A few thoughts on how the military Transition Assistance Program could be improved

I was recently asked how the military Transition Assistance Program could be improved.  Having spent literally years working in the military transition and veteran space I have made several observations about the various TAP seminars, which are a few days long and occur just before the servicemember goes on terminal leave.  Anyhow, these are some of my impressions about TAP:
1. It is unrealistic to unpack a servicemember’s experience in terms of future employment in three or four days. One of the most difficult part of transition is figuring out what to do next, and it takes time for a person in uniform to really dissemble their skills, talents, and experiences in such a manner that they determine what they want to do after getting out. In my experience, transition courses focus on the technical aspects of transition without addressing the bigger issues. Teaching a servicemember how to write a cover letter and a resume, about elevator speeches, and about interviewing techniques are all incredibly valuable. However, what’s missing is helping the servicemember be able to effectively translate their skills and experiences in such a manner that they are a compelling candidate for a company to hire. The bigger issue in transition is “What value do I present to a company such that they will write me a check to work there?” The fact that a veteran served is not enough, and I would say that if a company hires a veteran just because he or she is a veteran then that vet is not set up for success. Companies hire people who fill a specific job in the company, and those specific jobs require specific skills. Being a veteran is not a skill. It is a tremendous experience, but it is not a skill.
2. I think the narrative is often misguided. Very few transition courses depict the civilian sector the way it really is, and instead teach techniques to pursue employment that are decades out of date. Becoming employable means building yourself as a brand which presents value to the employer – that is the way to find meaningful employment. Presenting yourself as “needing a chance” to show yourself is not compelling to an employer when there are dozens of other candidates with the skills required to get the job. The narrative that somehow the American public owes a veteran a job is damaging and frankly utterly incorrect. Americans paid their taxes and every recent veteran volunteered – Americans will buy you a drink and thank you for your service, but that is a completely different conversation from offering you a job. You, the veteran, must do your part to make yourself as competitive as a civilian who has never served, which means you must retrain if necessary, present your skills in such a manner that they match the needs of a company, and present yourself as a cultural fit for the organization.
3. Transition courses are too little, too late. They are positioned (logically) at the end of the term of service, but unfortunately many of the lessons presented are not really appreciated until the person has hung up their uniform for good. In most cases the transition courses are rushed as the EAS/ETS rapidly approaches, and the veteran does not have a chance to take advantage of the training and mentorship opportunities available. My recommendation would be to conduct transition training in two phases; first, at the six month from EAS mark there should be an initial seminar to help the serviceman or woman learn how to deconstruct their skills and talents in order to understand what value they can present to an employer and then present the traditional TAP/TRS towards the end of their service.

Anyhow, this just my my $0.02.

Only a week to go until the B. Braun and MVPVets Recareering event. There are seats remaining and still time to register!

Only a week to go!!  There are still seats- register now if you are in the Allentown area!

BETHLEHEM, Pa., Dec. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, B. Braun Medical Inc. (B.Braun) will partner with the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org) to conduct a re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans, which will be hosted at B.Braun’s Allentown, PA manufacturing facility.

Military personnel in transition from the service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in this free one-day seminar that brings veterans together with mentors from the medical technology industry.  During the event veterans will participate in active sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and rehearsals, creating a professional resume to electronically apply online through a company’s career website, and networking.  B.Braun will also consider participants for internship opportunities.

Details:

Address: 901 Macron Boulevard, Allentown, PA  18109 (main cross streets are Macron Blvd. and N. Irving Sreet)

Registration: 9 – 9:30am.  Event will start promptly at 9:30 am and will conclude at 4:00 pm; pre-registration is required

Cost: There is no cost for participating veterans.  All materials, breakfast, lunch, and parking are provided free of charge.

Registration: Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can register at the MVPvets website (http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form).  Pre-registration is required and space is limited to 20 participants.

About B. Braun:

B. Braun Medical Inc. (B.Braun), a leader in infusion therapy and pain management, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative medical products and services to the healthcare industry. The Company is committed to eliminating preventable treatment errors and enhancing patient, clinician and environmental safety. Guided by its “Sharing Expertise®” philosophy, B.Braun continuously exchanges knowledge with customers, partners and clinicians to address the critical issues of improving care and lowering costs.

