The US Department of Veterans Affairs is Hiring!

The US Department of Veterans Affairs is Hiring!

The US Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to hire VJO Specialists.

VJO – or Veterans Justice Outreach – Specialists are responsible for providing justice-based assistance to veterans in need. The ultimate goal of the VJO program is to assist Veterans who find themselves in the court system when it is actually medical assistance of which they are most in need. These specialists are not attorneys, but instead advocates working to ensure that Veterans are properly treated.

The signing of the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act of 2018 requires VA to hire 50 additional VJO specialists to be placed throughout VA Medical Centers. These new specialists will serve as part of a justice team.

For more information, please visit: https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/index.asp

Six Growth Industries Experiencing the Biggest Hiring Increases

Six Growth Industries Experiencing the Biggest Hiring Increases

Six Growth Industries Experiencing the Biggest Hiring Increases

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

With unemployment at just 3.9 percent, the jobless rate has reached an 18-year low. This is great news for businesses, but the low unemployment rate makes finding a job more challenging for job seekers.

In order to increase the chances of finding employment, job seekers should focus on the industries that are experiencing growth and are adding opportunities.

The August LinkedIn Workforce Report looks at the latest national data on hiring, skills, and migration trends through July 2018.

The industries with the biggest year-over-year hiring increases in July were agriculture (26% higher); manufacturing (12.3% higher); and transportation & logistics (12% higher). These sectors are running strong today, but they are also among the most vulnerable to a trade war escalation.

Next comes corporate services9.7% higher; energy and mining (8.5%); and software and IT services 7.5%).

When it comes to growth based on sales, mining-support services came in at the top spot. Next came heavy and civil engineering construction, beverage manufacturing, personal services and direct sales.

Rounding out the top ten are building finishing contractors, real estate agents and brokers, durable goods merchant wholesalers, fright trucking and architectural, engineering and related services.

MilitaryConnection.com, named a Top 100 Employment Website, is a leader when it comes to connecting prime military and veteran candidates with outstanding career opportunities in both the government and civilian sectors. Be sure to check out the Virtual Job Fair, Live Job Fairs and the Job Board. There is also a multitude of career-related information for job seekers searching for employment after their active military service is complete, including job tips, resume tips, a skills translator, and much more.

And the best thing about using MilitaryConnection.com’s resources is that they are FREE to all users. Register as a job seeker to gain access to the thousands of jobs advertised on our site.

 

The ABCs of the Transition Assistance Program

The ABCs of the Transition Assistance Program

 

The ABCs of the Transition Assistance Program

Contributed by Debbie Gregory

Transitioning back to civilian life after spending four years (or more) or even an entire career serving in the military is a big step. Figuring out where you’ll live, if you’ll be working or going to school, or where your children will go to school are life-changing decisions. The military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) strives to help make the process easier.

The process begins with pre-separation counseling, ideally done 12 to 24 months before separation, when a counselor discusses education, training, employment, career goals, financial management, health, well-being, housing and relocation with the service member and his/her spouse.

TAP is the result of an interagency collaboration. The basic TAP curriculum is broken down into three main parts: Department of Defense (DoD), Veterans Administration (VA) and Department of Labor (DoL).

During the DoD portion, service members go through three different classes:

Resilient Transition- The differences that can be expected when going from the military to the civilian world

Military Crosswalk- A look at how the skills acquired through military service can translate to the civilian workplace and how they can be used in applying for jobs, resumes and interviewing.

Financial Planning- A comparison of civilian salaries and military pay, the change in taxes, and how transitioning can impact finances.

During the VA portion, representatives discuss the benefits available through the VA and how to apply for them.

The DoL portion is an employment workshop that uses a military operational approach to planning employment, with discussions that range from gathering intelligence to identifying resources to plan development to timelines.

Around the 90-day mark from separation, service members are evaluated as part of the Capstone portion to see if they are ready to transition or if they feel they need more assistance. The program is accessible online at the Joint Knowledge Online website at http://jko.jten.mil/courses/tap/TGPS%20Standalone%20Training/start.html.

