Free job fair on Wed­nes­day helps vets re­turn to civil­ian work af­ter ser­vice

The Day - - REGION - By JU­LIA BERGMAN Day Staff Writer j.bergman@theday.com Twit­ter: @Ju­li­aSBergman

When men and women leave the ser­vice and look for work in the civil­ian world, mil­i­tary job ti­tles and de­scrip­tions can be dif­fi­cult to trans­late into civil­ian terms.

That is when resources such as Amer­i­can Job Cen­ters, es­tab­lished by the U.S. Depart­ment of La­bor Em­ploy­ment and Train­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion, can help, ac­cord­ing to Paul Fur­bush, re­gional vet­er­ans’ em­ploy­ment co­or­di­na­tor for the U.S. Depart­ment of La­bor.

Fur­bush works for a DOL pro­gram called the Vet­er­ans Em­ploy­ment and Train­ing Ser­vice, which helps tran­si­tion­ing vet­er­ans find jobs, pro­vides em­ploy­ment resources and pro­tects the re-em­ploy­ment rights of ser­vice mem­bers, Na­tional Guard and re­servists re­turn­ing from ac­tive duty.

VETS is one of a hand­ful of pro­grams hold­ing a free job fair for vet­er­ans, ac­tive duty mil­i­tary mem­bers, guard and re­serve mem­bers, and mil­i­tary spouses at Mo­he­gan Sun on Vet­er­ans Day. Fur­bush said more than 70 em­ploy­ers have reg­is­tered so far.

The cen­ters, set up na­tion­wide and funded by the la­bor depart­ment, al­low vet­er­ans to talk with a staff mem­ber about the skills, abil­i­ties and at­tributes they de­vel­oped dur­ing their mil­i­tary ser­vice, said Fur­bush, a vet­eran him­self.

“For ex­am­ple, some­one that may have been an elec­tron­ics tech­ni­cian on the sub­ma­rine base in Gro­ton may have filled many col­lat­eral roles as a ca­reer coun­selor, an ed­u­ca­tion ser­vice of­fi­cer — those are all skills that they have learned and they might want to use in the civil­ian world,” he said. “They might not want to go into elec­tron­ics any­more.”

An em­ployee at the job cen­ter can meet with a vet­eran one-on-one, Fur­bush said, “and we can get that de­ter­mined and help them get the train­ing or fill the gaps that might ex­ist.”

There are 14 full ser­vice job cen­ters and five hubs in Con­necti­cut. More than 4,000 vet­er­ans — 11 per­cent fe­male and 89 per­cent male — have reg­is­tered in the Amer­i­can Job Cen­ters in the state, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral data.

In 2014, of those vet­er­ans who were reg­is­tered in the cen­ters in Con­necti­cut, 52 per­cent be­came em­ployed, Fur­bush said, an in­crease of 10 per­cent from 42 per­cent in 2013.

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