Transition to civilian life is often complicated and overwhelming. Without the proper support, many veterans find themselves disconnected from the community and services that they need to adjust. In Hawaii, many veterans become homeless as a result of these challenges; they face incredible obstacles to rejoining their communities. PRIDE Industries has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide employment services, job training, and more to help veterans overcome these barriers.
Going Beyond Employment Services for Veterans in Hawaii
Sean Sullivan was enthusiastic to support people with disabilities and other barriers to employment, including our nation’s veterans. He became an AbilityOne Recruiter and Employment Services Manager with PRIDE Industries in 2015. Since then he has been providing practical assistance to veterans struggling to find jobs and adapt to civilian life.
But Sean’s efforts did not stop at employment and training services. He connected with Jackie Nguyen, the Community Employment Coordinator (CEC) of the VA Homeless Veterans Employment Services, to explore additional ways they could improve outreach and job placement efforts to address more of the barriers that veterans were facing.
“When I started as a recruiter, many veterans were referred to my office for placement into PRIDE Industries,” Sean said. “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.”
Helping Veterans Find Jobs in Their Community
“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 Marriott 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 help veterans gain job skills, Sean and Jackie began hosting monthly workshops at the Department of Labor and elsewhere. Activities include resume writing, interview role play, team building exercises, and learning how to 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,” said Sean.
Connecting Veterans with Local Employers
In October 2019, PRIDE worked with the Homeless Veterans Employment services to start conducting monthly job fairs. The local Veteran Center and American Job Center were gracious to allow the employment team free use of their space. Promoted locally, the job fair takes place on the first Monday of each month. The local Disability:In Hawaii Chapter and other businesses on Oahu invite employers to interview and offer jobs 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,” said Sean.
PRIDE Industries offers a variety of employment services for veterans in Hawaii and across the country. Find out how our vocational training, job placement services, and internship opportunities can help you build a strong career path.