VOWS Opens Doors for New Veterans in Employment Fight
Posted by Joseph Bitet on June 29
Although the USS Intrepid was decommissioned in 1974, last Thursday the Veterans on Wall Street job fair and conference brought it back to life. IAVA Member Veterans from across the tristate area were among the ranks of service members in attendance. Through a combination of educational initiatives, mentoring, outreach to the military, employee affinity groups, and an annual conference, VOWS seeks to promote career development, support, and retention of veterans throughout the global financial services industry.
Central to the VOWS mission is the recognition that many of the skills veterans developed in the military–leadership, fast and accurate decision–making, operational focus, and the drive to accomplish a mission–have direct application on Wall Street and throughout corporate America. VOWS also recognizes that the cultural values our veterans have developed in the military– like passion, drive, commitment, and teamwork- mesh with the corporate values sought after and practiced in the financial services industry. Currently, VOWS is working with veterans groups like IAVA, military organizations, industry associations and vendors to build awareness and understanding of how these skills and cultural attributes make military veterans outstanding employees.
Despite heavy rainfall, approximately 100 companies and 1500 veterans took part in the Intrepid event on Thursday. The companies had recruiters on site offering information on available careers for the participating veterans. Most of the attendees arrived armored in their best suits and armed with their latest resume. Many were happy to take advantage of the unique opportunity that VOWS offered.
“I think the job fair is going exceptional,” said Ely Ross, an IAVA Member Veteran and recent graduate of Penn State Law School, who is currently seeking employment. We have a number of great companies out here who are dedicating themselves to hiring veterans. Vets are an untapped resource who have fallen to the wayside … I’m having a great time being out here and meeting people.”
The companies who participated also felt like they benefitted from attending VOWS.
"We are looking for candidates to hire,” said Danielle Diaz, a recruiter for JP Morgan Chase. “We have hired veterans before and we find they are very hard working, team players who are great at multitasking. A lot of the time they are very analytical, detail-oriented and coachable."
In addition to the job fair, the event was filled with workshops and keynote speakers, including James Rebholz, National Chairman, National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (NCESGR), Marshall Carter, Deputy Chairman of the NYSE Euronext Board, and General Stanley McChrystal (Ret.).
Most of the speakers highlighted the importance of keeping our returning service members employed, explaining how it was mutually beneficial to both companies and veterans.
It has been a long and hard fight for veterans to get the recognition and opportunities that they deserve in the civilian job market. The fight is nowhere near over, but progress is evident at events like VOWS. Veteran support organizations like IAVA and civilian employers are making these opportunities possible for veterans, but as vets we must share the responsibility too. When events like this are available, we need to attend in mass numbers and give these employers maximum exposure to our community.
Many of us have been put in unique situations, which have given us an equally unique skill set. Companies are hungry for these non-traditional skills, which in turn leads to innovative thinking. So make sure you sign up for free membership as an IAVA Member Veteran today and check out our Combat to Career HQ for information on future job fairs geared toward our veteran community.
Joseph Bitet was a Communications Intern at IAVA during summer 2011 in New York City. He served eight years with the Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq twice in 2003 and 2004-2005. He joined the Army Reserve in 2008 to return to Iraq as a Military Historian. In January 2012, it was with unspeakable sadness that IAVA learned Joe had passed away while on vacation with his family. Read more about Joe's life and legacy, and how you can make a donation in his honor here.
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