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The Buzz Archive

Previous Buzz Items: 2014

  • Trying to Access FVE e-Learning Training? If you recently attended a Facilitary Veteran Employment class, you were provided a link to a e-learning component to complete. You will no longer need to complete that training and you'll notice the link has been disabled. The good news is that the materials covered in the training (ADA and facilitation skills) will be updated and presented in a future e-learning training update. Details coming soon!

  • Study: Women Veterans - The Long Journey Home - Check out this DAV report exploring gaps for women in health care, transition services, disability compensation, employment and housing.

    The research reveals that America’s nearly 300,000 women veterans are put at risk by a system designed for and dominated by male veterans.

    This report paints a compelling picture of federal agencies and community service providers that consistently fail to understand that women are impacted by military service and deployment differently than men. And it points to changes that are needed in the overall culture and services provided by the federal government and local communities, listing 27 specific recommendations

    [Link to study...]

  • Help for Long-Term Unemployed - DOL announced new grants for programs to help Americans who have been unemployed for a while:

    The U.S. Department of Labor today announced $169,771,960 in grants to expedite the employment of Americans struggling with long-term unemployment. The grants are part of the Ready to Work Partnership initiative to support and scale innovative collaborations between employers, nonprofit organizations and federal job training programs to help connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

    "There's no question that individuals struggling with long-term unemployment are better off than they were 12 months ago, but there are still twice as many of them as there were before the recession. The constant struggle to find work has left many of them feeling discouraged and disregarded," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "The federal grants we're awarding today are part of a series of administration initiatives designed to help encourage, empower and employ this pool of talented individuals."

    [Link to complete press release...]

  • Retrain American Readies Veterans for Oil & Gas Jobs - America's shale boom is proving a great opportunity for veterans seeking to participate in these high paying careers. See this recent online article:

    Veterans are valuable workers for oil-and-gas companies because they have transferable skills that appeal to employers, veterans advocates say. They are no strangers to working long hours at remote locations, such as drill sites, or being away from their families for weeks at a time.

    “The traits that the military imparts on the men and women — loyalty, courage, safety, commitment, leadership, teamwork — are all valued by employers in this industry,” said Dave Pistner, director of energy initiatives at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport. “It’s a natural fit for our troops leaving active service.”

    [Link to article...]

    From the Retrain America website:

    Retrain America, founded in 2009 was forged in response to our nation’s need for a new skilled workforce. Over the past five years, Retrain America has conducted numerous workforce development campaigns geared at preparing qualified blue collar workers and Veterans for high wage career opportunities.

    Retrain America provides technical and safety programs focused on fast tracked workforce retraining for in-demand industry. Our programs offer a comprehensive college-level education that focuses on equipment, operations, and theory, but are delivered in a manner catered to non-traditional students with little to no post-secondary education. With the understanding that people learn in different ways, we take a blended learning approach that covers each subject in multiple ways. Whether we are bringing existing employees (from entry level to engineer) up to speed on the latest safety standards and operational procedures, or retraining blue collar workers and Veterans for a new and exciting career path, Retrain America is delivering the highest quality training programs in the world.

    [Link to: Retrain America]

  • Virtual Job Scout - Traditional job fairs have involved face-to-face, in-person contact between job seekers and employers. But what about a virtual fair? Check out what Virtual Job Scout, in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes, is trying.

    Virtual Job Scout allows veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses to connect with recruiters from Fortune 500 companies and small- and medium sized businesses like never before. Whether you are a military caregiver with a hectic schedule or a newly separated veteran living in a rural area—no matter where you are in the world—Virtual Job Scout places job opportunities at your fingertips.

    [Link to Virtual Job Scout...]


  • HUD, VA and USICH Announce 33% Drop in Veteran Homelessness Since 2010 - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released a new national estimate of veteran homelessness in the United States. Data collected during the annual Point-in-Time Count conducted in January 2014 shows there were 49,933 homeless veterans in America, a decline of 33 percent (or 24,837 people) since 2010. This includes a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of veterans sleeping on the street.

