Leaders guide military job seekers during summit

| October 21, 2016 | 0 Comments
Matt Brogdon from Microsoft, speaks about the information technology programs available to veterans from his company during a panel discussion at the summit. Marnie Holder, director of summits for Hiring Our Heroes, moderated the panel. (Photo by Christine Cabalo, Oahu Publications)

Matt Brogdon (second from right), from Microsoft, speaks about the information technology programs available to veterans from his company during a panel discussion at the summit. Marnie Holder, director of summits for Hiring Our Heroes, moderated the panel. (Photo by Christine Cabalo, Oahu Publications)

“Now Hiring” is a two-part series chronicling the Hawaii Transition Summit held at Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield from Oct. 18-19. Part I features the leaders attending the summit and assisting job seekers who are service members, military spouses and retirees.

Christine Cabalo
Staff Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Civilian business leaders and senior military personnel rallied to solve the challenge of helping the military community find jobs during the Hawaii Transition Summit, Oct. 25.

The two-day summit was organized by the Schofield Barracks Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and Hiring Our Heroes, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The senior leaders spent the first day learning and discussing how to ensure their Soldiers make successful transitions to the civilian workforce.

The summit’s first keynote speaker was U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“This kind of summit sends a strong message that when Soldiers are ready to lay down the uniform, they are not kicked to curb,” she said. “We’ve all heard from Soldiers who have expressed that fear.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard speaks to senior leaders about how to assist their sol- diers with transitioning out of the army while still meeting the mission during the first day of the hawaii Transition summit, Oct. 25. (Courtesy Of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard)

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard speaks to senior leaders about how to assist their sol- diers with transitioning out of the army while still meeting the mission during the first day of the hawaii Transition summit, Oct. 25. (Courtesy Of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard)

Gabbard has transitioned from her previous combat deployments to serving as Hawaii’s representative and a military police officer with the Hawaii Army National Guard. She spoke to Army leaders about how those in transition have the skills civilian employers need, but still need assistance to ace job interviews or format a resume.

“Businesses are hiring veterans not because they are being do-gooders or helping charity, but they hire vets to help their bottom line,” she said.

Army personnel learned about available resources to join the civilian workforce, as well as offered feedback about what challenges they face in mentoring transition Soldiers.

Several civilian businesses, government and nonprofit organizations joined in the discussion during two panel discussions. Senior Army officials could ask questions directly from the panels of experts, who represented organizations including Microsoft, FASTPORT, the American Legion, Veteran Affairs, and Small Business Association Hawaii.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS - Melvin Corey, a recently transitioned service member and now small business owner speaks to Master Sgt. Antonio Seymore of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, Oct. 18, 2016. (Christine Cabalo, Oahu Publications)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS – Melvin Corey, a recently transitioned service member and now small business owner speaks to Master Sgt. Antonio Seymore of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, Oct. 18, 2016. (Christine Cabalo, Oahu Publications)

The summit was also an opportunity for military job seekers, senior Army leaders and civilian leaders to network. Civilian employers could see firsthand what transitioning Soldiers, military spouses and retirees could offer, said Mike Bormann, the manager at TAP, here.

“Sitting in a forum, nothing is holding the visiting employers back from talking about what they’re looking for in employees,” he said. “During the summit, they can all talk and employers can give Soldiers and other military job seekers a chance to get hired.”

Several speakers discussed about how, on the extreme end, transitioning Soldiers may doubt about their value and lose their identity. The results could be homelessness, as veterans and spouses struggle to reintegrate into civilian living.

It’s important for leaders to set Soldiers up for success, said Lt. Col. Derwin Brown with Soldier for Life West.

“We don’t expect you to be experts in transition, but we wanted you to be armed with knowing who the experts are in the field, so you can send Soldiers to them,” said Marnie Holder, the director summit for Hiring Our Heroes.

Representatives from civilian businesses spoke about what they offer to ease transitions, including internship programs and connecting veterans who are new hires with current employees who have a military background.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS - Soldiers learn about job opportunities from Toyota, who was one of several international companies who brought representatives to the Hawaii Transition Summit, Oct. 18, 2016. (Christine Cabalo, Oahu Publications)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS – Soldiers learn about job opportunities from Toyota, who was one of several international companies who brought representatives to the Hawaii Transition Summit, Oct. 18, 2016. (Christine Cabalo, Oahu Publications)

While senior leaders are following mandated laws that guarantee the rights of those in transition, several panelists addressed how it was also in a leader’s best interest to be both knowledgeable and supportive.

“If you want as good a worker or even better people to supervise, you need to take care of the people you have now,” said Matt Brogdon, who attended the summit as a representative of Microsoft. “Those people transitioning might be your way to network down the road, and they might help you into a job when you transition.”

Although service members know within one to two years when they will be separating, several representatives at the summit expressed the need to prepare as much as possible before a transition.

“Senior leaders who are still serving are an important part of the transition process,” Bormann said. “They’re the ones supporting troops and giving them ample time to explore all options for their future employment, rather than them waiting for last minute.”

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Category: Community Relations, Education, Leadership, News, Observances, Veterans

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