The B.Braun Group of Companies in the U.S. includes B.Braun, B.Braun Interventional Systems, Aesculap® and CAPS®. B.Braun’s U.S. headquarters is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The B.Braun Group of Companies employs more than 50,000 employees in more than 60 countries throughout the world. To learn more about B.Braun visit www.BBraunUSA.com.

About the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVPvets):

MVPvets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences by 2018.  MVP brings training and mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning in a concerted effort to help veterans re-career into meaningful careers in the MedTech and BioTech industries.

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140708/124944

SOURCE MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program

Two weeks left to register for the B. Braun and MVPVETS Veteran and Transitioning Military Re-careering Event in Allentown, Pennsylvania

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     Great news about an opportunity for Pennsylvania area veterans and transitioning military to participate in a free daylong workshop with B. Braun.  The company is eager to hire veterans, and this is a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the company, the job opportunities available, and to work on job seeking skills such as social media branding, resume refinement, and interview preparation.  If you are in the Allentown area, check it out!

BETHLEHEM, Pa., Jan. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, B. Braun Medical Inc. (B.Braun) will partner with the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org) to conduct a re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans, which will be hosted at B.Braun’s Allentown, PA manufacturing facility.

Military personnel in transition from the service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in this free one-day seminar that brings veterans together with mentors from the medical technology industry. During the event veterans will participate in active sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and rehearsals, creating a professional resume to electronically apply online through a company’s career website, and networking. B.Braun will also consider participants for internship opportunities.

Details:

Address: 901 Macron Boulevard, Allentown, PA 18109 (main cross streets are Macron Blvd. and N. Irving Sreet)

Registration: 9 – 9:30am. Event will start promptly at 9:30 am and will conclude at 4:00 pm; pre-registration is required

Cost: There is no cost for participating veterans. All materials, breakfast, lunch, and parking are provided free of charge.

Registration: Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can register at the MVPvets website (http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form). Pre-registration is required and space is limited to 20 participants, and there are only two weeks remaining to register.

About B. Braun:

B. Braun Medical Inc. (B.Braun), a leader in infusion therapy and pain management, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative medical products and services to the healthcare industry. The Company is committed to eliminating preventable treatment errors and enhancing patient, clinician and environmental safety. Guided by its “Sharing Expertise®” philosophy, B.Braun continuously exchanges knowledge with customers, partners and clinicians to address the critical issues of improving care and lowering costs.

The B.Braun Group of Companies in the U.S. includes B.Braun, B.Braun Interventional Systems, Aesculap® and CAPS®. B.Braun’s U.S. headquarters is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The B.Braun Group of Companies employs more than 50,000 employees in more than 60 countries throughout the world. To learn more about B.Braun visit http://www.BBraunUSA.com.

About MVPvets:

MVPvets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences by 2018. MVP brings training and mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning in a concerted effort to help veterans re-career into meaningful careers in the MedTech and BioTech industries.

Press Release

MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP) and Cyberonics Announce Veteran and Transitioning Military Re-careering Workshop

 

MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program: Recareering transitioning military and veterans into compelling careers in the life sciences. (PRNewsFoto/MedTech BioTech Veterans Program)    

 

Continuing the successful series of nationwide recareering workshops, the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org) is announcing the seventh Veteran and Transitioning Military Recareering event for 2014.  The program, which is free for veterans and those transitioning from the military, helps veterans find careers in life sciences companies, is partnering with Cyberonics in Houston to host 10 veterans in a daylong seminar which will provide insights into the Medical Device industry, partnering with mentors, a job skills workshop, and interaction with hiring managers and Human Resources professionals from the the company.  The company and the industry have many positions in areas such as supply chain, supervision, management, human resources, and other functional areas that they are eager to fill with veterans and those transitioning from the military.

A press release about the event follows:

HOUSTON, Oct. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On November 19, 2014, Houston, TX-based Cyberonics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CYBX; www.cyberonics.com) will partner with the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org) to conduct a re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans in south Texas.

Military personnel in transition from service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in this free one-day seminar that will include active one-on-one mentoring, resume building and personal engagement with hiring managers seeking to employ program participants.

