VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, DAV, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, Publicity Team Member
I had the occasion to look over my transition from the US Army, when I retired back in 1991 and what is occurring now with all the help a veteran can obtain and wonder why we have so many gripes and complaints around this area about what veterans can obtain.
When I transition from the US Army I came to Southeastern Oklahoma with visions that any and all employers wanted to employ me due to all the training in Human Resource, Leadership and Management I obtained in the military. Head strong I ran into a challenge when I found out that while I was an expert in the Military style of Human Resource management, employers and their Human Resource Departments did not use the same system. They wanted people with experience after obtaining college degrees in Human Resources and then where certified via one of the certification agencies.
Then again, since I was not born here, I was a fish out of water when it came to networking. Something I knew about while in the military (heck that is how NCOs got things done while leading their subordinates and networking with their peers). I had a few people that became friends (still are for the most part) thanks to my spouse who lived here prior to going into the US Navy.
I tried a few places of employment (McDonalds on the Turnpike and EZ-Go) and found out that if I wanted to get into something with more responsibility and higher wage, I needed to go to college and obtain a degree in business (or something similar). Having a technical degree in Law Enforcement (Associate of Science) I knew I need to go to school and obtained rehab program via the Veterans Administration.
I obtained a degree in Accounting, although I was better in the marketing, management and business law side of business. Then with that head strong idea that with my previous experience and training received in the military I could obtain a position above the entry level most college graduates where getting (if they could find them at all). I, also on my own, obtained an internship working with a start-up business processing rabbit meat.
I know most of you are getting turned off right now reading this (boring, right) but here is the turnaround part. Had I known that I was eligible to become a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (yes, we have a couple in Southeastern Oklahoma) I would have join years ago, instead of waiting until 2013.
While the VFW states they do more for veterans, the best part is a network of veterans who, through their own experience had networks that a fellow veteran could obtain employment possibilities. I know we have had challenges with some employers who really do not like the veteran, those that do list their openings on the VFW VetJobs listing. A search of that listing provided 2578 positions open in Oklahoma.
Even with that the Post, District and Department (state) parts of the VFW also have members who know someone within the companies, corporations or government that can mentor young fellow VFW members and put in the good word to their employers about the possibility that you would be a good fit.
On the VFW Website, they even have Military Skills Translator and a list of positions needing those skills. Resume counseling, and American Job Centers. Veterans are entitled to free priority employment services at nearly 2,500 American Job Centers nationwide. American Job Centers can help you look for work and offer workshops like resume and cover letter writing. Many states offer business services to help employers hire, retain and train workers. Use the locator below to find a center near you!
There is one in Idabel, one in Durant, one in McAlester, (normally refer to Workforce Oklahoma) and on the Texas side, one in Paris, Denison, and Sherman (worked there myself).
Of course, this means you, the veteran, actually wants a position and want to work to support you and yours. These centers also can provide you with the skills you need to get hired and help the firm, company, corporation find value in keeping you employed.
As I noted before, I did not know when I transitioned from the military I could obtain these services (then again, back in 1991 the internet was just becoming something to use in this manner).
So here are the lessons learned part – I know most post within Oklahoma have a Service Officer which are there to help out with filling out paperwork to obtain VA healthcare and disability compensation. Here is Southeastern Oklahoma we rely on the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. Claims and Benefits Representatives (Lisa Mussett is our representative) to use their software which takes your documentation and request, sending them straight into VA for processing. Which means those Post Service Officers can be used to obtain the other VA benefits for employment using the VFW website.
So, if you are a just transitioned veteran, or a veteran who is looking for employment why not go down to your local VFW Post and asked to see the Post Service Officer, use them to obtain those benefits to obtained the educational, skills and a good job (position) so you can support you and yours now and in the future.
Then check and see if you qualify to join the VFW and obtain that network we all need to better ourselves and those we support by helping the VFW go forward.
By the way, if you want to complain about Veterans wants and needs On Monday, Markwayne Mullins is holding a telephone town hall to talk with you about issues that matter. If you have a question for me or if you’re just interested in hearing my thoughts on issues in the news today, I encourage you to call-in. Hope you’ll join us!
Telephone Town Hall with Congressman Mullin
Monday, June 26, 2017
Call-in number: 877-229-8493