How Ethicon and Johnson and Johnson are helping veterans find new careers

I spent yesterday in New Jersey, where Ethicon (a Johnson and Johnson company) partnered with the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP) hosted 15 veterans in their Somerville headquarters. The veterans were paired with mentors from a half dozen supporting companies, and were able to participate in a full day of industry familiarization, job seeking skill building, resume review, social media branding, and networking.

The CEO of Johnson and Johnson, Alex Gorsky, and the President of Ethicon, Dan Wildman, both took time from their incredibly busy schedules to address the participants.  As if that were not enough commitment from the organization to help veterans, the day culminated with the J&J Talent Acquisition team opening showing how participants could access the thousands of job openings across the J&J family of companies.  It was a testament to how the company is a leader in the veteran employment space, and it is the first of what will become an annual event.

The event is one of six that MVP will be conducting with Life Science companies this year.  The next event is scheduled for May 13th, where Excelsior Medical will be hosting up to 20 veterans at their headquarters in Neptune, New Jersey.  Other events will be held in Chicago, San Diego, Minneapolis, and Boston, so if you are in any of these areas please consider attending!  The events are free for veterans, and each company will be sharing job opportunities as a part of the event.

For more information about upcoming events and the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program, go to http://www.mvpvets.org and scroll down to the upcoming events section of the landing page.

If you would like to participate, sign up!  We are looking for veterans to participate in every event, and the opportunity to learn about the life science industry and how companies operate is an opportunity that is very different from a job fair or career seminar.

I hope to see you at one of the events!

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The Drawdown Hits Home

Yesterday I had the great fortune to run into a Marine that I had the pleasure to work with while I was still on active duty.  The young sergeant, who had served honorably and faithfully for eight years and through three wartime deployments, shared with me that despite his overwhelming desire to stay in uniform and continue to serve the nation that he was being forced out of the Marine Corps.  Not because of anything he did – in fact just the opposite.  He was forced out because he loved what he was doing, but because of his success and the successes of countless thousands of others in uniform the need for so many Marines (and Soldiers and Sailors and Airmen) has diminished.  With the end of our active wars overseas comes the end of the need for the large military that had fought them, and with then of the need for so many uniformed military men and women comes the need to shrink the force.

That need is why such a talented, motivated, professional, and dedicated Marine NCO is being shown the door.  Along with thousands and thousands of professionals just like him.

Earlier in the week I attended an event in which LtGen John Toolan, the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, shared his personal dilemma in regards to the downsizing of the military.  His command, which has been on the absolute tip of the spear in Iraq and Afghanistan (having had elements ranging from platoons to divisions deployed to both theaters), is facing the practical realities of a contracting military.  He had over 4000 re-enlistment requests sitting on his desk (not really sitting there, but awaiting action from his headquarters) from Marines who want to continue to serve.

He only had the authority to approve 400 of them.

The effect of the reduction in forces is that one in ten Marines who want to stay in and continue to serve are able to do so.  The other nine are headed out the door to a future that does not include the career that they had anticipated.  Those nine are headed back into the society they served, and they will all need jobs once they arrive.

Josef Stalin once said that one death is a tragedy and one million is a statistic.  In the context of a career that is cut short by a shrinking military his words are strikingly relevant nearly a century after he uttered them.  One serviceman or servicewoman whose career is ended because of the vicissitudes of DOD force structure is indeed a tragedy because of the unfulfilled future to which they had dedicated their lives, but the tens of thousands who are being pushed out the door are just a statistic.

Edmund Burke also observed that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  If those of us who inhabit the society in which those in uniform will return simply look at the statistics and shrug them off, then we are guilty of failing each and every new veteran and allowing the evil of unemployment and underemployment to befall those who have ensured that our society remains free and unfettered by the shackles of tyranny.

So ask yourself: is the drawdown a cascade of individual tragedies that we can collectively help avert or a statistic that we will collectively ignore, or is there something we can do to make sure that the careers that they were not fulfilled in uniform can be created once they hang up the cloth of the nation?

 

Military/Veteran Jobs and Benefits news of the day for for 4/25/14

Good news story of the day

Michelle Obama Announcing Jobs Website For Veterans  (The Huffington Post)  First lady Michelle Obama has announced a new online effort to link soldiers leaving the military with jobs that match their skill sets.