When Federal Employees Need Legal Representation- Part 3

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MSPB – Prohibited Personnel Practices –  https://www.mspb.gov/

The Merit Systems Protection Board protects federal employees from “Prohibited Personnel Practices.” This includes protecting employees from wrongful termination, nepotism, whistleblowing, misclassification, political activity, etc.. The MSPB also administers the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA https://www.mspb.gov/mspbsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=367903&version=368536&application=HTML) which protects non-career uniformed service members by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of military service and ensures that federal agencies comply with their obligation to reemploy the service member after he or she has completed a period of military service.

Our firm represents employees who are fighting adverse actions at every stage of the MSPB process. We have a proven track record of helping employees keep their jobs, getting those jobs back after wrongful termination, and getting discipline rescinded.

EEOC – Discrimination/Harassmenthttps://www.eeoc.gov/

The EEOC protects employees from discrimination and harassment based on the employee’s status as a member of a protected class. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Employees are also protected from any action taken in retaliation for an employee filing an EEO complaint. This includes everything from a hostile work environment to non-selection for a position. For our clients who are veterans, this often includes discrimination based on disabilities acquired during active duty.

Contact with the Agency’s EEO office to begin the complaint process must occur within 45 days of the discriminatory event. Claims are initiated through each Agency’s internal EEO office. The Agency then connects the employee with a counselor to discuss the claim and try and reach an early resolution. If no resolution is reached, the employee then may file a formal complaint of discrimination. If the complaint meets various requirements, including timeliness, the Agency is then obligated to undertake an investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation, or once 180 days have passed since the complaint was filed, the employee may then request that the Agency make a Final Agency Decision (FAD) or request a hearing with an EEOC administrative law judge. The employee may also elect to leave the administrative process and file a complaint in federal court.

Our firm Brown & Goodkin can assist with these complaints at any stage of the process.

These systems are designed to protect federal employees from bad things that happen to them while employed. Unfortunately, the administrative law procedures are complex and nuanced. While retaining an attorney is not required, we recommend that anyone who is looking to start one of these processes call to discuss their case with our office. We offer a free initial discussion with an attorney who will discuss your situation and see what system will best address your and your family’s needs.

When Federal Employees Need Legal Representation- Part 2

brown and goodkin

By Dan Goodkin

FECA – Workplace Injuries – https://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/

Government employees who are injured on the job are covered by FECA. This is a process akin to filing to an insurance claim and is administered entirely by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). The program provides benefits to employees who suffer from a traumatic injury, occupational disease or if they are killed while working or because of an injury suffered or disease acquired because of work. There are multiple deadlines for filing FECA claims depending on the type of claim. Typically, an injured worker has 3 years from the date of injury or the date of last exposure to whatever factor of employment caused his or her injury to file a claim. There are exceptions, such as when the injured worker does not know that a condition is related to work or the condition does not manifest until after the three years. This happens frequently with claims of asbestosis which does not typically show up until many years after exposure.

Under FECA, there is no apportionment. This means that if work duties cause a worsening of a pre-existing injury, the entire resulting condition is covered under FECA. That means that if a Veteran leaves the military with an injury, and it is worsened by subsequent federal civilian service, the injury will likely be covered under FECA. There may be an off-set between FECA benefits and VA disability benefits, but it is typically worth getting the injury covered under FECA as not all benefits are offset.

Benefits under FECA include 100% covered medical care with the injured workers’ physician of choice, wage loss benefits if the employee is unable to work because of the work-related medical condition (66 2/3% or 75% of lost wages, tax free), and a possible cash award for permanent impairment to the extremities and various organs should the injury result in permanent damage. It also includes vocational rehabilitation services. In the event the employee dies from his or her work related injury, FECA provides a survivor benefit to any surviving spouse or dependents.

Our firm has been handling FECA claims for decades. Attorney Steven Brown founded the FECA section of the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and Attorney Daniel Goodkin is now the Co-Chair of the FECA section of that organization.

