Working World

November 2016

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10 November, 2016 l Working World l C ol. Brett Jenkinson is now the engineering project manager for the Rochester Public Works Department in Minnesota. After graduating from West Point 26 years ago, Brett Jenkinson didn't get the job he really wanted: civil engineer. Instead, the Army handed him a rifle and a pack, and told him he'd be doing something else. When Brett left the military about a year ago, he went through the mandatory Transition GPS (Goal, Plans, Success) cur- riculum designed to prepare transitioning service members and their spouses for civilian life. In no time at all, he was hired as–at long last!–a civil engineer. "I couldn't be happier and I owe most of my success re-entering the job market to your program," Brett shared with us recently. "Thanks again and keep it up; our transitioning vets deserve it!" While we at the Veterans' Employment and Training Service take a lot of pride in the overall trends for veterans' employment (the unemployment rate for veterans has been lower than the overall unemployment rate for all but one of the past 24 months), we know that as long as any one veteran hasn't found a meaningful civilian career, we still have work to do. That's why we're always working to update to the curriculum of the three- day Department of Labor Employment Workshop, which is helping thousands like Brett. It's a dynamic course that forms the core of the Transition GPS curriculum (also known by some as the Transition Assistance Program, or TAP) with a focus on four key areas: • Developing and executing a job search plan. • Planning for success in a civilian work environment. • Creating resumes, cover letters and other self-marketing material. • Engaging in successful interviews and networking conversations. Here are a few key numbers about the workshop: Last year, with a $14 million budget, it was held 6,450 times at 206 locations in the U.S. and in 12 other countries around the world for more than 180,000 transitioning service members and spouses. We know the job market is changing rapidly and we must keep pace. Every year we review the workshop curriculum to make improvements, and during that process we engage participants, experts, employers and advocates from veteran service organizations. VETS' Mike Michaud speaks to transitioning service members at Fort Bragg. We also make sure our transitioning service members know that our workshop is just the beginning of the Labor Department's support for them. Like I told transitioning service members at Fort Bragg in North Carolina last week, start with the employment workshop, then continue on to your local American Job Center and let the Labor Department help you find your path to meaningful civilian employment. In fact, the vast majority of our services for transitioning service members, veterans and military families are delivered in partnership with state workforce agencies through the nearly 2,500 brick and mortar offices of the American Job Center network. Nearly 800,000 of the approximately 10 million veterans in the workforce were served at these centers last year alone. Three days isn't enough time to give each transitioning service member all the individualized help he or she may need over the course of a job search. But it's a solid start for connecting our veterans with the meaningful civilian careers they deserve. FEATURE ARTICLE by Mike Michaud A Smart First Step for Veterans

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