Military service men and women from around the country met last week in Carson City to discuss ways to help with veteran and service member unemployment.
The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Invitation Summit, held Sept. 21-22 in the Governor’s Mansion, featured National Guard personnel from 17 states, including Tennessee, Alabama, Colorado, New Hampshire, Washington and Ohio. The purpose of the summit was to collaborate on how to improve each state’s military employment programs.
“This program provides job opportunities for servicemen, veterans and their families and with Nevada getting nearly 53,000 new jobs in the next four years it helps allow service members to get some of these higher paying jobs or even meaningful employment,” said Maj. Christy Hales, director of Military Family Support Services for the Nevada National Guard. “It is a free service and it is just one way to repay the debt for the veterans and servicemen.”
Hales has been in charge of the employment program in Nevada, titled “Work for Warriors” to reduce the unemployment rate for Guardsmen, Reserves, veterans and their families in Nevada. The program began in 2014 in Nevada after the Nevada National Guard Adjunct General Brig. Gen. William Burks and the Governor’s Office began discussing how they can continue to make Nevada the most veteran friendly state. The program was federally funded, however, come 2017, states could lose their funding.
“We needed to make an impact because if the funding goes away, the program goes away,” Hales told the nearly 100 Guardsmen Wednesday.
At the summit, representatives collaborated to improve work force programs in each state. Hales said states such as South Carolina and California have some of the best practices.
“When you look at it, we can’t do it by ourselves,” Burks said.
The Nevada National Guard has done a great job with its unemployment efforts, said Burks, adding it’s offering a number of services for its Work for Warriors program, including résumé help, interview preparation, career skills, job referrals and resource connections. Hales said the program is important because it can put good candidates in a job application pool so even if military personnel don’t get the job, they may have been a good fit and the employers will look to the Guard members for future consideration.
“I am just thrilled with the positive response,” Hales said, regarding the success of the summit. “So many states contacted me who don’t have funds and there were others who were asking us why we didn’t do this sooner.”
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