Military Transition and Jobs News

Mentor and Veteran Workshop: New Jersey  (Stars and Stripes)  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.

Veteran job fair planned May 6  (The Augusta Chronicle)  A job fair for veterans will be held May 6.

Veterans can get one-on-one job hunt advice at Huntsville career fair  (AL.com)  Putting veterans to work is the goal of an upcoming job fair.

Rising unemployment for veterans leaves many seeking work  (KIMATV)  More veterans in Yakima County are unemployed. Hundreds searched for work at a veterans’ job fair in Yakima Thursday.

Veterans News

Arizona VA boss accused of covering up veterans’ deaths linked to previous scandal  (Fox News)  A Veterans Affairs official accused of keeping double books to hide the fact that dozens of veterans died awaiting care previously ran a Washington state VA facility that allegedly fudged suicide numbers, FoxNews.com has learned.

VA looks to data for customer service solutions  (C4ISR&Networks)  The Department of Veterans Affairs long has struggled to meet customer needs, amassing an enduring backlog of claims benefits with which it continues to grapple.

NAVY VETERAN, 92, FINALLY GETS MILITARY MEDALS  (AP)  A 92-year-old military veteran has gotten long-overdue medals he earned for serving in the Navy during World War II.

40 U.S. veterans die while on Phoenix VA hospital’s cost-cutting secret wait list: report  (NY Daily News)  At least 40 U.S. veterans have died waiting for medical appointments at Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system — including many placed on a secret waiting list.

Benefits News

Congressional hearing in Tucson on veterans’ access to health care  (Tucson News Now)  Many veterans coming home from overseas are fighting new battles as they attempt to get VA system treatment for traumatic brain injury, or T-B-I and post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Local Veterans Frustrated with VA Benefits Backlog  (WSET)  Local veterans are frustrated with the backlog in disability benefits. They are criticizing the Department of Veterans Affairs for the long and enduring process.

VA regional office finally lifts roadblock to veteran’s benefits  (The Tennessean)  A Tennessee World War II veteran will finally be able to collect his benefits now that a federal agency has dropped claims that he couldn’t handle his own financial affairs.

VA official answers benefit questions at GlenWood Park  (Bluefield Daily Telegraph)   Veterans who served their country during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other conflicts had questions Thursday for a representative of an agency that impacts all their lives, the Veterans Administration.

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Military/Veteran Jobs and Benefits news of the day for for 4/22/14

Good news story of the day

Afghanistan veteran launching cross-country memorial trek from DuPont this week  (The News Tribune) An Afghanistan veteran embarking on eight-month hike across the country to honor fallen troops is holding a pair of kick-off events in Pierce County this week.

Military Transition and Jobs News

Monster and Military.com Host National Veteran Employment Summit  (The Wall Street Journal)  Monster and Military.com announced they will host their second National Veteran Employment Summit featuring leading voices in the private sector, government and non-profit organizations and showcasing innovative solutions to improve the way in which companies recruit, train and retain veterans in the civilian workforce.

Job fair aims to boost veterans’ employment  (Business Daily)  About 75 area employers will be on hand for a veterans job fair May 8 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

CAREER FAIR FOR VETERANS SET AT MARSHALL  (AP)  A career fair for veterans and military service members is scheduled at Marshall University.

Veterans News

Md. gov candidate suggests Iraq War vet opponent not up for ‘real job’  (Fox News)   A Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland is defending comments he made Monday in which he suggested his opponent, an Iraq war veteran, was not up to the task of a “real job.”

Veterans Village building new veterans beds  (Examiner)  The number of veterans who settle in at Veeterans Village and find a life on their own will go up in July in 2015. Last week, the city council approved VVSD’s plan to build a new two story building with 20 transitional beds.

Ave Maria developers offer 20 acres needed for Collier veterans nursing home  (Naples News)  The developers of Ave Maria are offering to donate 20 acres in the community for a state-run nursing home for veterans, enabling Collier County to be in the running for the project against several other Florida counties.

Interview: 5 questions for the naked veteran  (Military Times)  Vietnam War veteran Max Sanchez struggles with controlling issues stemming from post-traumatic stress.

Benefits News

ROVER Reaches Out to Veterans in Rural Nevada  (Public News Service)  Veterans living in rural Nevada will likely have the opportunity to meet with a Veterans Services officer without having to leave town.

