June DOL VETS and VSO Meeting
The monthly meeting between the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) and personnel and leaders from Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) around the country was held at the DOL Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2018.
The meeting began with an overview of the new courses offered by the National Veterans Training Institute (NVTI). Some key highlights from the presentation were:
- Fifteen (15) core Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) courses were updated. These courses are required by newly hired Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists and Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER) within 18 months of being hired.
- Three legacy courses have been redesigned into five courses, with three prerequisite eLearning courses focusing on pertinent laws, regulations, and significant barriers to employment (SBEs).
- The two in-person classes, one for DVOP specialists and one for LVERs, are now competency based. Other topics include Case Management, Managing Case Management, Leadership, Working with Special Populations, Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA) Investigators, and Veteran Benefits.
- The primary training location is Dallas, TX, with 26 training locations around the country and opportunities for onsite delivery when requested.
- Eligibility has been expanded to Regional Administrator for Veterans’ Employment and Training (RAVETs), Director for Veterans’ Employment and Training (DVETs), American Job Centers, Employment & Training Administration (ETA) grants staff, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Wagner-Peyser Act, as well as competitive grant recipients like the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program.
- New courses being developed include Advanced Employer Outreach/Business Services, Grants Management courses for federal staff and newly funded grant recipients, as well as Career Coaching.
- A JVSG instructional guide is also being developed for newly hired JVSG staff which will include basic information about JVSG which will serve as a primer before completing courses at NVTI.
The discussion then turned to employment issues associated with military spouses and disabled veterans. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes representatives began the discussion with information about their program to create Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones across various states to address the economic impact of unemployment and underemployment of military spouses. This program grew out of a study conducted by the foundation titled Military Spouses in the Workplace, which found that only 50% of military families polled reported having dual income status. Hiring Our Heroes will be launching this program throughout American cities in 2018. This will be a collaborative effort among the local business, civic, and military communities to establish geographically-focused employment networks to connect military spouses to local career opportunities. Read about the program here.
The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) presented next, speaking about their efforts to create a national dialogue regarding licensure for military spouses and their stay at work/return to work program demonstration RETAIN (Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network). RETAIN Demonstration Projects are a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in partnership with DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA)This program demonstration will test the impact of early intervention strategies that improve stay-at-work/return-to-work (SAW/RTW) outcomes of individuals who experience work disability while employed. Read more about this program here.
ODEP also highlighted their Job Accommodation Network (JAN), which provides free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues including accommodating veterans in the workplace.
In addition, ODEP presented on their Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program, a framework for systems change that centers on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life. Issues that this program focuses on include mental health and veterans. Read about the program here.
Finally, ODEP shared two resources that provide information on disability employment and mental health issues. The first, http://drivedisabilityemployment.org/, shares information on state policies, practices, technical assistance initiatives, and outcomes that are focused directly or indirectly on the employment of individuals with disabilities. The second resource, the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC), reports to Congress and federal agencies on issues related to serious mental illness (SMI) and serious emotional disturbance (SED).
The meeting ended with a brief discussion on events and resources from various VSOs:
- The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) will be hosting a Virtual Career Fair on June 20, 2018 and the Military and Veteran Networking Forum on September 20, 2018 at the National Air and Space museum in Washington, D.C., Click here for more information.
- The DC Metro Business Leadership Network will be hosting its 7th Annual Wounded Warriors Symposium titled: Building and Maintaining a Culture of Veteran Inclusion on June 27 in Reston, VA. Click here for more information.
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) provides a Guide to Hiring & Retaining Veterans with Disabilities on this website
- The American Legion convened the Employment Innovations Taskforce in February with the purpose of conducting independent surveys and assessments regarding the efficacy of content currently being delivered through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The group is also seeking to learn what recruitment efforts private sector employers are using to hire transitioning servicemembers now and in the future. Find more information here.
Finally, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be hosting their 5th Annual National Veterans Small Business Week from November 5–9, 2018. Find more information here.
As always, visit dol.gov/vets and veterans.gov for more employment, transition, training resources, and news.
MARKETING FOR DVOP SPECIALISTS AND LVERS-PART II
In Part I of Marketing for DVOPS and LVERS, we introduced the concept of marketing and explained how it differs from sales. We began a market analysis by considering who our customer is and what differentiates one customer from another. In Part II, we focus on expanding the market analysis around channels of communication and spend some time on the “4 Ps”.
