Attracting and Sourcing Veterans—Help for corporations looking for the right veteran for the job

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military people in uniform walking then transitioning to civilian professional attire. Side view.

By Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

Some organizations, such as TriWest, GAE, and the Combined Insurance Company of America, appoint a key veteran staff member to lead efforts in recruiting high-potential veteran candidates transitioning from military service to the private sector. This person understands military and corporate culture and can help HR and hiring managers understand military culture and service.

However, general recruiting efforts may not reach prospective employees with disabilities, so advertising with disability organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, and disability-related job fairs are good ways to reach potential employees with disabilities.

Another means for attracting veterans is to develop marketing materials that help translate and transfer military skills/experience into civilian job responsibilities. Organizations that have focused veteran recruiting strategies leverage military classification codes in their application materials and jobs postings. These codes specify an individual’s job and rank, and often include additional qualifications, such as languages or specialized training.

Numerous organizations offer specialized websites for veterans, including AT&T, Amazon, Disney, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Sodexo, T-Mobile, and Walmart Inc. Military recruitment channels, career fairs, and other similar events are additional avenues where businesses can share their employment opportunities and veterans can explore whether there’s a match with their skills and experience. Businesses can showcase their job opportunities along with the benefits of joining their organization, while veterans have the opportunity to demonstrate they are some of the most qualified talent in the nation.

Partnerships with business and trade associations represent another important channel for recruiting veteran talent, as well as a means for communicating the value of veterans in the workforce. Leveraging community collaboration and networking with other firms are excellent means for sourcing veterans. Encouraging inter- and intra-industry collaboration to identify and utilize the most comprehensive military skills translators creates more effective placement. The 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of 41 companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020, is an example of private-sector collaboration contributing to improved recruiting practices and outcomes.

JPMorgan Chase has instituted a “High-Touch Gold Desk,” where recruiters respond to any veteran applicant within five days of receiving the individual’s application for employment. This high-touch approach is positioned to support veterans in finding the right opportunity at JPMorgan Chase, based on the applicant’s experiences and qualifications. In addition, this personal response to each and every applicant has the benefit of helping the company’s HR staff become better educated as to how military skills and experiences correlate to the firm’s different work roles. The program functions by utilizing integrated, regional teams that map veteran applications against available positions at the firm. Using those maps, the teams are able to identify positions across the firm that best match the veteran’s skills profile. This results in a process that aligns the veteran with an opportunity where he or she is most likely to find success and also facilitates an approach to recruitment and hiring that looks across lines of business, as opposed to within a given organizational silo.

Other examples of focused military recruiting are at BAE and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. BAE provides career pathways for wounded warriors through its Warrior Integration Program (WIP), which is specifically designed to identify, hire, and develop qualified wounded veterans into valuable employees. Lockheed participates in the Army Partnership for Youth Success Program (PaYS), which allows those who serve our country to plan in advance to explore private-sector job opportunities. The program gives new soldiers the opportunity to select a job with a PaYS partner during the time of enlistment. After the position has been selected, a Statement of Understanding is signed, and the PaYS employer/partner promises to interview the returning solider, as long as he or she receives an honorable discharge, is otherwise qualified, and a job vacancy exists.

Many companies, including Walmart, leverage campus recruiting and veteran service organizations, such as the Student Veterans of American (SVA). Ernst & Young organizes veteran internship fairs at schools, while AT&T leverages internships that provide veterans job shadowing opportunities.

Following are other resources positioned to support employers with veteran-focused recruiting and onboarding initiatives.

U.S. DOL Vet Employment (VETS)

VETS proudly serves veterans and service members by providing resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to obtain careers, employment opportunities, and employment rights, as well as information on transition programs. VETS offers a multitude of resources for veterans looking for jobs.

Joining Forces

Joining Forces is a great resource and offers some of the nation’s top job resources for veterans and employers, such as access to the Veterans Job Bank, links to employment tools, like My Next Move for Veterans, and many more.

Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

This event includes military-friendly employers that represent thousands of available job opportunities for veterans.

