Orland Park Holds Free Employment Seminar For Southland Veterans

Orland Park Holds Free Employment Seminar For Southland Veterans
Posted on 01/15/2018

All area veterans are invited to attend a free, five-day employment transition seminar January 22 - 26, 2018 at the Village of Orland Park Cultural Center, 14760 Park Lane. The seminar runs from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Co-sponsored by the Village of Orland Park and Operation: Job Ready Veterans, the five-day seminar is open to veterans who received any discharge other than dishonorable, members of the National Guard or Reserve, spouses of veterans, Active Duty, National Guard or Reserve spouses, military caregivers, and dependent children of working age.

"The village held its first Job Ready Veterans job seminar back in August and we had a positive response," said Mayor Keith Pekau. "We know several attendees were able to secure jobs soon after and are now working."

The free seminar will focus on transition assistance, resume preparation, company research, networking and interviewing skills, and employer introductions. Those who complete the four-day seminar will attend a mini graduation ceremony and hiring fair on Friday, January 26.

Each participant should bring a DD214/ Retired ID/ Active Military ID or Dependent ID.
The seminar includes complimentary refreshments during the morning and lunch in the afternoon.

"Seminars geared for those transitioning out of the military are extremely beneficial not only to the veterans, but also to their families. Military families have a lot to offer the workforce so it's critical to assist them in the reintegration process," Pekau said.

Operation: Job Ready Veterans, a nonprofit based in Indianapolis, is dedicated to preparing service members, veterans, military spouses, dependent and caregivers for entry into the workforce.

Beverly Fitch, Chicagoland's Career Coach for OJRV, facilitated the August seminar and will lead the January seminar.

"After leaving the Army, I had transition struggles. I attended a seminar in Indianapolis and I graduated feeling enlightened and encouraged," Fitch said. "I am a testimony to my fellow comrades and military community that Operation: Job Ready Veterans is passionate about helping veterans, service members and families with transition, preparing them for the road to employment, and connecting them with military-friendly employers."

The seminar includes resume writing, which focuses on translating what veterans did in the service into civilian speak, and re-wording resumes to meet job market standards. Veterans are welcome to bring resumes, but is not required, as they will create one.

"A lot of our veterans need a little more confidence and encouragement to navigate the processes in finding employment. Veterans don't like bragging about themselves," Fitch said. "I always tell veterans that we have what employers need so let's just go out there and show them."

Veterans will learn to network, interview, and give a 30-second elevator speech on themselves. Veterans will be asked to prepare and rehearse their speech so that they become comfortable talking about themselves and what they can offer a company.

"Our goal at Operation: Job Ready Veterans is to bridge life's transitional gaps for veterans, service members and military families," Fitch said.

She explained that her personal goals for participants are to help them identify the transitional gaps that may be hindering them from finding a sustainable and retainable career, such as resume writing, interviewing, lack of education or certification, and having a successful plan to close the gap.

"Most importantly, that they leave confident, encouraged and determined to move forward on their bridge to employment and wholeness," she said.

The program has seen 83 percent of graduates get hired within a month of the class and 90 percent retain their jobs. Fitch said that 75 percent of the participants from the August seminar are now employed.

"We're also hoping that veterans will join the VFW or the American Legion and become more involved in the community," said Orland Park Veterans Program Assistant Tom Dubelbeis. "Veterans have a lot to contribute - they're very focused and mission-oriented."

Veterans interested in the free, five-day seminar need to register by Thursday, January 18.

Register online at www.jobreadyvets.org, (312) 636-9777 or (855) 456-2732 or email BFitch@jobreadyvets.org.