary year in Beirut Lebanon in 1982 that ended with tragic results for America.

Vets have always had hiring problems. I had 6 years of electronics training when I got out of the navy and an employer told me I knew nothing about electronics. That was 25 years ago.

I have worked with vets in their job searches. One thing most organizations and employers don't understand is veterans are not a monolithic group. Too often these "hire a vet" programs don't work because they create a special class of candidates instead of telling vets point blank, "you're not in the military anymore so stop acting like you are!" The biggest thing I learned about getting vets hired is (A) getting them to stop regurgitating their military service record, (b) read the darn job ad and (c) how to walk and talk like the other civvie candidates. This may sound like tough love but it's the truth.

Randall Scasny

fs5consulting.com

Comment by Amy Ala on May 2, 2012 at 12:00am
One of the most rewarding positions I ever had was as a career coach at Joint Base. Lewis McChord. Randall is absolutely right on with his tough love approach. The former soldiers I counseled who actually followed the steps Randall lays out found jobs.

Randall, thank you for your service and Jamie, thank you for your company's efforts on behalf of our soldiers.
Comment by Randall Scasny on May 2, 2012 at 9:02am

Amy's comment made me think of what I think is wrong with military "career transition services" (sometimes called TAP).

The U.S. government pays from tax dollars for some government organizations and private contracting firms to create and/or provide job assistance training (resume, interviews, etc.) for separating military service members. Some of these private contractors reap good $$ in providing these services. These services are located on military bases all over the country to be local to the job-seeking vets. The problem I observed 10 years ago when I first started my job assistance business and worked with veterans is that they were directed to these local firms and anyone else providing services was deemed "a scam".

Now, where did they get the consultants, counselors, etc. to staff these government-contracting firms? From what I saw, they were primarily ex-military. So, the perception by job-seeking veterans is that you needed someone with military experience to help a vet find a non-military job. This is the problem.

It's the last thing you want to do. It's better to hire a firm where the counselors/consultant have NO MILITARY EXPERIENCE. Why? The military veteran will be forced to align himself/herself with a new work context that is verbally and non-verbally communicated by the non-military job counselor. I succeeded helping vets because I didn't start my job assistance service until after 3 other post-military careers and 15 years away from the military.

One of my first experiences of helping vets was a helicopter mechanic from Ft Hood TX. He saw my job advice articles on militaryhire.com and emailed me. His complaint was that he could never get an interview after looking for months. I asked to see his resume, which was created by the private contractor offering career transition services on the Ft Hood base. It was awful. It regurgitated his military record. It was unsearchable and not targeted for the job he was ideally suited. So, he whined about paying my to rewrite it. But since I guarantee results, he ponied up the money. After rewriting it, he then went back to this private firm and had them look at it. THEY REWROTE MY REWRITTEN RESUME AND DESTROYED IT! So, the veteran was totally confused.

Then I proposed to him this deal: I told him to use the private firm's resume to find a job. I will use my rewritten resume. If he could get a job with their resume, I would refund his money. The game commenced. In 48 hours, I got him an interview. Four weeks later he came back to me asking me how to negotiate a higher salary. The moral of the story: get the military service providers out of helping the ex-military find a regular job.

Randall Scasny

http://fs5consulting.com

Comment by Amy Ala on May 2, 2012 at 9:46am
Randall you are so right. I worked alongside both TAP and ACAP and both are ill equipped to help folks transition to the civilian workforce. Sad.

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