U.S. Veterans Pipeline

An effort of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the U.S. Veterans Pipeline is a talent networking and career management platform that allows users to connect directly to peers, companies, jobs, schools, education programs, and more.

Gold Card Initiative

This joint initiative between DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and VETS provides post-9/11 era veterans with intensive and follow-up services, necessary for success in today’s job market. Eligible veterans can present their Gold Card at any One-Stop Career Center to obtain enhanced intensive services that include up to six months of follow-up, job readiness assessment, referral to job banks, and much more.

100,000 Jobs Mission

JPMorgan Chase and the other founding corporation/coalition members are committed to working together, sharing best recruiting and employment practices, and reporting hiring results.

Hero Health Hire

This initiative is a gathering place where business leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens can learn, share information, and commit to helping our nation’s disabled veterans find and retain meaningful employment. This initiative provides information, tools, and guidance for recruiting, hiring, training, and supporting disabled veterans in the workplace.

Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA (Hire Heroes) is dedicated to creating job opportunities for U.S. military veterans and their spouses through personalized employment training and corporate engagement.

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

Offers virtual and in-person meetings or webinars, helping military spouses with resumes, employment resources, training to update skill sets, and assistance in finding employment resources in their current location or the area to which they’re relocating.

Source: toolkit.vets.syr.edu

Veterans Business Battle seeks entrepreneurs for 2021 competition

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man with microphone pitching his business idea

Rice University’s business competition geared for military veterans has new benefits for entrepreneurs who apply for a spot in the 2021 event.

Applications are open for Veterans Business Battle, an event that gives military veterans an opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of investors for a chance at investments, business partnerships, and prize money. In the last seven years, more than $3.5 million of investments have been funded through the program, with more from the 2020 virtual event still in negotiations. Early-stage businesses and existing companies needing growth capital are both encouraged to apply.

This year, Veterans Business Battle has partnered with NextSeed Securities, a registered broker dealer and FINRA member that works with startups and small businesses to raise capital through an online investment platform (nextseed.com). Businesses invited to present at the 2021 Veterans Business Battle will undergo due diligence screening by NextSeed. Vetted companies will be featured on a dedicated online platform allowing individuals from the general public to make investments in those companies.

“Last year’s online-only event gave us an opportunity to think of ways to engage new investors and expand our audience. We’re excited to increase opportunities for our finalists and grow our network of investors,” event co-chair Matt Wilson said.

The 2021 event will also feature educational panels from another new partner organization, Warrior Rising. The non-profit supports veterans and veteran families achieve business success through education, training, and one-on-one mentorship. Cash prizes will be awarded, with $15,000 prize for first place, $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for third place.

The event is hosted by Rice Business Veterans Association, a student organization for military veterans at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

To apply, applicants must submit a business plan on the competition website, vetbizbattle.org, by Feb. 5. Businesses must have an honorably discharged veteran or active duty founder and equity holder who is running the venture.

Finalists will be invited to make their business pitch April 23-24 at Rice University. Those interested in competing should visit vetbizbattle.org.

Veterans Business Battle was established in 2015 by a group of Houston entrepreneurs and the Rice Business Veterans Association. The competition aims to foster entrepreneurship among veterans, grow veteran-owned businesses and give back to veterans seeking to make a difference in the business world. For more information, visit vetbizbattle.org.

Navy veteran utilizes leadership to trailblaze landscape architecture field

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Roberto Rovira headshot standing outside with greenery in the background

It may be hard to imagine how a former mechanical engineer and U.S. naval officer would eventually pursue landscape architecture as a career.

In the 25 years since he began his professional journey in this field, chair of the FIU Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design, Roberto Rovira, discovered that the path into landscape architecture is rarely a straight line.

After serving in active duty, first sailing the Atlantic on the Chilean tall ship Esmeralda as a liaison officer, and then on the mighty USS Thach in the Pacific, South China Sea, Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf during the tense years of the Desert Storm and Desert Shield conflicts, he finished his military service honorably with a hunger for more culture and education.

Fast-forward to today, Rovira has now been appointed as the vice president of leadership for the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF). The LAF is a Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit organization, that, through its programs and initiatives, works to increase the capacity, influence and impact of landscape architects to create a more sustainable, just and resilient future. Rovira was previously in the LAF board of directors and formerly served as vice president of research.

