Transferring military experience to civilian life: helping veter - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Transferring military experience to civilian life: helping veterans get jobs

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Many veterans across the country and right here in Wisconsin, are looking for work. The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was just over twelve percent nationally in 2011, and just under ten percent here in Wisconsin. That's compared to an unemployment rate of around nine percent for everyone else nationwide in 2011.

"Wisconsin in general has a pretty strong tradition of having a very strong, not just active duty, but National Guard and reserve members," says Susan Gratz-Maag, with Manpower.

Manpower in Eau Claire says it sees military members walk through the doors looking for jobs everyday.

"I think we do see a good number," says Gratz-Maag.

But on Thursday, no one showed up at a workshop to help them make the transition into the civilian workforce.  There could be a couple of reasons for that, perhaps they didn't know or couldn't get away, or they may be unwilling to reach out for help.

"A lot of those members have some excellent skills, and they just need that little extra assistance in articulating them," Gratz-Maag says.

That's why Manpower offers help with communication skills.

"This is something military members need to work on, because many military members possess communication styles that are very direct and to the point without a lot of fluff, and that works very well in a military world, things are timely, we have to move along, however, when transitioning to the civilian world, they find they need to soften their approach a little bit, loosen up, and communicate a little bit differently when working with supervisors, subordinates and co-workers," says Gratz-Maag.

There are many strengths service members bring to the workforce.

"There's always going to be those intangible skills that you have and don't always conscientiously think about the fact that you have. Your leadership, your self-discipline, that ability to work on a team, you tend to be more motivated, loyal," Gratz-Maag says.

Manpower says those are skills that need to go on a resume.

There is a website that military members and veterans can use to help them not only find jobs, but with counseling and other things needed in the transition back to civilian life. Click here to get to Military One Source.

Manpower is running a number of workshops to help bridge the gap between employers and job seekers.  The next one is next Wednesday at the Eau Claire office on Oakwood Mall Drive.  The focus is on standing out in a health care crowd.

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