Articles about Veteran affairs will be posted here intermittently and will be updated accordingly. Please feel free to check out our past articles listed at the bottom of the page.
To: NJ’s Department & County Leaders:
The following is a summary of all National Employment Commission and Division’s events at the recent National Convention in Minneapolis. We dedicated over 40 hours participating in these Employment Division invited events, over a 4 ½ day period, not including any actual Convention activities.
- We received the 2nd of 3 consecutive years National Homeless Veteran Outreach Award on August 25 at the Commission meeting, see attached pics. In summary we received this prestigious Award for the following:
- $358,085 was raised and donated in 2017 by The American Legion Family to help combat and end veteran homelessness in New Jersey! This significant amount now increases our total to $1,115,390 since 2011 for our homeless outreach efforts.
- This 2017 amount of $358,085 was raised by our annual Department Project (2017 portion); donations for our Legion initiated and managed Atlantic City Regional Stand Down, including the associated Golf Tournament; 2nd annual Department Convention Homeless Veteran “Walk”; The American Legion Auxiliary (Auxiliary); Detachment Sons of The American Legion (SAL); and individual Posts and Counties (Districts).
- “Women On the Rise, Women-Owned Small Business Conference” on August 24 – We served as an ambassador to the 42 women veterans in attendance, and shared our NJ experiences from our 16 Boots to Business Workshops and Small Business Awards program at our annual Convention. Commander Rohan spoke as well as the NYPD Deputy Commissioner. This program was very similar to our previous events with the Rutgers Business School and the forthcoming Kean University session on November 7, wherein we are co-sponsors as in the past. This interactive seminar was conducted by Syracuse University and the Legion.
- Employment Commission meeting on August 25 – Many subjects were presented and discussed, too numerous to list herein. Some interesting points included:
- There are currently 16M veterans (per DOL-Vets), or 7.4% of the US population and decreasing. 10M are under 65 years old, and 2M are women, 14% of the total.
- There are 31% veterans employed by the Federal Government, unfortunately not in Congress!
- 71% of our younger population do not qualify for the military. It’s projected that only 19% will qualify by 2020. Sad!
- Microsoft is continuing its heralded 16 week technology veterans school at no cost to our veterans! The Microsoft Service Academy (MSSA) has a 96% hiring rate after the Academy with an average starting salary of $70K. See - https://military.microsoft.com/programs/mssa/.
- Comcast NBC/Universal still has one of the leading training and hiring programs in the nation. See - https://jobs.comcast.com/military. Our own Val Nicholas of NJ Post 1 is the leading VP of this effort! Thanks Val!
- Veterans Employment Innovation Taskforce on August 27.
- This Taskforce was initiated by the Legion to spearhead new innovations and methods for the military and veteran community. Attendees included: US Army, Marine Corps, RIX Consulting (National’s Consultant) College Promise, Pike Enterprises, OPM, VA, DOL-VETS, TSA, SBA, Boeing, Comcast, Microsoft, Amazon, GIGO Fund of NJ and your Department of NJ.
- Subjects and interesting points included:
i. More cyber skilled vets are needed by all industries.
ii. The US Army has $4,500 available per vet for self-paced credentialling, and are pursuing getting more MOS’s recognized by States and industries. They are also working the issue of easier credentialling (CDL’s, nursing, etc.) steps to obtain “outside” licenses.
iii. DOL-VETS - The TAP (Transition Assistance Program,) will now start 1 year before discharge. It has been demonstrated that the existing 30, 60, 90 day interval is not value-added. Nearly 60% of recent survey respondents state the current program did not assist them! Only 15% say that TAP helped them. They are also investigating with Google and LinkedIn to match military skills with employers.
iv. GIGO Fund – The CEO presented their state of the art product “Job Path”. This dynamic program includes training (300+ courses), mentoring, employment and employment (24,000 veterans subscribe per month). Job Path has supported our Department for 2 years and has been publicized to our members, and is included on our web site. They also received our total Employment Award at our Convention in 2017. See https://yourjobpath.com/.
1. Many organizations are using this product, and using their Brand on the software as their own including: AUSA, Easter Seals, the Marine Corps PSE&G, Panasonic, our Department Employer of the Year, Suburban Propane, and the National Employer of the Year, Sansone Auto Mall.
v. Warriors to Wireless – This is an initiative to install the new 5G technology “spots” on VSO Post Homes as a revenue producer and providing that service to those areas. More to come.
vi. We suggested a process to track discharged veterans in the areas of employment, homelessness, mental health and criminal justice initiatives. DOL-VETS and the VA agreed this would be a worthwhile project to further assist our veterans and may pursue.
- Credentialing Taskforce Roundtable on August 27. This a national committee formed by the Legion in 2013 to discuss and enhance military credentials and licenses as our troops are discharged. We have attended many of these sessions at National Conventions and the Washington Conference. Members are all branches of the military, many trucking companies, DOL, DOD, VA, Microsoft, Amazon, Comcast, Teachers’ and Nursing Associations and many others. See my previous reports and visit https://www.legion.org/publications/237403/state-credentialing-service-members-and-veterans.
- This initiative also continually discusses and improves the DOD’s Skillbridge program; https://dodskillbridge.com/.
- Veterans Employment Workshops and Career Fair on August 28 – We assisted with the following workshops during the day: Military to Civilian Resume, Financial Literacy, Military to Federal Translation Resume session and the Career Fair.
- We also moderated an Employment Networking Lunch with the Employers, veteran and spouses job seekers. The Panel consisted of TSA, OPM, Microsoft, Comcast and Pike Enterprises. Questions to the Panel included overviews of their firms, recruiting, hiring, on on-boarding processes of veterans, training, retailing & exiting our vets and spouses. The veteran job seekers at the lunch were thrilled, and to also speak one-on-one to these leading military and veteran employers and supporters.
In addition to the above, we met with National Media to continue our planning and discussions to bring the GI Bill Exhibit to NJ June 10 – 15, 2019. See https://www.legion.org/legislative/242279/american-legion-members-congress-recognize-national-gi-bill-week.
If you would like further information pertaining to any of the above, please contact me. “Education Through Effective Communications”!
For God and Country,
Bob Looby, Chairman,
Employment, Homeless & Education Committee
Past State Commander
The American Legion, Department of New Jersey
NJ Veterans Service Council Member
“Say Yes, because you never know what an opportunity, no wonder how odd, might bring”,