As an organization dedicated to the research, scholarship and leadership in the field, the LAF brings together leaders, innovators, critical thinkers, makers, builders and industry professionals focused on bringing about positive change through its commitment to sustainable landscape solutions and its support for the development of emerging student leaders and young professionals.

“My selection as V.P. of leadership at the Landscape Architecture Foundation gives me an opportunity to contribute to the thought leadership and the conversations that shape practice, academia and industry.” Rovira’s standpoint as a professional, teacher and administrator at FIU, with roots in Latin America, as well as a broad background that didn’t begin in landscape architecture, gives him a unique perspective.

As the largest Hispanic-serving institution of higher learning in the country and in one of the most climate-challenged and culturally diverse settings in the world, FIU prepared him to think broadly about what leadership means in this context and how adaptation can become opportunity as we face profound challenges to our communities and environments everywhere.

When asked what sparked his interest in landscape architecture and how that led him to where he was today, Rovira spoke on his heavy influence from Japan, where he had been home-ported for three years with the Navy and was forever shaped by its transcendent obsession with detail. Afterward, he entered the inactive reserve with an unparalleled appreciation for “how a vast and multi-faceted institution could adjust to complexity day in and day out through a commitment to leadership and a focus on its mission.”

This led to his studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, when he met an Austrian landscape architect who influenced him to pursue a Master of Landscape Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) years later.

View the full interview with Roberto Rovira here.

During his term as V.P. of leadership, Rovira plans to continue to set the standard for the LAF’s renowned awards programs. These programs are comprised of the LAF Fellowship for Innovation and Leadership that recognizes and rewards big ideas in landscape architecture with a $25,000 grant, and the LAF Medal and the LAF Founder’s Award that recognize significant and sustained contributions to the preservation, improvement and enhancement of the environment. He also plans to build stronger bridges that strengthen academia, industry and practice.

Rovira explained that landscape architecture is uniquely poised to rise to the challenge of this unique moment in history where environment, society, economy and health are most in need of informed and thoughtful leadership. The LAF provides a platform to create better leaders by bringing together students, educators, young professionals, industry and practice leaders.

“I look forward to leveraging my position as V.P. of leadership to make our networks between practice, academia and industry more resilient and more complementary,” he added.

See the full LAF Board of Directors here.

Free Legal Answers now offers help to veterans

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Veteran looking up something on his smartphone

The American Bar Association online program ABA Free Legal Answers, which lets qualifying users ask civil legal questions to volunteer attorneys, has expanded to offer help on immigration and veterans’ questions.

The project, called Federal Free Legal Answers, fills a critical need for legal help during the pandemic, when many lawyers cannot meet clients in person and many Americans are suffering through the recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a collaboration of the ABA Commission on Immigration, the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

The new service started this month at abafederal.freelegalanswers.org.

“Many veterans, immigrants and asylum-seekers have problems that can’t be solved easily without a lawyer’s help,” ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said. “Fortunately, they can now turn to a trusted source for help. Many volunteer lawyers are standing by, ready to assist.”

For immigrants and asylum-seekers, lawyers at Free Legal Answers can answer questions about such subjects as deportation, green cards, DACA and naturalization. For veterans, eligible dependents and survivors, lawyers can answer questions about VA benefits, discharge upgrades and other issues.

Users are pre-screened for financial eligibility and can ask up to three questions a year, or up to five during the pandemic, when needs are greater. Legal guidance takes place online and is limited to civil matters. Users cannot be serving a criminal sentence and cannot ask questions about criminal matters.

Free Legal Answers began in 2016 with a single website in Tennessee and has since expanded to 45 states and territories. To date, it has received more than 136,000 inquiries and more than 8,600 lawyers have volunteered to answer questions.

“The Free Legal Answers website is a great resource to the public,” said Jocelyn Dyer, AILA’s senior pro bono counsel. “It’s so important for people who are seeking advice to be able to get accurate answers to their questions, especially during the pandemic, when legal service providers might have more restricted hours, intake and availability.

