Transition to civilian life is often a complicated and overwhelming experience; without the proper support, many veterans get disconnected from the community and services that they need to adjust. In Hawaii, many veterans face homelessness as a result of these challenges and face incredible obstacles to rejoining their communities.
“When I started as a recruiter, many veterans were referred to my office for placement into PRIDE Industries. Due to increasing demand, we began to offer services to place people into other jobs and careers in the community, addressing the barriers and obstacles that they faced in getting a job, including housing, transportation, mental and physical health, and transitioning from the military into civilian life.”
Sean Sullivan has worked as an AbilityOne Recruiter and Employment Services Manager with PRIDE Industries since 2015. His enthusiasm to support people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, including our nation’s veterans, led to more connections with community referral sources that were eager to see PRIDE expand their employment services. This included VA Homeless Veterans Employment Services’ Community Employment Coordinator (CEC), Jackie Nguyen. Sean and Jackie connected in 2015 and since then they have worked closely together to discuss and explore ways they could improve outreach and job placement efforts.
“We both found that many veterans struggle to look for new jobs through USAJOBs or other traditional methods that they are encouraged to use,” said Sean. “Jackie and I strategized on ways to increase the numbers of unemployed veterans placed in employment. Our first course of action was to reach out to employers, like Marriot Hotels, in-person, to show how PRIDE Industries and the VA work together to provide employment support for veterans. We emphasize how hiring our nation’s veterans can make a business a true partner in strengthening our communities.”
“To provide job preparation and guidance for our veteran clients, we started to host monthly four-hour employment workshops at the Department of Labor and other locations. Activities included resume writing skills, interview role play, team building and learning how to search and apply for jobs on USAJOBS. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii also participated in the workshops and provided insights and tips to workshop attendees on how to apply for Federal jobs.”
Recently, in October 2019, PRIDE worked with the Homeless Veterans Employment services to start conducting monthly job fairs. The local Veteran Center and the American Job Center were very gracious to allow the employment team free use of their space. The monthly job fair event is promoted locally and takes place on the first Monday of each month. Employers are invited through the local Disability:In Hawaii Chapter and other business contacts on Oahu and encouraged to interview and make job offers on-the-spot.
“So far, since the monthly job fairs started, we have had seven (7) veterans offered jobs on-the-spot, and an additional nine (9) interviews scheduled in December 2019. We look forward to getting more veterans hired in 2020 and partnering with more businesses to fulfill their staffing need for a qualified workforce.”