The event brings veterans and transitioning military together with mentors from the medical technology industry while they participate in active sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and rehearsals, creating a professional online presence in social media, and networking.  Cyberonics will also consider participants for internship opportunities.

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required to ensure that participants get a seat at the event.

Details:

Date:  November 19, 2014

Time:  8:00 a.m.4:30 p.m.

Location:  Cyberonics Building, 100 Cyberonics Blvd., Houston, TX 77058

Cost:  There is no cost for veterans and transitioning military.  All materials, breakfast, lunch, and parking are provided free of charge.

Registration:  Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can register at the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website (http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form).  Pre-registration is required, and space is limited to 10 participants.

About Cyberonics:

Cyberonics is a medical technology company with core expertise in neuromodulation.  The company developed and markets the Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy System, which is FDA-approved for the treatment of refractory epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression.  The VNS Therapy System uses a surgically implanted medical device that delivers pulsed electrical signals to the vagus nerve.  Cyberonics markets the VNS Therapy System in selected markets worldwide.

About the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP):

The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program is a nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences by 2018.  A fiscally sponsored 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, MVP brings active training and mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning from the Life Collaborative in a concerted effort to help those who have served the country in uniform re-career into meaningful and impactful careers in the MedTech, BioTech, Pharmaceutical, BioFuels, and Wireless Medical Technology sectors.

If you are in the Houston area and would like to participate, please do sign up!

 

MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP) Announces Veteran and Transitioning Military Re-careering Event

The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org) is announcing the fifth Veteran and Transitioning Military Recareering event for 2014.  The program, which is free for veterans and those transitioning from the military, helps veterans find careers in life sciences companies, is partnering with Baxter Healthcare in Deerfield, Illinois to host 20 veterans in a daylong seminar which will provide insights into the Medical Device industry, partnering with mentors, a job skills workshop, and interaction with hiring managers and Human Resources professionals from the the company.  The company and the industry have many positions in areas such as supply chain, supervision, management, human resources, and other functional areas that they are eager to fill with veterans and those transitioning from the military.

A press release about the event follows:

CARLSBAD, CA, September 4 2014 /PRNewswire/ — On September 26th 2014, MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.org) will conduct a free re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin at the Baxter International Inc. campus in Deerfield, Ill.

Military personnel in transition from service and honorably discharged veterans are invited to apply for the opportunity to participate in this free one-day seminar that will include active one-on-one mentoring, resume building and personal engagement with hiring managers seeking to employ program participants.

The event brings veterans and transitioning military together with mentors from the medical technology industry while they participate in active sessions that include resume review and refinement, job interview training and rehearsals, creating a professional online presence in social media, and networking.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required to ensure that participants get a seat at the event.

Details:

Date    September 26, 2014

Time    7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location       Baxter International Inc.: One Baxter Parkway, Deerfield, Illinois

Cost     There is no cost for veterans and transitioning military. All materials, breakfast, lunch, parking and pre-event overnight lodging will be provided free of charge.

Registration    Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can register at the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website (http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form).  Pre-registration is required, and space is limited.

Baxter International Inc. recognizes the valuable skills, experience and dedication that veterans bring to the workplace and actively recruits transitioning military personnel into a vast array of rewarding careers in healthcare. In addition to hosting the re-careering event at its headquarters, Baxter employees, including many veterans, will serve as mentors during and after the event.

The MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program is a nonprofit organization with the mission to bring 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the Life Sciences industry by 2018. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, MVP brings active training and mentorship together with an integrated collaborative online portal and eLearning from the Life Collaborative in a concerted effort to help those who have served the country in uniform re-career into meaningful and impactful careers in the MedTech, BioTech, Pharmaceutical, BioFuels, and Wireless Medical Technology sectors.

Tax Credits for Companies that Hire Veterans

Hiring Veterans – a resource for Human Resources Professionals, Hiring Managers, and companies that want to hire and retain talented veterans.  

Part 2:  Tax Credits for Companies that Hire Veterans

This is the second in a string of posts to help demystify the complex world of veteran employment from the perspective of the employer.  In the previous post we detailed the definition of a “Protected Veteran”, which is important for companies that are required to implement an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) in order to comply with Office of Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) regulations.  In this post, we look at incentives that governments as the state and federal level offer to companies for hiring veterans.

