Helping New Jersey’s Veterans Find Jobs: Recareering Event at Excelsior Medical on May 13th

New Jersey has over 463,000 veterans in the state, and unfortunately it has the dubious honor of 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.

Fortunately, there are some great companies that are eager to hire veterans.  Not because of a sense of pity, but instead because they recognize the remarkable value that someone who has served in uniform brings to their ranks; someone who will show up on time, knows how to lead and how to follow, how to effectively function in diverse and challenging environments, and the dozens of other traits that every veteran or transitioning military person has inculcated through their service.

Excelsior Medical is one such company.  On May 13th they will be hosting a daylong recareering workshop for transitioning military and veterans.  There is no cost to veterans and meals and parking are included.  The event will include one-on-0ne mentoring with veterans who already work at the hosting company 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 20 veterans at Excelsior Medical on May 13th.

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

 

A few thoughts on job and career fairs, part 3: Industry sponsored events

Job and career fairs are not all the same, and this is the third in a string of posts about the different types of transitioning military and veteran job and career fairs.  In the last post we explored fairs that focus on open events held on military bases, and in this post we will shift from military bases to industry sponsored events in which a specific company, group of companies, or an industry hosts an event that focuses on their specific area.

Industry specific opportunities are usually centered around providing insights for veterans and transitioning military into what businesses within the industry specialize in, such as manufacturing, oil and gas production, financial services, and healthcare.  They are usually held outside the realm of military bases at either a hosting company’s facility or a hotel or conference center.  There is usually no cost for transitioning military or veterans to attend, and often there are industry-centered orientation an training seminars offered during the event.  Since the seminars are hosted by companies or groups of companies, there are usually hiring managers present with job opportunities in hand that they want to fill with the veterans who participate in the seminar.

One example is the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP), which conducts recareering seminars for veterans and transitioning military that are sponsored and supported by companies within the life sciences industry.  These events are held at sponsoring company headquarters or training centers, and offer an inside view of the hosting business and the larger industry, along with skills building training and mentorship.  MVP will be conducting two such events in New Jersey during the next two months, the first of which will be held at Ethicon, a Johnson and Johnson company on April 29th, 2014.  For more information, follow this link to the press release for the event, and it is republished below as well:

MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program Announces New Jersey’s First Veteran and Transitioning Military Re-careering Seminar

SOMERVILLE, N.J.April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On April 29th, the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program(www.mvpvets.org) 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.

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 on April 29 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. Additionally, each participant will be provided with personal business cards for use in networking and job-seeking.  Capacity for this event is 30 people maximum.

There is no cost for participating veterans and transitioning military.  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/public-events/mentor-and-veteran-workshop-new-jersey/registration.html)

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 across a variety of corporate functional areas such as project management, supply chain, quality, and many others. http://www.mvpvets.org

 SOURCE MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program

(In the interest of full disclosure, I serve as the Chief Operating Officer for the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program, which is a 501(c)3 fiscally sponsored nonprofit organization that aims to recareer 5,000 veterans and transitioning military into the life sciences by 2018)

A few thoughts on job and career fairs, part 2: Open events held on base

I have attended literally dozens of career and jobs fairs, and along the way I have learned a great deal about how they operate.  They are not all the same, and this is the second post in a series about the different types of transitioning military and veteran job and career fairs.  In the last post we explored fairs that focus on a specific niche of veterans, and in this post we will go in the opposite direction by looking at the broadest type of job and career fair: open events held on military bases.

Although these events are not limited to military bases, the vast majority of these job fairs are indeed located on military installations.  Held in conjunction with transition assistance activities, their targeted group of participants is primarily transitioning military personnel.  I have never seen one that turns veterans away from the door, but it is important to recognize that the companies that are participating in these events are primarily looking to fill jobs that are entry level in nature.  These are also large events and tend to be well attended by job seekers and participating companies to the point of being crowded.  It is important to recognize that these events are great opportunities to go meet representatives from numerous diverse companies and organizations in order to learn more about opportunities and to see if there is something out there that you would like to pursue.  It is also important to recognize that it is not the place to start handing out resumes with the expectation that a hiring manager has been waiting all day for you to show up so that they can hire you.

These events are much more like going to a high school dance without a date; you can socialize with a lot of potential dance partners but you are not going to get married on the dance floor.  Unfortunately, I have had many people in transition lament that they handed out resume after resume at such an event and nobody ever called them back.  As a result, they become frustrated and cynical about job fairs.