Attorneys can volunteer at  www.ABAFreeLegalAnswers.org and selecting “Volunteer Attorney Registration.”

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

Source: American Bar Association

Feeding an army in D.C.: Chef José Andrés steps in to help feed huge influx of National Guard

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National guard wearing a black protective face mask takes a plate a food from a food booth outside Capitol Hill

By Kevin Rector LA Times

Early Saturday afternoon on a partially cordoned-off street in Washington, D.C., Peter Baca pushed a big stack of boxes containing thousands of cookies toward the doors of Jaleo, a Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant that famed chef and humanitarian José Andrés opened in 1993.

Inside, workers with World Central Kitchen — Andrés’ emergency response nonprofit — were busy assembling meals for thousands of troops guarding the city in anticipation of President-elect Biden’s inauguration Wednesday and in reaction to the pro-Trump mob that on Jan. 6 stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Baca, of the veteran-focused Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown, said his cookie gift was “a small token to say how much we appreciate their service to our country.”

Federal officials are scrambling to catch those responsible for the deadly attacks — five people, including a Capitol police officer, died — and prevent future violence by turning downtown Washington into a fortress, with more than 20,000 National Guard troops and thousands more police officers and federal agents manning roadblocks and checkpoints.

The swiftness of the mobilization resulted in less-than-perfect circumstances for the soldiers, with hundreds of Guard members forced to rest on the marble floors of the U.S. Capitol in between shifts.

World Central Kitchen’s CEO Nate Mook said when he and Andrés saw viral images of the sleeping troops, they felt like they had to do something.

“This is a situation that nobody’s had to face before; it’s being figured out minute by minute,” Mook said. “And we know — because we see this in all types of crises and emergencies — that food can sometimes be an afterthought, and sometimes people are left working long shifts without food.”

So, they reached out to government leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and offered to tap their expertise in feeding large groups of people at a moment’s notice, as they did after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017.

The officials took them up on their offer. They started handing out meals Friday night. By Saturday evening, the organization had distributed about 4,000 meals. They planned to repeat the effort Sunday, and don’t plan on halting the special mobilization until Inauguration Day, he said.

In a show of thanks, Pelosi joined Andrés on Saturday in passing out meals and thanking the troops, who seemed surprised and elated to be getting a free lunch from a famed chef instead of a pre-packaged military meal.

“This is a really difficult time; folks are working long shifts,” Mook said. “They were so happy to get some fresh food to eat.”

Photo Credit: LA Times

Read the full article on LA Times.

Surviving Your Military-To-Civilian Career Transition

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Young soldier in military wear keeping arms crossed and smiling

10 Critical Transitioning Do’s And Don’ts.

Whether you planned for it or not, you are getting out of the military. Maybe you have even already walked through that door.

Welcome to life on the civilian side—where showing your ID card means flipping out your driver’s license, and the only camouflage anyone else has ever seen is on Duck Dynasty.

Your new mission in this surreal existence?
Survive the military-to-civilian career transition. Land a great job—or at least a decent one. The following do’s and don’ts will help you.

Tip #1: Do commit to a military transition program.
Whether your branch of service knows it as TAP, TAMP or ACAP … just go to those transition assistance classes! Be open to learning something new. You have to go anyway, so you might as well try to get something useful out of it. Chances are that you only think you know everything there is to know about your potential benefits and how to conduct a job search. You don’t.

Tip #2: Do take your spouse with you to the classes.
Two heads are better than one, particularly when your head is already crowded with multiple transition to-do lists. Invite, nay, beg your spouse on bended knees, to suffer through the transition classes with you. You’ll both be glad you did in the end.

Tip #3: Don’t procrastinate starting the transition planning process.
Starting the process begins with accepting its inevitability. Denial may be a comforting concept in the short term, but in the long term, it hurts you. You are getting out. Accept it. You have a life to plan. If you wait until the last possible moment to start
thinking about it, you will risk limiting your options.