 

MSPB – Prohibited Personnel Practices –  https://www.mspb.gov/

The Merit Systems Protection Board protects federal employees from “Prohibited Personnel Practices.” This includes protecting employees from wrongful termination, nepotism, whistleblowing, misclassification, political activity, etc.. The MSPB also administers the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA https://www.mspb.gov/mspbsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=367903&version=368536&application=HTML) which protects non-career uniformed service members by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of military service and ensures that federal agencies comply with their obligation to reemploy the service member after he or she has completed a period of military service.

Our firm represents employees who are fighting adverse actions at every stage of the MSPB process. We have a proven track record of helping employees keep their jobs, getting those jobs back after wrongful termination, and getting discipline rescinded.

In Part 3, the final installment will cover the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

When Federal Employees Need Legal Representation- Part 1

brown and goodkin

By Dan Goodkin

According to the Office of Personnel Management, veterans make up approximately thirty percent of the federal workforce. In 2015, approximately one third of new hires by the federal government were veterans. Most federal employees who become disabled, are injured on the job, wrongfully disciplined, or are the victims of discrimination or harassment have options to secure their financial future that they may not be aware of. With more than 50 years of combined experience representing federal employees in all of these administrative matters, Brown & Goodkin limits its practice to representing federal employees in these matters.

The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) program covers employees who become disabled; workplace injuries are covered under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA); adverse actions, such as wrongful termination or suspension, are covered by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB); and discrimination/harassment based on a protected status is covered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC.)

FERS Disability Retirement https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/fers-information/types-of-retirement/#url=Disability

Under FERS, most federal employees, who began employment after 1984, and who have 18 months or more of federal service who become disabled are eligible to retire early. Eligibility under disability retirement does not require a showing that the employee is totally disabled. The employee need only show that he or she is disabled from his or her official position. The annuity benefit is paid at 60% of the employee’s high 3 average for the first year of disability and 40% each year after until the employee turns 62. While receiving this annuity, the annuitant will still receive the group rate for health insurance.

At 62, the annuity is re-calculated as if the employee did not have to retire early, and years of service for the time the employee received a disability annuity are added to the total years of service. Veterans who buy back their military time prior to retirement can also add the number of years of military service to the total years of service computation at age 62. Disability retirement applications can be filed while employed, even if still working, and up to one year after employment has ended, regardless of whether the employment ended because of termination. Our firm offers 100% money back guarantee with regard to our representation for disability retirement applications.

The next installment will cover Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB.)

Calling All Retired Pilots

retired

By Debbie Gregory.

Retired pilots- the Air Force wants you…again!

To that end, the service branch has initiated the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program (VRRAD) for pilots under the age of 60 in the rank of captain, major or lieutenant colonel, who retired within the last five years.

Pilots who held a job in the 11X career field are encouraged to apply before Dec. 31, 2018 to fill 25 flight staff positions for an active-duty tour of one year. Should those positions remain unfilled, the Air Force will extend the program deadline into 2019.

Applicants must be medically qualified for active duty with a flying class II physical; must have served in a rated staff position within the past 10 years; or have been qualified in an Air Force aircraft within five years of application.

The goal is to get experienced pilots to man staff jobs, or serve as instructor pilots to free up younger officers to get more training, and more hours in the air, which is one key to retention.

“We have a number of positions around the Air Force that require the expertise of someone who has been a military pilot, and [we] would like to be able to keep our pilots who are current in the aircraft in the aircraft and try to fill some of these vital flight slots,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Today’s Air Force requires 20,000 pilots to fly fighter jets, transport planes, helicopters and drones. This year, the service reported it was down 1,500 pilots. But the latest figures show the problem is getting worse, with a shortfall of 1,926 pilots.

Former airmen can apply for the program via the myPers website. Those without a myPers account  can do so at  http://www.afpc.af.mil/myPers/.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Veterans’ Preference Hiring Program

The-Veterans-Preference-Point-System

By Debbie Gregory.

Veterans’ Preference gives those who are disabled, served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns preference over others in hiring for virtually all federal government jobs for veterans. While veterans’ preference does not guarantee jobs for military veterans, it does show our nation’s gratitude by giving them a leg up.

