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Driving workforce readiness for veterans

San Diego is home to the largest naval fleet in the Pacific and has the largest concentration of military veterans in California. San Diego has always supported military veterans with many groups working to address local area veterans’ concerns.

In my capacity as President of San Diego Society for Human Resource Management (SD SHRM), this past February I attended an informational hearing on veteran’s employment issues hosted by the Chairman of the California State Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. While there, I met representatives from both government and non-profits. Although the hearing provided clarity on some issues, I left seeking answers to these questions:

1. What are the barriers to employment from a veteran’s perspective?

2. What are the barriers to hiring veterans from the employer’s perspective?

3. How do we (government, non-profits) identify the collective need and apply the collective resource to addressing that need?

The San Diego Society for Human Resource Management (SD SHRM) sponsored an Executive Roundtable at The Daily Transcript on Aug. 14, seeking answers to those questions. Many San Diego veterans are seeking employment and many employers have launched initiatives to hire veterans but have encountered challenges in their efforts.

As an employer of veterans, I recognize in addition to their technical skills, veterans bring valuable soft skills including leadership, accountability, reliability and teamwork to the workplace. However, veterans need help understanding how to translate their ‘warfare speak’ into civilian language; employers need help locating and recruiting veterans. A common barrier is matching the skills veterans bring to the San Diego employment market with the types of skills San Diego employers need.

To address some of the challenges, SD SHRM is partnering with the Easter Seals Dixon Center, Veterans Association of North County, Father Joe’s and SDSU SHRM Student Chapter to provide a free, all-day, Workforce Readiness Track for veterans and emerging professionals. The inaugural workshop will include networking opportunities with employers, one-on-one resume writing and interview coaching and presentations designed to equip all active duty military and veterans.

Through our various veteran partnerships SD SHRM serves as a resource for employers of all sizes looking to recruit and hire military veterans. The Workforce Strategies Conference in particular is designed to meet the needs of small employers — many of whom want to hire a veteran but are unfamiliar with where to begin.

Sponsor a veteran to attend the Workforce Readiness Track and/or register to attend the Strategies Conference and learn more about addressing your skills needs through the hiring of military veterans. The Workforce Strategies Conference, featuring Colonel David Sutherland (USA, ret.), is Sept. 17 at the San Diego Hilton in Mission Valley from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Register at sdshrm.site-ym.com/events/event_details.asp?id=430489&group. Event is open to everyone wanting to participate.

Established in 1945, San Diego Society for Human Resource Management remains the leading HR Association in San Diego, with over 1000 members representing employers large and small.

Written by Natasha Sandrock Arthur, PHR-CA, CCP, GRP, Director of Human Resources for CaVU Consulting Inc.

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