Tip #4: Do create a basic résumé you can later target to specific job openings.
If you are contemplating federal employment, you’ll need a “federal” résumé. If you are targeting jobs in private industry, you’ll want to craft a “civilian” résumé. Don’t think for a minute that one resembles the other. The transition program counselor or the employment-readiness program manager at the family service center will help you figure it all out.

Tip #5: Do learn the civilian language of your chosen industry.
You say, “reconnaissance”; civilians say, “analysis.” You say, “subordinates”; civilians say, “employees.” You get the idea.
Start to acquaint yourself with the language of your chosen civilian industry so you’ll fit in better. Join industry-focused groups on LinkedIn and learn from the discussions. Review job ads for civilian jobs that incorporate their terms. Find a mentor in your chosen career field who will enlighten you.

Tip #6: Don’t misunderstand the concept of networking.
If you think that leveraging your professional relationships is tantamount to using people for your own greedy purposes, stop. You don’t understand the true concept behind networking. Networking is a good thing. You take. You give. You grow. Repeat that mantra until you truly accept it. It’s not something you just do when you’re looking for a job, either. It’s a professional skill you develop and use throughout your entire career, in or out of uniform.

Tip #7: Do invest in civilian business attire.
The shiny, black shoes issued by Uncle Sam don’t count.
Consider the industry you’re targeting and organize your post-uniform wardrobe appropriately. Watch and learn from other civilians in the workplace.

Tip #8: Don’t put all your hopes on one employer or one specific job.
You may have your heart set on one particular employer and on one particular job. That’s fine; however, don’t limit your job search
activities because you are waiting on that opportunity to pan out. You never know when a “sure thing” will crash and burn.

Tip #9: Do focus yourself.
At the very least, know what you want to do next, where you are willing to do it, and how much salary you will need to earn.

Tip #10: Don’t settle.
You might be stressed about finding a civilian job—and that’s perfectly understandable.Nevertheless, don’t settle for the first job that comes your way just because it is offered. Think through the process before you’re forced into making a hasty decision. You may not land the perfect job right out of the gate, but at least make it a job you can be content with professionally until a better one comes along.

Maximize your use of the many no-cost veteran and career resources, which include career consulting to résumé-writing to job placements. These resources are there to help empower you to succeed in your transition from military service to civilian worker.

About the Author
Janet Farley is the author of Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job (Jist Works, Inc., 2013).
Source: Quintessential Careers

The 9 Best Job Programs for Veterans Separating in 2021

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cropped view of soldier pointing with finger at laptop in office

Originally posted on Military.com

While 2020 was a lost year for many Americans, it doesn’t have to affect separating military members in 2021. Some veterans programs reorganized their work to fit coronavirus restrictions; others shut down entirely.

But the most effective programs continued their training cycles.

In 2020, we highlighted dozens of organizations that want to train, hire or give veterans a leg up in the job market. These are just the best of the best and are in no particular order, because every veteran has different needs and goals.

Anyone leaving the military in 2021 (and beyond) who doesn’t know where to begin should definitely start here.

1. Federal Agencies

It should be no surprise that the world’s largest employer, the U.S. government, has job openings for veterans. What might be a surprise is just how many agencies want to train them first and even have a pipeline from the military to civilian service.

Whether you’re looking to fight wildfires, become a diplomat at the State Department, bust punks in America’s national parks or be on the front lines of the U.S. homeland security apparatus, there’s a program for you. And although there is no pipeline, veterans preference will still give you an edge when applying to the FBI or even the CIA.

There are also opportunities for wannabe truck drivers through the Department of Transportation, paid internships for would-be park rangers and more.

2. BAE Systems’ Warrior Integration Program (WIP)

For anyone who’s ever wanted to work for an American defense contractor but didn’t know how to get their foot in the door, this is the jobs program for you. BAE wants veterans to apply before they even leave the military (separated veterans are still welcome) so they can start job training right away.

The program offers on-the-job training at a real BAE location, along with mentorship, guidance through the transitioning process and (of course) a paycheck for three years while learning the job. When your time in the WIP is up, you will be a full BAE Systems employee, just like your coworkers.