Veterans’ Preference was enacted at the end of the Civil War to aid disabled veterans. It was greatly expanded after World War I, allowing able-bodied, honorably discharged veterans, widows of deceased veterans and wives of severely disabled ones to take advantage of the assistance. Under the Obama administration, federal agencies established hiring goals that has resulted in one-third of new federal hires being veterans.

The program works on a point system, with 100 being the highest score. Typically, applicants receive points by either taking a test or through an evaluation of their education and experience. Disabled veterans got extra 10 points added to that score, while other former soldiers received 5 points. In the case of a tie, veterans are placed ahead of non-veterans. In addition, veterans with more serious service-related disabilities are placed at the top of the list, as long as they achieved a passing grade of 70 points.

Hiring officials cannot pass over veterans in the top category to hire more qualified non-veterans.

Younger veterans born since 1980 are about 15 times more likely than non-veterans of the same age to hold federal jobs.

Veterans’ Preference is a powerful hiring tool that can help veterans reach the veteran employers of the federal workforce.

Although it only directly benefited about one-tenth of veterans in the past, nearly one-third of recent veterans have federal jobs, many more than would have them in the absence of preferential hiring.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

How Employers Can Retain Veteran Employees

regard

By Debbie Gregory.

Despite a push to increase jobs for military veterans, statistics reveal that almost half of all veterans leave their first post-military position within a year, and only 20-40% of veterans will see their second work anniversary.

It would be naive to conclude that these vets are leaving for better veteran jobs. Most of these first jobs are vacated due to a lack of familiar work culture, career development/advancement, meaning, or professional development opportunities.

What can veteran employers do to help retain their veteran employees?

The first step would be integrate new veteran employees into the workforce by overcoming language differences. Military terminology is quite a bit different from civilian terminology. Even the job descriptions may need to go through a skills translator. Veterans that aren’t familiar with corporate language may be perceived as less competent or cooperative, and may have trouble connecting with their superiors. A simple remedy is to educate managers, recruiters, and leaders about military culture and language. If the company already employs veterans, they should be called upon to help close the divide.

Preparing an orientation program for veteran students has shown great success at colleges and universities. Perhaps a similar program for new veteran employees would assist them in navigating the organization.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the rules in the military are often very different than in the corporate world, so clarity is key. Make sure the unwritten rules are as clear as the written ones.

Buddy up: giving veteran employees a connection with someone who is already well-established in the organization with a similar military background can give a new employee the insight and connection they need to succeed at your company.

Help your veteran employees understand their role within the company. Remember that those who have served are purpose, vision, mission, and value motivated.

Through small, meaningful actions, employers can get great results in retention by integrating veterans into corporate life.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

MilitaryConnection.com and VAMBOA Hit Record Numbers on Social Media

mc and vamboa logos

Gregory Media CEO Debbie Gregory is proud to announce that MilitaryConnection.com and its sister organization VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association, achieved new records on social media, surpassing 1.2 million combined fans and followers.

This growth in social media is also having a positive impact and generating increased traffic on the websites.

MilitaryConnection.com, known as “the Go to Site” is one of the most comprehensive online directories of resources and information, with something for everyone. This site connects its audience with excellent jobs and employment resources, military/veteran friendly colleges, universities and vocational schools, benefits, news, resources and much more. There is also a comprehensive directory for each military service branch. MilitaryConnection.com is an outstanding online advertising venue to reach military, veterans and their loved ones.

The web site also works with a multitude of non-profits within the military and veteran communities, using it significant reach to help them “get out the word” on their causes and events, and facilitates win/win partnerships with organizations and clients.

“We are excited to see the continued growth of our social media reach, as well as website traffic,” said Gregory. “We know that we are delivering quality resources to our audience, including the daily articles on our Blog and our Newsletter.”

VAMBOA, a 501 (c) 6 non-profit trade association, has over 7,000 members nationwide. VAMBOA focuses on connecting members with corporations seeking a diverse network of suppliers. The association is supported through corporate sponsorships, and does not charge members any membership fees.

“Supporting the businesses of our military members and veterans and contributing to their successes provides us with the opportunity to express our pride and appreciation to and for the many who have served and sacrificed to make our country free,” said Gregory. “ It also enables corporations to work with companies run by America’s heroes.