Fedcap (www.fedcap.org), which has matched work-ready people with jobs for eight decades, opened a dialogue among employers, the military and veterans’ groups on November 11 aimed at making it easier for veterans to get employed.
More than 140 people gathered at Mutual of America headquarters in Manhattan for the Veterans Day launch of the Fedcap Solution Series: Connecting Veterans to Jobs, including representatives from private- and public-sector employers, nonprofits, service agencies, active military and veterans. The conversation focused on how to collectively address the barriers that remain between veterans and jobs – despite employers’ clear enthusiasm to hire from this highly skilled talent pool.
“We are extremely grateful that over 62 businesses have come here today to help us think through these issues and find real solutions,” said Christine McMahon, President and CEO of Fedcap. “This is going to be solved – not by each of us working separately, but by everyone working together.”
On the panel, Command Sergeant Major Frank Wicks, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Adjutant General and Commander of the New York Army National Guard, stressed that the training and soft skills veterans bring to the workplace are worth the possible sacrifice of temporarily losing them to deployment. Noting that he had been invited to ring the opening bell on Wall Street today but came to the Fedcap conference instead, CSM Wicks said, “That would have been an honor, but this is more of an honor.”
Lynne DiStasio, Vice President, Human Resources at MetLife, welcomed new tools that help employers and veterans speak the same language about skills and jobs, but stressed that much more needs to be done. “The activities that military people have been engaged in often do not translate to private sector jobs,” she said. “We are building a bridge across the river from two sides. We must connect in the middle.”
The panel also included Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Robert Van Pelt, Program Coordinator, New York National Guard, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and Hannah Rudstam, Ph.D., Senior Extension Faculty, Employment & Disability Institute, Cornell University, author of parallel surveys of veterans and Human Resource professionals. The moderator was Philip Revzin, Editor at Large, Bloomberg News.