Once you know your customers and their characteristics, the next step in marketing is to consider how you are going to communicate with your customer. For most DVOPs, this is relatively straight forward. Where the DVOP and LVER are in the same location, mostly likely you will talk to each other face-to-face. Where the DVOP and LVER are not collocated, you will likely use the phone, email, or maybe electronic chat to communicate.
This gets more complicated for LVERs whose customers vary by type of industry, who the contact is (e.g. a human resources person or the company owner/CEO) and the company’s commitment to hiring veterans through the AJC and possible other characteristics that complicate communication including geography, the company’s familiarity with the AJC and the services available, and the number of people the company is hiring on a recurring basis. Grouping companies with similar characteristics allows the LVER to consider appropriate ways to communicate with the customer. We suggest you create a matrix to portray the customer and the communication channels that you want to use for each one and how often you plan to communicate with the customer. An example is at Figure 1.
Figure 1-Sample Customer Communication Matrix
With a communication matrix complete – knowing your customers and knowing how you are going to communicate with each one, we can move on to a discussion about the “4 Ps” – Price, Product, Promotion, and Place.
Pricing: While it might appear that there is no price related to your “product” (a job ready veteran-client), consider this: there is a cost for the DVOP to work with the veteran-client and prepare the individual for employment. You can measure the cost in terms of the number of hours the DVOP spends with the veteran-client, how much money is spent on the veteran-client for training classes, time spent by other AJC staff working to support the veteran-client and the DVOP, as well as the veteran-client’s time. The LVER does not directly pay the DVOP, but if the veteran-client is not fully job-ready, the LVER will have spent time (money) working with the veteran-client before returning the veteran-client to the DVOP for additional development.
Likewise, LVER customers look at the cost to hire. While AJC services are free to the company, the company still must spend time screening and qualifying the candidate. If candidates are not really job-ready or are not a good match for the job, company culture, etc. then the company spends time and money on a non-viable candidate. This translates to their cost and to the Pricing of your “product.”
Product: As a veteran, you know the value that a veteran can bring to any organization. When you have a job-ready veteran-client who has a top-notch resume, dresses for success, can interview well, and is a close match to a company’s job requirements and culture, no one can beat the “product” you have to offer. When the DVOP completes their work with the veteran-client and transfers the veteran-client to the LVER in a closely coordinated and well communicated manner, the LVER is best positioned to help the veteran-client take the next steps to employment. A well-prepared veteran-client allows the LVER to match that veteran-client to a company.
Promotion: Because of the way our workforce system works, the DVOP seldom must “promote” their veteran-client to the LVER. However, there may be circumstances when promotion is still necessary. An example might be a homeless veteran or a recently incarcerated veteran who was imprisoned for a serious felony. Between the DVOP, the LVER, and the veteran-client, finding the best way to promote the individual as the veteran-client moves through the workforce system is important and requires a team effort if the process is to end successfully in a sustainable employment opportunity for the veteran-client.
On the other hand, “promotion” is a significant portion of the LVER’s work with hiring organizations. Not only does the LVER have to promote individual veteran-clients, the LVER must promote the AJC services, the workforce system, and importantly, themselves. As the spokesperson for the workforce system with hiring organizations, the LVER must look, act, and talk the part to be successful in placing candidates into meaningful jobs. Giving careful consideration to how to promote all these aspects to prospective employers in a customer-focused, integrated manner will help achieve the ultimate outcome of having veteran-clients become employees in targeted organizations. LVERs might create a Promotion Matrix such as the one in Figure 2 to help identify the best way to present the veteran-client, AJC, and themselves.
Place: For DVOP’s “place” is generally easy – it is where the LVER is located. If the DVOP and LVER are not collocated, the DVOP connects the veteran-client and the LVER by phone, email, or in some other manner. For LVER’s “place” is generally easy as well – its primarily where the company is located. It entails bringing the veteran-client to the company. Other “places” could be job fairs or even the AJC if companies come to these locations to meet the veteran-clients.
In this two-part series we have tried to introduce some marketing concepts as they apply to DVOPs and LVERs. The tools are as effective as you want to make them, but the tools are all designed to help DVOPs and LVERs successfully match job-ready veteran-clients to hiring organizations.