Veteran benefits questions answered at free event  (WRAL)  The Disabled American Veterans and the Harley Davidson Foundation will host an event on May 3 to answer questions about veteran benefits and services.

A day in the life of a Veterans Services Program coordinator  (UWire)  UH Veterans Services Program Coordinator Lawren Bradberry walks through the door a bit past noon and a little out of breath.

Express Scripts to continue as Tricare prescription provider  (Military Times)  Express Scripts, the Pentagon’s pharmacy benefit management company, has been awarded a contract worth up to $5.4 billion over eight years to continue providing pharmacy services for Tricare beneficiaries.

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Military/Veteran Jobs and Benefits news of the day for for 4/21/14

Good news story of the day

A Veteran’s Story: Vet soon to be 106 years old  (Mansfield News Journal)  When William Dormaier joined the Army in 1943, he was 35 years old and just married.

Military Transition and Jobs News

Twelve Kansas City area employers honored for hiring military veterans  (Kansas City Business)  Twelve Kansas City area employers that hired military veterans through Missouri’s Show-Me Heroes program have been honored by the state’s Department of Economic Development.

Job fair focused on veterans, spouses  (Insurance News Net)  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will host a job fair for veterans and military spouses Tuesday at American Legion Celina Post 210, 2510 E. state Route 703.

‘Ugh. I miss it.’  (The Washington Post)  ransitioning from military to civilian life, and from camaraderie to isolation.

Staff sergeant rank due to get culled  (Marine Corps Times)  Marine Corps Times has obtained details of the upcoming Staff Sergeant Retention Board, which will be held for the first time this summer to cull hundreds of staff sergeants who were passed over twice for promotion and have served between 15 and 18 years.

Veterans News

Gulf War illness: Thousands who served still report mysterious symptoms

Military Veterans Bring Value to the Classroom  (Chronicle.com)  I have followed with interest the national conversation about the important role of colleges in easing the transition of military veterans into the classroom.

Group to host fundraiser for wounded veterans  (Reporter Newspapers)  The Phoenix Patriot Foundation will bring its mission to aid wounded veterans to Sandy Springs.

John Walsh: Preventing Veteran Suicide Is ‘The Cost Of War’  (Huffington Post)  Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) posed a question to his colleagues on Capitol Hill this Sunday: If lawmakers are willing to spend billions of dollars on war, why are they less willing to invest in the welfare of veterans when they come home?

SC veterans plan ‘last hurrah’ to D-Day beaches  (The State)  A month after World War II ended, Jeanne Palyok, an American raised in France by her grandparents, sailed back to Paris to work as a translator at the U.S. Embassy.

Veterans home had HIV scare  (UT San Diego)  The Chula Vista veterans home whose director was ousted this month had the lowest health rating available from the federal government and had seen a sharp uptick in negative findings from state health inspectors, records show.

Retirees create network to help active-duty families  (Air Force Times)  One airman couldn’t fit an oil change into his busy schedule.

 Benefits News

Social Security launches expedited disability process for veterans  (The Gadsden Times)  The Social Security Administration has launched a new disability process to expedite disability claims filed by veterans with a Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation rating of 100 permanent and total.

Vets’ benefits, community service sessions coming up in Middletown  (The Middletown Press)  Military veterans in and around Middlesex County are invited for a special service session at the Milardo-Wilcox American Legion Post 75, 58 Bernie O’Rourke Drive, later this week.

VA Hospital’s Rural Mobile Unit Helps Veterans Across the State  (WBOY 12)  For thousands of veterans, getting the healthcare they need means traveling hundreds of miles away, which results in many not seeing a doctor for years.

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Military/Veteran Jobs and Benefits news of the day for for 4/17/14

Good news story of the day

Veterans, unclaimed for 25 years, laid to rest with honors at Quantico  (The Washington Post)  No one who attended Wednesday’s funeral service at Quantico National Cemetery had ever met the two World War II-era veterans who were being laid to rest.

Military Transition and Jobs News

Career fair benefits Bay Area veterans  (The Inquirer Online)  Professionals and veterans from all over the Bay Area found jobs and were helped with essential skills at the Bay Area Career Fair.

Hamden job fair puts focus on veterans  (New Haven Register)  Veterans young and old parked their cars up and down Sherman Avenue outside the CFC Arena Indoor Sports Center to attend the Hiring for Heroes job fair Wednesday in hopes of finding a job.

