Veterans can offer top skills
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By Valerie Sweeten, Jobs Correspondent

Military veterans are some of the best trained personnel, with skills able to translate to nearly any workplace.

Companies in all industries are recruiting veterans, while military organizations and resources are hosting job fairs, assisting with resumes and translating skill sets.

Some of the most popular jobs for vets include engineer, information technology professional, police officer, project manager, math/science teacher, entrepreneur, mechanic, sales representative and civilian public service.

The Occupational Safety Councils of America (OSCA) is a safety council that is providing training dislocated workers, especially veterans, and transitioning service members through grants and community partnerships in an effort to help them transition into employment in the construction and petrochemical industries.

Qualities that make veterans appealing are wide and varied, especially when it comes to safety and continued production at plants.

"Veterans address two issues for employers," said Lydia E. Chavez-Garcia, business development, OSCA. "The first is the decline in standard basic soft skills in the human resource pool. For example, coming to work regularly, showing up on time and ability to follow directions. The second issue is positions in this industry require working in adverse environments such as extreme heights and weather conditions, confined spaces and dealing with hazardous conditions. Veterans have experienced these types of conditions and are cognizant of how to adapt during these types of environments."

Connecting with veterans is important to OSCA, with its job recruiters being veterans themselves. By having this in place, OSCA can better understand how to transfer those military skills to industry and how to review and translate a DD 214 (or Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), for other positions held that may be relevant to what they're trying to fill.

"Nearly all of our staff members are veterans and all of our staff are immersed in the local/national military and veteran community. We collaborate and attend veteran resource events, job fairs, and our local military installations," Chavez-Garcia said.

Margaret Moellenberndt, human resources supervisor with Fluor, said it is actively recruiting both in the craft and staff sectors.

The range of skill sets presented by the military is what makes them attractive as employees.

"The work Fluor does both in our offices and on our projects requires our employees to give 100 percent. They have to be able to turn out strong, quality work," Moellenberndt said.

Opportunities are available in many of the global home offices and project sites around the world.

These can range from carpenters to electricians, welders, craft supervision, contracts/project managers, engineers, health, safety and environmental professionals and quality specialists.

"Construction is one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation," Moellenberndt said. "Military personnel bring an exceptional skill set to the employer. They are dedicated, pay close attention to detail and are accustomed to doing great work under tight deadlines. Our projects can also be in remote locations, something with which a veteran may have experience."

It also has developed a skills crosswalk on the website that matches military skills with open positions.

Its outreach extends to military-specific job fairs including the Hiring Our Heroes events and work with transition offices regarding various opportunities.

Federal help

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service is lending a hand with offering the newly expanded tax credit for companies hiring veterans. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 is able to provide an expanded Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for businesses hiring unemployed eligible veterans. This is the first time the tax credit is also available to certain tax-exempt organizations.

The Returning Heroes Tax Credit offers incentives up to $5,600 for hiring unemployed veterans. The Wounded Warriors Tax Credit is able to double the existing WOTC up to $9,600 for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.


For job fairs, vets can go to