The simplest way for the government to incentivize companies to hire veterans is by providing tax credits to employers.  There are a wide variety of tax credits available for companies who employ veterans, and in some cases they can amount to tens of thousands of dollars off of a firm’s tax bill. The list that follows is not all inclusive, but it is a rollup of all of the incentives that I could find.  Some are currently unfunded (meaning that they have been funded in years prior but have not yet been funded for 2014), but just because they are unfunded today doesn’t mean that they will be unfunded tomorrow.  Most of the programs below are funded, and it is up to the employer to meet the administrative requirements to apply for the credits.

So what are the credits and what veterans are qualified for each credit?  Here is a brief description of each incentive along with links to the associated website(s):

In 2011, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) was changed by the VOW to Hire Heroes Act to include qualified veterans as a targeted group.  The credits apply to both for profit and non profit organizations, and amount to thousands of dollars per hire – which means that there is no limit to the number of qualified veterans a company can hire and claim for tax credits.  Although the VOW act was extended from the end of 2012 to the end of 2013, it has not been renewed since and the tax credits are not currently available but may be again in the future.  There are two groups of veterans eligible for credits:

Federal Incentives

  • The Returning Heroes Tax Credit of up to $5,600.  This applies to veterans who have been unemployed or who have received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program assistance (SNAP, aka Food Stamps) during the past year:
    • Short-term Unemployed: A credit of 40% of the first $6,000 of wages (up to $2,400) for employers who hire veterans who have been in receipt of unemployment insurance or compensation for at least 4 weeks.
    • Long-term Unemployed: A credit of 40% of the first $14,000 of wages (up to $5,600) for employers who hire veterans who have been in receipt of unemployment insurance or compensation for longer than 6 months.
  • The Wounded Warriors Tax Credit of up to $9,600.  This applies to unemployed veterans who have a disability related to service in the armed forces:
    • A credit 40% of the first $12,000 of wages (up to $4,800).

The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (which had been extended until the end of 2013 and has not yet been renewed), provides incentives for small business.

The Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000

Although these federal tax credits are currently expired, they may be renewed with future legislation.

In order to apply for the credits, the employer must follow the directions listed on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  website.

State Incentives

In addition to the Federal Government, eleven states also offer incentives for hiring veterans.  As of July 2014 all of the following state veteran hiring incentives are still available:

Alabama  $1000 for small businesses that hire recently deployed and now discharged unemployed Veterans.

http://revenue.alabama.gov/incometax/2012_forms/12schocinstr.pdf

Alaska  The credit available is $3,000 for the permanent hire of a disabled veteran and $2,000 for the permanent hire of a veteran not disabled. A credit of $1,000 is available for the employment of any veteran in a seasonal position.

http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/documentviewer/viewer.aspx?5142f

California  The credit is based on 35% of a new employee’s qualified wages or wages between 150% (or $10 for a Pilot Area) and 350% of minimum wage.  The business must qualify for the New Employment Credit (NEC).

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/online/New_Employment_Credit_Reservation/index.shtml

Delaware  Companies that hire veterans or National Guard members who have served in recent overseas conflicts are eligible for a tax credit is equal to 10% of wages, up to a maximum of $1,500.

http://revenue.delaware.gov/services/Business_Tax/veterans.shtml

Illinois  Illinois employers can earn an income tax credit of up to $5,000 annually for hiring veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation Iraqi Freedom.

http://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/benefits/Pages/employment.aspx

Massachusetts  “For-profit” employers in Massachusetts that plan to hire certain low-income or disabled veterans may be eligible for a $4800 tax credit.

http://www.mass.gov/veterans/employment-and-training/tax-credit.html

New Mexico  The Veteran Employment Tax Credit will provide up to $1,000 to businesses each time they hire a veteran who has recently been discharged from the military.

http://www.dws.state.nm.us/Veterans/VetInformation/VeteranEmploymentTaxCredit

New York  Businesses may earn up to $5,000 for hiring a qualified Veteran, and up to $15,000 for hiring one who is disabled between January 1, 2014 and before January 1, 2016.

http://www.veterans.ny.gov/content/hire-vet-credit

Utah  Utah Veteran Employment Tax Credit provides a tax credit for the first year beginning at $200 per month, not to exceed $2,400 per year and increases the second year to $400 per month, not to exceed $4,800 per year for each veteran hired.

