Tahlequah Daily Press

March 21, 2013

Club helps veterans snare civilian jobs

By ROB W. ANDERSON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Transitioning from a military life of regimented routines and core expectations to a mosaic of work systems in civilian life can be disheartening for anyone used to consistency and efficiency.

To help military men and women make the adjustment, the Oklahoma Workforce Veterans Job Club offers information on finding and obtaining sustained employment.

The Tahlequah Workforce Center hosted a Veterans Job Club meeting Wednesday to present three different employers in a question-and-answer format. Veterans can expect to gather for the 10 a.m. meeting at the 1755 S. Muskogee location every month, said Ryan Davis, a local veterans employment representative with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Davis’ office is at the Muskogee Workforce Center, 717 S. 32nd St.

“This is our first meeting in Tahlequah. The goal is to have one here every third Wednesday of the month,” Davis said. “The whole point of the job club is these [employers] – the ones that come here presenting jobs and opportunities with their companies to us as veterans.”

In Oklahoma, the unemployment rate is about 6.9 percent, but the unemployment rate for a veteran is 11.8 percent.

“Veterans are the highest unemployed demographic group across the United States. Man and woman,” said Ryan.

On hand Wednesday to present their respective companies’ hiring processes were the Cherokee Nation, J&M’s Complete Car Care and BancFirst. Each stressed the need for job-seekers to follow application directions; word resumes to meet  job descriptions; report and present all skills and abilities pertaining to the job;   include other applicable experience, practice honesty and integrity; and express flexibility to adjust to the job conditions and expectations. The ability to establish and maintain productive rapport with fellow workmates is a must, as well.

“We have to figure out what the employers want – what it is that our resumes are not showing them, or what skills or qualifications we have that we’re not presenting to the employers to make them want to hire us,” Davis said. “That’s what they’re here for. They’re going to present their businesses. Sometimes we’ll have non-profit organizations. It’s a little bit different, but the whole point is to provide a spectrum of opportunity for [the veterans] to go back to work.”

Other aspects presented in the job club meetings include how to dress for success, improving interview skills, and veterans’ benefits and education opportunities.

“You will get emails about jobs that come available, day work or even job clubs and different veterans meetings that we have,” Davis told the veterans.