Read: This Company Is Now Giving a Total Transition and Jobs Program to Separating Military Members

BAE Systems currently has Warrior Integration Program openings in New Hampshire, Alabama and Texas, but even if you don’t live there, you can still apply.

3. Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS)

Dr. Arthur Langer is a Columbia University professor who runs the nonprofit Workforce Opportunity Services. The company brings together major employers such as Prudential, General Electric and HBO, companies that need to fill critical roles. WOS then trains military veterans to fill those positions. From mechanics to Java developers, WOS has a 90% retention rate in U.S. companies.

Read: This Nonprofit Created a Pipeline System for Training and Placing Veterans in Jobs

Any business in America is welcome to come to WOS to fill its vacancies, and any veteran in America is welcome to come find job training and a place to work.

4. Microsoft

Any veteran who’s eager to join the best technical industry in the world but doesn’t know how to guarantee themselves a job should look no further than Microsoft. The tech giant looks to skilled, mature veterans to fill out its critical vacancies through the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA).

Read: Why Corporate Skills Training May Be More Valuable Than a Degree for Veterans

It’s an 18-week “reskilling” program that teaches advanced technical functions in high demand right now. At the end of the program, students will have the chance to interview with Microsoft or other tech giants in need of those valuable skills. Graduates of the program have an 80% retention rate, even without a traditional four-year degree — that’s the benefit of reskilling.

5. Army Career Skills Program (CSP)

Soldiers interested in finding a new career after the Army can look into the Career Skills Program as a means of getting that guaranteed job after leaving the military — and learn their new career while still getting that military paycheck.

Read: This Army Job Training Program Has a 93% Success Rate

Why would the Army pay soldiers to learn to leave? Because the 210 different programs offered by the Army CSP are all critical job functions the service can’t live without, but also can’t seem to find the people to do the job. Who better to work for Big Army than its former soldiers? It’s like living the Army life without the looming threat from the Green Weenie. Soldiers can choose from a slew of jobs, from auto repair to solar energy.

6. Workshops for Warriors

Hernán Luis y Prado of San Diego is a Navy veteran and the founder of Workshop for Warriors. He noticed a distinct lack of skilled trades in the American workforce, a lack he believes could cripple the American economy when the older generation of skilled tradesmen retires. So he started a nonprofit training organization designed to put veterans in those trades.

Read: ‘Workshops for Warriors’ Is Intense, Effective Training for Skilled Manufacturing Jobs

Unlike some of other programs, Workshops for Warriors requires a fee (learning or teaching a skilled trade isn’t cheap), but is covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The program has a 95% success rate in training and job placement, perfect for any veteran who wants to work with their hands.

7. Carrus

For both military members and spouses interested in health care jobs, Carrus is the place to start. CEO Misty Frost loves the mature soft skills that veterans bring to the industry when starting civilian careers, and that all the hard skills of the health care industry can be taught. So that’s what Carrus is doing.

Read: The Health Care Industry Is Looking for Vets. Here’s How to Get Free Training.

A grant from the Army Credentialing Assistance Program (ACA) allowed Carrus to expand its no-cost, short-term training program for military members and spouses. Anyone interested in free training for a new career in the health care industry should visit CareerStep.com’s Military Page to sign up for more information in the “request info” area of the page.

Read the full article on Military.com.

Operation Coming Home Gifts War Veteran with Mattamy Home

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Service-disabled war veteran stands with family and friends in side the livingroom of his new home

The recipient of Hero Home 23, Marine Staff Sgt. Matthew Polizzi was surprised with the ultimate gift, just in time for Christmas.

Polizzi and his family have been selected to receive a brand new Mattamy home for free through Operation Coming Home.

Polizzi served for fourteen years, deployed four times, and received the Purple Heart from an injury in Afghanistan. Together, Polizzi and his wife have three children, all under the age of 10. For the past 10 years, they have constantly moved, having lived in eight different homes during the time span.

Operation Coming Home has been building Hero Homes since 2008 in Wake County through a partnership with the Home Builders Association of Raleigh and Wake County and the US Veterans Corps.

