Recently we talked with Emily Garrity, co-founder and president of ConnectVETS. She shared helpful information about ConnectVETS, as well as resources available to help veterans as they transition from military to civilian life.
Tell us about ConnectVETS.
Chicago-based ConnectVETS is a national leader in providing online job search education and career transition resources for transitioning service members and veterans to facilitate military talent acquisition. The organization focuses on building the bridge between military veterans and employers. ConnectVETS was founded in 2007 to support the men and women who have served our country by connecting veterans with private sector employment opportunities. ConnectVETS is also active in the Illinois Joining Forces Initiative, where I serve as the employer engagement sub-committee chair in the employment and training working group.
What are some key facts about veterans and employment?
- More than 80 percent of veterans feel unprepared for the private sector when they leave the military.2
- Ninety-one percent of those in the military’s job transition program with less than 10 years of services do not have a job lined up when they are discharged.1
More than 60 percent of U.S. employers say they have favorable impressions of military service but don’t understand the qualifications this service instills.2
What do you think is the biggest challenge veterans face when returning to civilian life?
Most veterans don’t know what they want to do, from a career perspective, when they return. Veterans need to understand that the world is their oyster, there is opportunity for them, but they also need to know that they need to educate themselves before they begin their job search. That’s why ConnectVETS offers career discovery workshops for veterans.
Tell us about the career discovery workshops for veterans.
At the workshops, veterans hear about what jobs are available and how to write their cover letters and resumes so they get noticed by potential employers. The organization also helps veterans best describe their military work in a way that will be appealing to employers. Participants will learn how to communicate their value proposition to potential employers and practice interview situations. Anyone interested in attending a Chicago-area workshop is asked to contact ConnectVETS and pre-register at firstname.lastname@example.org. The workshops are free.
If an employer is interested in facilitating a career discovery workshop at their location, we are always looking for additional locations, and this is a great opportunity to engage their HR and their veteran affinity group.
How does ConnectVETS work with NLU?
The Career Services team for NLU’s Veterans Program works closely with ConnectVETS to streamline the career search process for NLU’s student veterans. In fact, ConnectVETS with the Careers College created a personalized portal for NLU’s student veterans, which includes online educational modules, tools and complementary career transition resources to help navigate the job search. When possible, both the NLU Career Services team and ConnectVETS will make direct connections and recommendations on behalf of student veterans. Emily Garrity also is a member of the NLU Veterans Advisory Council and provides her insights, guidance and support to the program.