    HUD, VA, USICH, and local partners have used evidenced-based practices like Housing First and federal resources like HUD-VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) to get veterans off the street and into stable housing as quickly as possible. Since 2008, the HUD-VASH program has served a total of 74,019 veterans.

    [Link to: Press Release]

  • VA Announces New Grants to Help End Veterans Homelessness - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald announced the award of approximately $300 million in grants that will help approximately 115,000 homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families. The grants will be distributed to 301 community agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

    Under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is awarding grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide services to very low-income Veteran families living in – or transitioning to – permanent housing. Those community organizations provide a range of services that promote housing stability among eligible very low income Veteran families (those making less than 50 percent of the area median income). The grants announced today will fund the fourth year of the SSVF program.

    [Link to: Press Release]

  • Employer Roadmap to Hiring Veterans - In an effort to overcome the challenges between veterans and hiring manager, "Employer Roadmap" was created by the Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) and USAA. The free online resource was designed to help employers navigate the divide between wanting to hire veterans, but are unsure of how to do it.

    From a recent Forbes.com article:

    “There’s really no one-size-fits-all approach to helping companies recruit, hire, and retain veteran talent,” said Eversole. “This allows businesses to self-asses, and then we can deliver more customizable solutions.”

    Employer Roadmap provides a variety of resources for employers of all sizes and levels of experience with hiring veterans, guiding users down pathways for those who feel they need to prepare to hire veterans, those who are ready to begin actively recruiting candidates, and those who want to “empower” other businesses to hire veterans. Articles and case studies are available, as well as action plans–executable check lists on topics including “How To Get To Know Veterans & Spouses” and “How To Train & Educate”.

    “There’s a misunderstanding of what employers can bring to the table for veterans and what veterans can bring to the table for employers,” said Geoff Grant, USAA program director and a veteran of the U.S. Army. ”We make a lot of accommodations for college grads, this is another talent pool just like that. They have such valuable skills, ‘I led 15 troops through combat missions.’ How do we accommodate that?”

    [Forbes.com article: Employer Roadmap Aims To Better Connect Companies With Veterans, Spouses]

    [Link to Employer Roadmap...]

  • National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics - Check it out! This VA site contains tons of data, stats and reports about veterans.

    The National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (NCVAS) supports planning, analysis, and decision-making activities through the collection, validation, analysis, and dissemination of key statistics on Veteran population and VA programs.

    [NCVAS Link...]

  • Veterans to Save $$ on College - The President signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which allows veterans and their dependents to pay in-state tuition in any public university in the country.

    The bill also expands survivor benefits and improves care for veterans struggling with traumatic brain injury and for victims of sexual assault.

    [Link to: Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014...]

  • Stand Down Planning - Do you have all the planning materials you'll need for your Stand Down event? Find lots of help at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans' Stand Down page. Be sure to scroll down and see what Stand Downs are planned around the country.

    [NCHV Stand Down Planning and Schedule...]

    VA also maintains a page of planned events

    [VA's page for Stand Down Schedule...]

  • Veteran Entrepreneur Program Seminars a Big Hit - All over Texas special seminars are offered for veterans and their spouses who want specialized entrepreneurship information.

    Veteran Entrepreneur Program (VEP) representative Duncan McGhee said the program came into being after "we identified a gap in the quality of jobs being offered and the skills of veterans, and leveraged the experience of in-house personnel to bridge that gap via entrepreneurship."

    VEP launched as a pilot in April 2012 and was made an official program when Governor Perry signed SB 1476 into law on Memorial Day, 2013. Since its inception, the Veteran Entrepreneur Program has assisted more than 2,000 veterans toward entrepreneurship.

    Attendance has been phenomenal, with about 170 veterans and spouses each session. McGhee said, "One interesting note is 11% of veterans in the state are female, but 24% of seminar participants are female veterans." This year 6-8 seminars will be offered and possibly more in 2015 if additional funding becomes available.

    This program is a great example of identifying a need and matching it up with the right resources!