That is too bad, because these types of fairs are great for those in transition to see what is out there.  If you recognize that up front, then you will have a great opportunity to learn more about companies, industries, jobs, and possible careers.  If not, then you risk missing a great opportunity to network.

The best way to find out about these types of career fairs is to look them up at your local military base.  Every service has a transition assistance office, and they are the POC for upcoming events.  Here is a link to an event at Camp LeJeune on March 26th:  Job fair targets transitioning military  If you are in the area, check it out.  Just remember that it is much more of a networking opportunity than an onsite job interview opportunity.

In the next post we will look at industry-focused opportunities.

A recareering opportunity for transitioning military and veterans

I have been fortunate to be able to help transitioning military and veterans since I made the jump from active duty back to the civilian world both through writing and in person.  It has been tremendously rewarding to help make the confusing and challenging journey that is transition less daunting, and now I am thrilled to be in a position to help literally thousands more find rewarding and meaningful career opportunities in the Life Sciences industry as was announced this week:

Medical Technology Veterans Program is renamed the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP) and Expands Nationwide

– Offers Advanced Educational Resources and Training for Veteran Recruits

– New Web Portal Address: http://www.mvpvets.org

CARLSBAD, Calif., Feb. 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Medical Technology Veterans Program, renamed the MedTech and BioTech Veterans Program (MVP), has expanded nationwide and to industries across the life sciences. MVP is a career-training and mentorship program, designed to help veterans transition into jobs in the medical technology (medtech), biotechnology (biotech), life sciences and diagnostic industries. This successful program has expanded nationwide to offer customized educational programs aimed at preparing veterans for impactful and meaningful employment as professionals in the life sciences. As part of this expansion, the new MVP web portal will now be located at http://www.mvpvets.org.

Foundational partners of MVP, including heart pump manufacturer, Abiomed, Inc., and medical device trade association AdvaMed, will also welcome a new partner, BioCollaborative, to assist in reaching additional veterans from around the country and providing cutting edge industry-focused training. With its expertise in developing and administering customized eLearning platforms, BioCollaborative is an ideal partner to assist in equipping job-seeking veterans with pragmatic learning solutions necessary to succeed in the job market.

“This expansion and new partnership will enable us to reach more veterans and mentors from all over the country and provide quality training and mentorship for our service men and women who are looking to build a career in the life sciences and medical technology industries,” said Michael Minogue, Chief Executive Officer of Abiomed and MVP Chairman. “I am also excited to introduce MVP’s new President, Mike Grice, a veteran with a 27-year career in the United States Marine Corps. and a former professor at National University, a great fit for the program.”

MVP, which launched in 2012, recognizes the strong correlation between the mission of the medtech and biotech industries and those veterans who wish to pursue careers in the life sciences. The program applies to all military veterans, with special recognition to those who have served since 9/11 and those wounded overseas.

Participants interact with mentors, who are industry professionals and veterans that have already transitioned into successful civilian roles at medtech or biotech companies. Mentors represent job functions ranging from sales and customer support to operations, human resources, manufacturing and R&D, as well as C-level executives at leading medical device and life sciences companies who will provide advice and guidance throughout the transition process. The United States is a global leader in both the medical device and biotech industries, which directly and indirectly supports millions of jobs across the United States and overseas.

“We look forward to increasing the number of veterans and mentors registered on the MVP web portal, with the goal of reaching 5,000 veterans by 2018,” said Mike Grice. “The program’s increased sophistication and customized training will enable more touch points and hands-on training for MVP veterans to learn real-world skills in our industries, including the implementation of regional and state-based training programs.”

In addition to the web portal and online educational programs, which result in industry-recognized certifications, MVP will also host regional events for veterans and mentors to connect, mentor training and networking. Members will also gain access to the online learning and collaboration community for jobseekers known as JobFastPass. The new web portal (www.mvpvets.org) includes a database of veterans’ resumes that are exclusive to partnering companies, as well as a series of webinars which are free to veterans and mentors. The webinar topics include careers in the medtech and biotech industries, social media networking, personal branding, as well as creating high-impact resumes.

To register for the MVP program as either a mentor or veteran jobseeker, please go to http://www.mvpvets.org. If you are already a member of the MVP program and have questions about this new expansion, please contact Mike Grice at mgrice@mvpvets.org.

You can access the press release here.

If this looks like something that you would be interested in, please check out the website: www.mvpvets.org or shoot me an email!