“Since Operation Coming Home began in 2008, our team has had the privilege to support and contribute to this exceptional cause,” said Bob Wiggins, President of Mattamy’s Raleigh Division. “Operation Coming Home is a project that the Mattamy team in Raleigh is very passionate about. It is an amazing feeling being able to give something as special as a home to individuals who have risked their lives to protect our freedom.”

Mattamy Homes will build Hero Home 23, located in one of the Division’s newest communities, Oak Park in Garner, North Carolina. This is the second home donated by Mattamy Homes and the 10th from the Royal Oaks team, which was acquired by Mattamy Homes in 2017.

“The Polizzi family’s new home will be conveniently located in the desirable area of White Oak,” said Donna Kemp, Vice President of Sales for Mattamy Homes. “We’ve chosen a beautiful home site for the family, and they get to come in and choose all design selections and personalize the home just for them. It’s humbling and extremely rewarding to give back, especially to a deserving veteran and his family. To be able to provide a life changing gift such as a home is an amazing feeling.”

Polizzi and his unit were on a security patrol in Afghanistan in 2010 when they came under heavy enemy fire. Polizzi quickly created and detonated a bomb that saved his entire unit, allowing them to pass only later to come under fire again. Polizzi was shot in the leg. He was treated for five weeks at an airbase, then finished his deployment.

The Polizzi family’s new home is anticipated to begin construction in February 2021 and be ready for move-in during the summer of 2021.

About Operation Coming Home

Operation Coming Home (OCH) is a partnership between members of the Triangle Veterans Association (TVA) and the Home Builders Association of Raleigh/Wake County. Made up of Veterans and non-Veterans, this team is honoring the sacrifices of the severely wounded Veterans of recent Middle Eastern Wars by building custom homes for them, at no charge.

About Mattamy Homes

Mattamy Homes is the largest privately owned homebuilder in North America, with 40-plus years of history across the United States and Canada. Every year, Mattamy helps more than 8,000 families realize their dream of home ownership. In the United States, the company is represented in 11 markets – Dallas, Charlotte, Raleigh, Phoenix, Tucson, Jacksonville, Orlando (where its US head office is located), Tampa, Sarasota, Naples and Southeast Florida – and in Canada, its communities stretch across the Greater Toronto Area, as well as in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. Visit www.mattamyhomes.com for more information.

Retired US Army Officer Says Background Will Aid Success in New Career With the #1 Home Inspection Company

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veteran stands in front of his work truck vehicle outside

As a retired Army officer, Apache helicopter pilot and an aviation inspector, Jim Mulvehill is more than prepared for his next venture as one of the newest franchise owners with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®, the No. 1 home inspection company in North America.

The Palm Coast resident serves homebuyers and sellers throughout Flagler, St Johns and Putnam counties, in Florida and works in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach, Beverly Beach, Crescent City, Palatka, Bunnell and St Augustine.

Mulvehill, who previously spent 24 years as an Army aviator and aviation inspector and then worked oversees with US military allies in training and standardization, expects that experience to play an important role in his new position as a small business owner with the most respected brand in the home inspection industry. “My previous experience in the inspection of aviation facilities and supervising inspection teams will be beneficial to me in my role with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors as I help new homebuyers in understanding what to look for in purchasing a new home,” Mulvehill said.

According to Pillar To Post Home Inspectors President and CEO Dan Steward, “We are rolling out some pretty amazing technologies that will be in full swing by spring 2021 for all Pillar To Post Home Inspections. One of these will be the PTP360 tour. It will also be available with a floor plan. It is a great new innovation – fast-tracked to completion for COVID-19 response – but in the long term, a huge help for busy, professional Realtors; saving time, better serving their seller and giving prospective buyers a far better experience. Buyers can view anytime they wish, stay if they like, share with friends and family, share with contractors to get an estimate and even get a measured floor plan to help with furniture planning, etc. This is a brilliant experience.”

The company has achieved the highest standings in various rankings of “Best in Category,” “Top 20 Franchises to Buy,” “Top 10 Global Franchises” and “Top Franchises for Veterans” in addition to achieving 5-Star status with VetFran, a program offered by the International Franchise Association that provides discounted franchise fees to veterans. A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 9 years in a row and appeared in the ranking for 24 years. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit www.pillartopostfranchise.com.