  • Ready to Work Information and Report - From the WhiteHouse.gov site, comes information about the Ready to Work initiative:

    If you're ready to work, you should be able to find a job that fits your skills, or get trained with the skills you need for a better job.

    In his 2014 State of the Union address, the President tasked Vice President Biden with leading a review of federal employment and training programs, with the aim of making them more job-driven. That review is complete, and now that the White House has identified what is working across the country, the aim is to multiply those shining examples. The Vice President’s report highlights successful job-driven training strategies, details executive actions that are being taken by the federal government, and new commitments by employers, non-profits, unions and innovators to help spread what’s working and to support more Americans in getting and moving up in in-demand jobs and careers.

    [Ready to Work Page...]
    [Ready to Work Fact Sheet...]

  • Military Occupations Updated in O*NET Websites - The Military Occupational Classification (MOC) crosswalk has been updated by the Department of Defense (April 2014) and incorporated into O*NET OnLine and My Next Move for Veterans. Over 10,000 MOC occupations are linked to related O*NET-SOC occupations. The crosswalk is supplemented with data from the Army COOL and Navy COOL projects. Transitioning military personnel can use their military code or title to discover related civilian occupations/careers within O*NET Online's Military Crosswalk Search or My Next Move for Veterans' Military Transition Search.

  • Resumes 101 - Check out CareerBuilder's The Work Buzz article with their best advice for great resumes and ideas on what not to do on resumes.

    [Resumes 101 link...]

  • H2H Career Assessment Tool - Need to help veterans figure out a career path based on their interests? Have them take this 36-question assessment to get started. This tool is hosted on the ESGR Hero2Hired website.

    [H2H Career Assessment Tool...]

  • Employment Situation of Veterans 2013 - The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their employment review for veterans for 2013. From the report:

    The unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001--a group referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans--edged down to 9.0 percent in 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The jobless rate for all veterans also edged down to 6.6 percent.

    [Read Summary (with links to full report)...]


  • NVTI's New Core Classes Go Live - Lots of great changes are happening at NVTI to support our customers who help veterans! Three new courses have been created to incorporate all the recent changes and updates to the JVSG program. The new classes will be offered starting in June.

    Click on the class names below to learn more about the individual courses.

    Facilitating Veteran Employment (FVE) - replaces Labor & Employment Specialist training

    Intensive Services (IS) - replaces the Case Management course

    Employer Outreach (EO) - replaces Promoting Partnerships for Employers

    Those who have already completed their required training are not required to take the new courses, but are encouraged to take the new courses, including the pre-2006 hires. We particularly value their experienced input. Your state scheduling official will know if/when you'll be able to come to the new trainings.

  • NVTI's Orientation to Veteran Services eLearning Site Updated - One of NVTI's most popular eLearning and resource sites, Orientation to Veteran Services (OVS), has undergone a major makeover! The recent refocusing efforts of the JVSG program have been incorporated into this exciting new OVS experience.

    Explore the following topics:
    - History of DOL and VETS
    - VETS Programs and Flow Chart
    - NVTI History and Purpose
    - An Overview of "Preparing Veterans for Meaningful Careers" eLearning Experience
    - NVTI Core Class Descriptions
    - Basic Travel Information (for traveling to Denver for NVTI training)
    - Bookshelf Demo (learn how to access resources)
    - Resources

    Newly hired DVOP specialists and LVER staff are especially encouraged to take the OVS training, but current veterans employment staff will also benefit from all the updated materials.

    [Orientation to Veteran Services link...]

  • New eBenefit's Veterans Employment Center - A new online resource, the Veterans Employment Center has officially launched! The site is the first interagency tool to bring both public and private job opportunities, a resume-builder, military skills translator and detailed career and training resources together in one place.

    This new eBenefits feature incorporates numerous tools and resources for job seekers, as well as employers who want high quality applicants. Veterans, service members and their spouses or dependents, who are looking for work, transitioning out of the military or changing careers are encouraged to utilize the Veterans Employment Center. Users can use the Skills Translator function to translate military terms to civilian skills or just go right to the Resume Builder tool. Resumes created on the site will be available to private and public sector employers who specifically want to hire veterans.

