OSU Institute of Technology in partnership with Tulsa’s Community Service Council (CSC) is hosting an issues-based conference for area employers and hiring managers on transitioning military veterans from the war zone to the workforce.
The Veterans Skills Gap Conference, funded by the Veterans Initiative of the CSC, will be Friday, June 20, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Mid-America Industrial Park Expo, 526 Airport Road at Highway 69 South in Pryor. Registration is available through www.osuit.edu/vsg.
“Many Oklahoma businesses are in need of skilled workers to fill critical roles in the industry, while many veterans are in need of jobs after serving their country,” said Scott Fry, director of the OSUIT Advanced Training Center at Mid-America Industrial Park. “This conference will bring key stakeholders together along with qualified resources that are meant to bridge the gap.”
The conference will include a veterans resource fair; a panel discussion on military occupational specialties with representatives from each military branch; and a question and answer session with employers and veterans on the best ways to transition into a civilian workforce.
A lunch presentation will feature AEP’s Northeastern Power Stations Plant Manager Mark Barton on AEP’s innovative “Troops to Energy Jobs” program. Nearly twenty percent of Northeastern Power Stations’ workforce is military veterans. And of those employees hired in the past seven years, more than a third are veterans.
“It’s simply the right thing to do,” Barton said. “The folks who have made a commitment to service deserve a fair opportunity for employment.”
When it comes to interviewing and hiring veterans, potential employers have to remember these some of these men and women have a different mindset, according to the Veterans Administration.
Those who have recently returned from deployment or finished their service are still acclimating to their civilian life. And some veterans have trouble explaining how their experience and skills they learned in the military can be an asset to a company.
There are also a number of benefits to hiring veterans, according to the VA, including hands-on experience, leadership and teamwork skills, efficiency and self-discipline.
“They bring high levels of maturity and professionalism. They have experience working in diverse teams and they often have extensive training and experience in skills that are relevant to industry,” Barton said.
Also a key player in organizing the conference is the Community Service Council’s Veterans Initiative and its senior planner Christina Siemens.
The Veterans Initiative works to address the needs of returning service men and women, their families, and caregivers.
“Workforce development is vital for veterans who are ready to get back into the workplace and start contributing to their households and communities. Veterans are equipped with skills, knowledge and experience they acquired during time in the military that can be easily translated into fields and industries in need of workers,” said Siemens.
“It’s important that veterans allow themselves to assimilate back into the routine of civilian life, and employers must understand that veterans can be exemplary, but unique, employees,” she said. “We’re hoping this conference can answer questions potential employers may have about hiring veterans, dispel any myths and showcase the benefits of having veterans in your workplace.”