Ray Chavez, Oldest Pearl Harbor Vet, Will Get Post Office Dedicated in His Honor

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Ray Chavez, oldest Pearl Harbor vet, smiles at 106th birhday party wearing a lei

By Brenda Gregorio-Nieto and NBC 7 Staff

Ray Chavez, the oldest veteran survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor will have a San Diego post office dedicated in his honor after congress passed a bill introduced last year by Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52).

The bill, H.R. 3005, was proposed to rename the Poway Post Office on 13308 Midland Rd. as the “Ray Chavez Post Office Building” in honor of the American hero who died in 2018 at the age of 106.

The bill was recently signed by President Trump after it passed in both the House and Senate without amendment, and with unanimous consent.

“When I found out he was the oldest [Pearl Harbor] survivor in the country, passed away in November [2018], I thought, what a fine tribute this would be not just to him and his family and his community, but to all the veterans who served,” Peters said last year.

Chavez’s daughter, U.S. Navy veteran Kathleen Chavez, said her father would have been humbled by the honor, just as he was in life when he received attention for his service.

Read the full article onNBC Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: NBC LA

How this single mom went from serving overseas to opening her own gelato shop

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Thereasa Black in military uniform holds her young daughter in her arms with the Pentagon sign in the background

This gelato shop isn’t only known for its healthy take on the popular dessert. It’s also owned by a female Black veteran.

Thereasa Black is the founder and CEO of Amore Congelato, a Virginia-based gelato shop that prides itself on using healthy ingredients. Inside its doors, date sweetener and coconut sugar replace cane sugar, some flavors are packed with 24 grams of protein and oat milk is offered.

Black, who plans to change the name of her business to Bon Appésweet, opened shop last December just before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the United States. While thousands of local businesses were forced to close down, she stayed optimistic.

“Honestly, I’m not afraid at all. It’s crazy to say, right?” she told “Good Morning America.” “Because my product, people love it and people are going to buy it.”

Being a small business owner during the pandemic is hardly the first challenge Black has faced. As a single mother, Black woman, Navy veteran, author and law school graduate, she is all too familiar with overcoming challenges.

Black grew up in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where she said she experienced discrimination at a young age. She remembers elementary school teachers excluding her from advanced classes despite her good grades, being the only girl on the football team and getting chased down the street by two white men in a pickup truck one night.

“My drive comes from a place of pain — a place where I cannot let other people define who I’m going to be,” she said. “When your whole life is people telling you that you’re not enough, you have to prove everybody wrong.”

Black went to college and joined the Navy. After a few tours of service, she enrolled at George Washington Law School to become a public defender.

Black became pregnant with her daughter during her third year at George Washington. She said the father didn’t want to be in the picture, but Black still had Isabella and finished school in 2017, documenting her progress through a series of YouTube videos called “Single, Pregnant & in Law School.”

Then, the week after completing her bar exam, she was called back into service and had to leave Isabella at home with her cousin, Vaughn Black. She packed her bags, baked her daughter an ice cream cake for her birthday and kissed Isabella goodbye.

She had heard of how hard distant military parenting can be and braced for being oceans away from her 2-year-old.

“None of the roadblocks I’ve hit, and none of the hurdles I’ve had to go over, compared to what I did during that deployment,” she said.

Despite crying in bed every night, Black called home daily.

“There was a handful of days, and when I say handful, I mean you could count them on one hand, when Thereasa missed it,” said Vaughn Black. “The effort I saw from her, from another country, a lot of the times I see none of that from people that live right in the same neighborhood.”

After six months overseas, Black knew that returning to be a lawyer would only make her too busy to spend time with her daughter.

Whatever she would end up doing, it had to be about Isabella.

Interested in entrepreneurship, she bounced business ideas off family and friends before deciding on gelato — a reminder of the ice cream cake she made for Isabella.

Not only would she cook all of Isabella’s meals from scratch, given her daughter’s soy allergies, but she also baked cookies for her fellow sailors overseas.

Continue on to GMA to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: GMA

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