Dept. of Workforce Development: Salutes veterans, highlights services, celebrates successes

MADISON – In a salute to veterans, their spouses and families, Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek today expressed gratitude for their service and encouraged them, as well as employers, to connect with DWD resources for training, employment, vocational rehabilitation services, and information on workplace practices that support veterans.

“We owe so much to our veterans, their spouses and family members and would like to extend our deepest gratitude as part of Military Appreciation Month,” Pechacek said. “On this Memorial Day weekend, we will remember our veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. And for veterans and their family members who are striving to reach their employment potential, we at DWD and our partners stand ready to assist with career coaching, workforce needs, employment and training, vocational rehabilitation, and equal rights.”

Among DWD’s partners is the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment Training Services (USDOL/VETS), which visited Northeastern Wisconsin this week to learn more about collaborations with DWD, local workforce boards, employers and other entities. VETS leadership and Secretary-designee Pechacek met at the Brown County Job Center in Green Bay and jointly visited veteran-friendly employers in the region such as Schneider National Inc. of Green Bay and Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton.

“Seeing veterans in action on the job in the greater Green Bay area has been a true testament to how America’s veterans find meaningful careers and continue moving this country forward. Whether by hauling America’s goods on our nation’s highways or building ships to transport products and defend global waterways, veterans are making things happen in Wisconsin,” said U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment and Training Service Margarita Devlin. “We are seeing first-hand how the coordination between the Department of Defense, Department of Labor and local industry leaders is creating good jobs that enable veterans to support their local economy when they return home from active, reserve or National Guard service.”

According to the latest available U.S. Census Bureau figures, Wisconsin has nearly 143,000 veterans ages 18 to 64, considered the working age population. DWD staff, particularly those in the Office of Veteran Employment Services (OVES) and the Job Service Bureau, stand ready to provide employment and training services to veterans, spouses and family members.

During fiscal year 2020-21, the OVES team effectively served 982 veterans with individualized career services. Also ready to assist are Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVERs), who work closely with job-ready vets and businesses. In that same time frame, LVERS provided 4,427 employer services to 1,611 companies.

So far during 2022, OVES staff serving disabled veterans have served over 440 veterans seeking employment. The combined efforts yielded nearly 2,200 job opportunities with over 200 veterans hired and starting new career paths.

And LVERs have worked with over 800 employers in and around Wisconsin and provided employment services in 2,130 instances to aid in the hiring of veterans.

Pechacek urged other veterans to consider what DWD has to offer by visiting or by contacting Job Center of Wisconsin at (888) 258-9966 and asking for veterans employment services. Examples of recent success stories include:

  • Veteran’s Spouse – Laurie Tremblay, Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) team member in Kenosha, helped the spouse of disabled veteran gain employment. Her assistance included career guidance, resume development, an employment plan, job referrals, individualized assessment, among other intensive services. The spouse secured a position as an accounts payable and accounts receivable specialist paying $24 per hour.
  • Justice-involved, Homeless Veteran – With assistance from DVOP team member Nancy Brown in Wausau, this justice-involved, homeless veteran participating in an Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Treatment Program succeeded in finding food, shelter, and not one, but two jobs. Determined to make a new start, the veteran adhered to his treatment program, persisted in his job search and succeeded, first in gaining retail employment at $16.28 per hour, then a full-time manufacturing job starting at $26.45 per hour. He decided to work both, the retail job part time, and the manufacturing job, full time.
  • Homeless, Native American Veteran – With assistance from Geraldine Perry, DVOP specialist in Milwaukee, this veteran also made a new start. He had a job, working as a machinist in northern Wisconsin. But that quickly changed, and he found himself in Milwaukee, out of work and homeless, with no food or shelter. First, Perry found him housing. Then she and her colleagues went to work to find him work. A skills assessment, and coaching for job interviews followed. He took a job as a driver with United Parcel Service at $16.00 per hour, and continued his job search, hoping to work again as a machinist. However, he has grown in his appreciation for the experience with UPS, especially with the overtime pay and is continuing in the position. He’s grateful for the Perry and her team in helping him make a new start in Milwaukee.

Pechacek also thanked employers for hiring veterans, particularly those who participate in DWD’s Vets Ready Employer Initiative. Each year, DWD recognizes businesses – small media and large – with either gold or silver certification.

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