    [Veterans Employment Center then click on the Employment Center tab on the top navigation bar...]

    [Employment Center Training Instructions...]

    [eBenefits Fact Sheet...]

  • Soft Skills in Resumes - A recent CareerBuilder.com survey found that employers felt soft skills are just as important as hard skills on a resume. Check out the survey below.

    [Soft Skills survey...]

  • Veterans Career Services Initiative - Check out this great information for helping veterans, service members and their spouses prepare for jobs in health information technology careers!

    HIMSS, in collaboration with Bellevue College and the United States Department of Labor, Education and Training Administration, is committed to assisting our veteran population gain knowledge of professional development and employment opportunities within Health Information Technology (IT).  The goal of the Veterans Career Services initiative is to welcome transitioning military veterans into the health IT field - a growing and promising area for technologically-adept veterans.

    HIMSS reports that jobs within health IT, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, are expected to grow upwards of 21% over the next 5 years and many of our transitioning military are tech-savvy and may already possess skills that would be transferable to jobs in health IT. 

    [Link to site...]

  • Learn How to Become - For those changing careers (or just starting out) and wondering what is needed to be successful in certain fields, check out the "Learn How to Become" online guide. Insight is provided into 45 of today's most popular career fields, including accounting, engineering, medical assisting, nursing, firefighting, financial advising and teaching. 

    Each career has its own customized "how-to" guide, which starts by addressing important questions such as "What does a medical assistant do?" and "What skills are needed to succeed?"  The guide dissects each of the educational and professional steps needed to enter the field, including coursework in high school, a college degree, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and professional exams and certifications.

    [Learn How to Become...]

  • GI Bill Comparison Tool - Find information online about Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and the schools and training programs available to education beneficiaries with a new VA tool.

    Before this GI Bill Comparison Tool launched, estimating how much beneficiaries may receive under the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit was challenging. Many beneficiaries provided this feedback to the GI Bill Facebook page. The new comparison tool makes it easy to estimate Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits with just one click.

    In addition, users can find and compare information on 10,000+ approved education and training programs, including estimated tuition and fee amounts and projected housing allowances. Also available are each school’s graduation rate, student loan default rate and Yellow Ribbon participation. Together, the GI Bill benefit estimator and school comparison information enable students to compare education options and make the best decision for their future.

    [Information excerpted from VAntage Point blog]

    [Link to GI Bill Comparison Tool]

  • DVOP/LVER Locator Discontinued - Because of the difficulty in keeping veterans employment staff and office information up-to-date, the decision has been made by VETS to discontinue offering the DVOP/LVER Locator listing. The best resource will be to refer veterans and employers to the www.servicelocator.org site or to call 1-877-348-0502 so they can find local offices and staff assistance near them.

  • Veterans are Succeeding in College - Veterans attending post-secondary schools have many challenges to overcome as they try to earn degrees: most are older than traditional students, often have families and jobs to consider while attending school and may be dealing with physical and emotional difficulties associated with their service. To find out how these student veterans are doing, The Million Records Project was envisioned, planned, and implemented by Student Veterans of America. A report was released recently which shows that 51.7 percent of student veterans in the report sample have earned a post-secondary degree or certificate.

    [Read summary or full report...]

  • mySkills myFuture - Check out the CareerOneStop's "my Skills My Future" feature to find new career options to explore based on past jobs and skills. Enter a current or past job and you'll get back other job fields that your skills may transfer to, job openings in a specific location, salary ranges and education needed.

    [Go to site...]

  • VRAP Reminder - VA’s authority to issue payments under Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) ends March 31, 2014. To ensure payment for current enrollment periods, VA School Certifying Officials should submit all enrollment certifications no later than March 17, 2014. Enrollments will not be accepted after that date. Go to the VA's VRAP Information page for all the specifics.

    [Go to article...]

  • When Veterans Enter the Job Market - Check out this recent article posted on the Wall Street Journal's webpage. Suggestions are made for aligning military experience with what employers want.