Miss. to hold veterans job fair  (The Clarion-Register)    The Third Annual Veterans Job, Health and Benefits Fair will be held at the Mississippi Trademart from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.

Job fair brings new opportunities for Hoosier veterans  (Foz59)  Hundreds of Indiana veterans took advantage of a unique opportunity Wednesday, as they participated in a special job fair called Operation Hire a Hoosier Veteran.

Veterans News

Braley pitches veteran jobs bills in Ames  (Ames Tribune)  Congressman Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, promoted two bills aimed at increasing job opportunities for unemployed veterans during a visit to Ames Wednesday.

Sweeney’s job bills can help unemployed N.J. veterans: Letter  (NJ.com)  Sweeney’s job bills can help unemployed N.J. veterans: Letter

Gov. McCrory announces jobs initiative plan for veterans  (WNCN)  Gov. Pat McCrory announced a major jobs initiative plan to help military veterans get jobs after serving their country.

Montrose veterans program tears down barriers and earns accolades  (The Denver Post)  Last week, the founder of Welcome Home Montrose was filling out a form in a doctor’s office when she was struck by the fact that, amid pages of questions about family status and medical issues, there was nothing about military service.

The Rise and Fall of Major Jim Gant  (War On The Rocks)  Whether you are interested in an unusual love story or in how the United States fights protracted wars, Ann Scott Tyson’s American Spartan is an important  book.

Congress unhappy with DoD, VA health records progress  (Military Times)  House lawmakers plan to hold back millions in dollars of technology funding from Defense and Veterans Affairs department planners until Congress is convinced they are making progress on developing a way to share electronic medical records.

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Jobs for New Jersey Veterans

New Jersey has been identified as having the highest unemployment rate for veterans in the country.  According to information released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the state had an unemployment rate for veterans of 10.8 percent in 2013.  There are a lot of unemployed veterans in New Jersey, and companies like Ethicon (a Johnson and Johnson company located in Somerville) and Excelsior Medical (a medical device manufacturer located in Neptune) are doing something about it.  They are both opening their doors to host recareering and hiring seminars for transitioning military and veterans in the New Jersey area.

The one-day seminars are completely free for veterans to attend, and they will include one-on-0ne mentoring with veterans who already work at the hosting companies as well as human resources experts and hiring managers who will work with the veterans to improve their resumes, refine job-seeking skills like interviewing and effective social networking, and to interview qualified veterans for jobs.  Space is limited to 30 veterans at Ethicon on April 29th and 20 veterans at Excelsior Medical on May 13th.

To register and reserve a seat at either event, follow this link (www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form) or go to the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website at http://www.mvpvets.org and follow the “Mentor and Veteran Workshop” link under “events”.

Here is more information about the events from yesterday’s press release:

Seats added to help New Jersey’s Veterans find new careers at the inaugural Veteran and Transitioning Military Re-careering Seminar

 SOMERVILLE, N.J., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On April 29th, the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (www.mvpvets.com) will host its inaugural re-careering event for transitioning military and veterans in New Jersey.  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, industry specific training, eLearning enrollment, and personal engagement with hiring managers seeking to employ program participants.  Enrollment has been increased to 30 participants in order to help veterans in New Jersey and the surrounding area find new careers in areas such fields as project management, supply chain, quality control, human resources, and many others.

There is no cost for veterans and transitioning military, and hiring managers with positions to fill will be participating.  All materials, breakfast, lunch, and parking are provided free of charge.  Transitioning military and veterans interested in participating in the program can apply at the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program website (http://www.mvpvets.org/mvpvets-event-interest-form).

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. Hiring managers from companies strongly desiring to hire transitioning military and veterans participate in the program as mentors, trainers, and interviewers.
The event will be hosted by Ethicon, Inc., a global leader in the medical device industry, at their Somerville facility.

Participants will be able to submit their resumes for review and editing the week prior to the event so that they can be thoroughly prepared for submission to hiring managers.

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.  Co-founded by  Abiomed (www.abiomed.com) and Zero Boundaries Global (www.zbglobal.com), MVP brings active 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, MedDevice, BioTech, Pharmaceutical, BioFuels, and Wireless Medical Technology sectors.

For more information, please go to www.mvpvets.org or contact mgrice@mvpvets.org.