Recruiting Veterans for a Water Treatment Career Opportunity

Jason Gorr, Technical Assistance Provider: As many of us Technical Assistance Providers know and try to convey to Utility Managers and Boards/Councils, on average, Veterans often possess many of the skills and traits that allow them to become exceptional employees in our field.  Previous experiences and training that further develop senses of responsibility, hard work, leadership, problem-solving, and integrity are exactly what is needed in the industry.  Often Vets  already possess job-related skills of the science based and mechanical nature due to their service experience.  Also a team approach and concern for the public is inherently stressed during training.  One of the biggest plusses I see from our service people, is the maturity gleaned which can allow them to make better choices and become better long-term employees.
 
I recently participated in a webinar-based training event focused on identifying ways Military Veterans can enter the Water Treatment Career Field.  This webinar was done by EPA staff in an effort to teach employers interested in hiring Veterans all the benefits both they and the Veteran are eligible to receive.  Programs focused on education benefits, mentoring/apprenticeship, and on-the-job training were all covered.  In reality, it’s often overwhelming for Veterans and potential employers alike to try to decipher the immense range of possible options that may best help them. 
 
The beauty of this training was they actually detailed some of the specifics and included contacts I’d like to pass on to others interested in learning about the process.
 
1. EPA and the Veterans Administration recognize the need for this ‘pathway’ to exist in May of 2012 when they created an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stating such:
Ø Basically the Water Sector needs more and better employees and we all want to help our Veterans find good careers upon their re-entry to the civilian life.
 
2. The VA has created information to better help Utilities Recruit potential employees.
 
3. Programs such as On-The-Job-Training (OJT), Special Employer Incentive (SEI), and Non-Paid Work Experience all benefit both the employers and the Vets and can be utilized for eligible candidates where best suited.
 
Ø Site designed to connect employers with employees
 
5. National VetSuccess Employment Coordinators List
 
6. GI Bill (is incorporated into some of the above programs also) can be used to become educated and certified prior or during employment in the Water Sector for Eligible Vets
Ø Information: http://www.gibill.va.gov/ – (888) 442-4551
This blog was written by Jason Gorr, Technical Assistance Provider for Midwest Assistance Program.
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