    After 15 years defending the cyber front lines for the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Michael Gdula figured his experience would make it easy to land an information-technology security job in the private sector. But even with years of experience consulting for International Business Machines, IBM -0.63% his résumé wasn't getting the response he'd expected.

    [Go to article...]

  • Home Depot Community - Home improvement and construction products retailer, The Home Depot, has long been a military-friendly employer. Did you know they also have a sub-site for veterans and military members? And that they have a new online community called HomeTown, just for veterans to use during their career search by giving them a place to network and have live conversations with recruiters? Veterans can also access a skills translator function to help demilitarize their resumes. Check out these great, proactive sites that your veteran customers will be able to use.

    [Go to Homedepotmilitary.com...]
    [Go to Homedepotcommunity.com...]

  • Interview Blunders - Learn from others' mistakes, especially when it comes to goofing up in a job interview. Check out these blunders and suggestions from staff at CareerBuilder's The Work Buzz.

    [Go to article...]

  • Therapy Dogs Helping Veterans at CU Denver - Research has shown the positive impact of using animals in therapy and counseling situations. Read all about how dogs are being used to help student veterans at CU Denver and also learn about research being conducted at the university.

    [Link to article...]

  • Stand Down Training Webinars - The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) is conducting two webinars in March to provide information about developing, planning and financing a Stand Down.

    [Go to site...]

  • Upcoming OFCCP Webinars - The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has announced its schedule for a series of webinars to educate federal contractors and subcontractors on the requirements of the new VEVRAA and Section 503 regulations. The webinar sessions will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time on the dates listed on the OFCCP website.

    [Go to site...]

  • VA GI Bill Feedback System - VA has implemented a process to submit feedback, including complaints, about users' issues regarding their school or employers. Only specific types of complaints will be addressed. Follow the link below to learn more.

    [Go to site...]

  • HVRPs Reauthorized for 2014 - In December 2013, President Obama signed a series of new legislation into law. Among the many bills he signed was H.R. 1402, the "VA Expiring Authorities Extention Act," which reauthorized several homeless veteran programs whose authorities would have otherwise expired on December 31, 2013. 

    Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), who sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, was the sponsor of H.R. 1402, as well as a similar bill that was signed into law earlier this year, H.R. 1412, the "Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act." This latter bill, signed into law in late September, reauthorized the bulk of the homeless veterans programs for 2014.

    [Link to information...]

  • Connecting Veterans with Tech Jobs - This new site aims to bring technology jobs and veterans together. The U.S. Tech Vets site also has its own military skills translator, which is always appreciated by veteran job seekers. From USTechVets.org:

    U.S. Tech Vets is an online community and resource designed to connect veterans to employment opportunities in the U.S. technology sector. Through a partnership of several national and regional technology associations and Monster.com, U.S. Tech Vets' mission is to facilitate veterans' transition to the civilian workforce.

    [Go to site...]

  • Unemployment Myth Buster -Certainly anyone who works with job seekers has heard the myth below:

    Myth: People receiving long-term unemployment benefits are less motivated to search for work.

    Not true: Not only are people who receive extended unemployment benefits required to search for work as a condition of those benefits, studies have shown that beneficiaries of extended UI spend more time searching for work than those who were ineligible for UI benefits. A report by the congressional Joint Economic Committee in 2011 also found that extended UI benefits keep the unemployed attached to the labor force longer than for unemployed individuals not receiving UI benefits, making them more likely to find work.

    [Read US Congress Joint Economic Committee Report...]

  • TBI Benefits Expanded -Some Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who are diagnosed with any of five other ailments will have an easier path to receive additional disability pay under new regulations developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The new regulation, which takes effect 30 days from [December 16, 2013 press release], impacts some Veterans living with TBI who also have Parkinson’s disease, certain types of dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures or certain diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

    “We decide Veterans’ disability claims based on the best science available,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “As scientific knowledge advances, VA will expand its programs to ensure Veterans receive the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

    [Press Release...]

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