http://incometax.utah.gov/credits/veteran-employment

Vermont  The State of Vermont now provides a tax credit of $2,000 to employers who hire a veteran with recent military service.

http://veterans.vermont.gov/transitions/taxcredit

West Virginia  The West Virginia Military Incentive Act of 1991 (MIP) offers employers up to $5,000 in tax credits (based on a percentage of the first $5,000 in wages paid after one continuous year of employment) on their West Virginia corporate or personal tax liability for hiring any service-connected disabled veteran, economically-disadvantaged Vietnam-era or Korean conflict veterans, or unemployed active members of the National Guard or Reserves.

http://www.wvcommerce.org/business/workforcewv/veterans/mip/default.aspx

Tax credits and incentives change frequently, and are usually directly tied to the state and federal governments’ legislative cycle.  Check your state’s veterans agency and workforce development office for new or updated incentives.

 

Military/Veteran Jobs and Benefits news of the day for 8/25/14

Good news story of the day

Veterans, organizations to Benefit from baseball game  (Bridgeport News)  Connecticut military veterans and several organizations supporting them will be honored at the 4th annual Homerun for Heroes Bridgeport Bluefish Baseball Game on Saturday, Aug. 30.

Military Transition and Jobs News

Army’s top enlisted man speaks about cutting troops  (The Town Talk)  Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler has less than six months left on the job, but he’s still pushing hard on several key soldier issues.

Job fair slated at Turner Center in Fontana  (Daily Bulletin)  The theme of the job fair is “thank a hero, hire a veteran,” but nonveterans are welcome, too.

USAA Taps Analytics to Speed Military Transitions  (Baseline)  Transitioning from the military to civilian life is one of the biggest challenges facing veterans. They need to find a place to live, land a job and deal with other issues involved in this major life change.

Job-hunting veterans get a boost at UMass Lowell  (The Boston Globe)  Jeremy Alaniz was an economics student at Texas A&M University when he watched United Airlines Flight 175 crash into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Veterans News

Center focuses on supporting veterans  (Daily News)  Veterans Resource Centers of America provides community-based support services for veterans and their families, with a particular focus on homeless and at-risk veterans.

Veterans Affairs plans town hall in Lincoln  (SFGate)  Veterans will have a chance to give feedback the Department of Veterans Affairs services at a town hall in Lincoln on Tuesday.

Women Veterans’ Symposium aims to connect and create awareness  (KTSM)  The Women Veterans’ Symposium is held with the hopes of connecting women veterans with each other and making them aware of the resources they have access to. It is hosted by the Military Veteran Peer Network.

California Army veteran trying to prove he is not actually dead  (Daily News)  An Iraq veteran has been on a 2-year campaign to prove to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that he’s not dead.

Valor Grove apartment complex on Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center grounds targets homeless veterans  (Tuscaloosa News)  An $11 million apartment complex at the Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center has received 50 vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, allowing the project to specialize in housing for the homeless.

Veterans Affairs selects Columbus as regional site for Veterans Day  (The Columbus Bulletin)  The Veterans Day National Committee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has selected the Town of Columbus as a 2014 Veterans Day Regional Site.

Benefits News

The VA Provides Full Coverage for Veterans With ALS  (VA)  ALS has been getting a lot of attention from the Ice Bucket Challenge, but many veterans do not know the military covers them if they have the disease.

California Army veteran trying to prove he is not actually dead  (Daily News)  An Iraq veteran has been on a 2-year campaign to prove to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that he’s not dead.

VETERANS’ CORNER: VA program adds primary care  (Mineral Wells Index)  The Department of Veterans Affairs announces that primary care has been added to the services available to veterans through VA’s Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) contracts, a key and evolving part of the non-VA medical care program.

Federal law guarantees in-state tuition for student veterans  (Red and Black)  A new federal law guarantees veterans tuition benefits when they enroll in a public university in the United States.

Vashon man seeks his gay partner’s federal VA benefits  (Seattle Times)  The ceremony was meticulously planned, befitting a wedding where one of the grooms is a self-professed Virgo with obsessive-compulsive leanings.

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Have a great day!