Serving Those Who Served
Wednesday, November 11 is Veterans Day, a day to recognize and honor those who have served in our armed forces. West Michigan Works! is grateful for the service provided by our nation’s heroes. They made us their priority, and in return, Michigan Works! makes veterans a priority every day of the year. Veterans and their spouses are eligible for priority of service, meaning they can access services before or in place of non-veterans.
Making Connections for Veterans
West Michigan Works! provides one-on-one attention to their veteran customers. The workforce development agency has staff who sit on the West Michigan Veteran’s Coalition, which gives them access to and understanding of a variety of veteran-specific services in the region. This allows them to assist vets with issues such as housing and transportation by connecting them to services, in addition to finding employment. West Michigan Works! also connects veterans directly to employers who are hiring now. With most employers relying on digital applications and computer programs to filter applicants, this direct link ensures their experience and skills are seen by hiring managers and potential employers.
“Employers really like it when we share veterans’ resumes with them. Even if they don’t have a current opening that fits with the candidate, they might see skills that fit an opportunity that isn’t posted,” said John Walker, business solutions representative with West Michigan Works! who coordinates their monthly Veterans Networking Job Club. “This direct connection can open a lot of doors for vets seeking employment.”
Connecting through Networking
The Veterans Networking Job Club (VNJC) is the best way for veterans to connect with interested employers and other veteran-specific resources in the community. The VNJC is held on Zoom the third Thursday of each month. Any veterans who are actively job seeking or just want to check it out and learn more are invited to participate.
“The VNJC is very informal. We encourage participants to connect with video and ask questions, but they can participate without video by calling in on the phone,” said Walker. “We provide the platform so that vets can engage with service providers and employers as much or as little as they want. There’s no pressure to speak; it’s about their comfort level.”
Veterans can join the monthly meeting with a click of a button. For the first 20 minutes, they will hear from local service providers. The next hour is reserved for the six featured employers to talk about their job openings, and the final minutes are saved for questions and networking among the participants.
The virtual Veterans Networking Job Club happens the third Thursday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Interested veterans do need to register for the VNJC ahead of time. View featured employers, find resources and register to participate at VNJC.ORG.