Military Connection Vies for $250,000 Grant to Expand Services for Veterans

By Alan Gray, NewsBlaze

MilitaryConnection.com, one of the most comprehensive online directories of resources and information on the Internet, is competing for one of twelve grants being awarded to small businesses by Chase and Living Social.

Serving active duty military, Veterans, their families and supporters, MilitaryConnection.com, known as “The Go To Site” has thousands of pages of resources and information, It is also a Top 100 Employment site. Winning the grant will allow Military Connection to launch hiring and training programs to give back to those who have sacrificed so much.

Military Connection recently launched the “Hiring America”s Heroes” program. This program focuses on generating remote jobs especially for wounded warriors, disabled Veterans and military spouses. The grant will enable this program to ramp up at a much faster pace. Additionally, Military Connection will be providing online short targeted classes for Veterans that will be accessible 24/7 and help them in finding jobs and provide other valuable resources to them.

Military Connection is proud to be affiliated with a large number of non-profits and uses their significant reach to help non-profits get out the word.

“Working with such wonderful groups and non-profits is really the best part of what we do.”
– Debbie Gregory, Military Connection

It was through working with many of these groups that Ms. Gregory got the idea to launch the Hiring America”s Heroes program. Ms. Gregory also said “Not only will this program create jobs for American heroes, but it will also bring currently outsourced jobs back to our country.”

How To Support MILITARY CONNECTION With Your Vote

  • Go to www.missionsmallbusiness.com
  • Click on the button that says, “Log In & Support”.
  • Log in with your Facebook Account.
  • Type Military Connection in the company name.
  • Select California in the Dropdown for the state.
  • Select Simi Valley in the dropdown for the city.
  • Click on “Vote”.
  • You can only vote once so please pass on to your friends.

When the next tour of duty is back home, it”s on MilitaryConnection.com, “The Go To Site”.

Debbie Gregory is the CEO of MilitaryConnection.com and the founder of VAMBOA.org, the Veteran and Military Business Owners Association. Ms. Gregory won the 2011 Spirit of Small Business Award from Pacific Coast Business Times, and was the 2009 Woman Business Owner of the Year, NAWBO, Ventura County.

MilitaryConnection is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thegotosite

Contact Debbie Gregory at (800)-817-3777 *or* (805) 306-0580 x124
debbieg@localhost

Civilian Certification For Veterans

President Obama announced a new initiative that will allow some U.S. service members to receive civilian credentials and licenses for skills they learn in the military. This effort is aimed at boosting employment among post-9/11 veterans. Service members obtain skills while serving and those skills should be transferable to the private sector. All too often, however, these talented and dedicated individuals face barriers that can make it difficult to find jobs that make use of their skills.

In the private sector individual States set requirements to obtain certification and licenses. A military medic might have saved many lives in battle but that does not qualify that medic for certification to obtain a civilian EMT job. A military truck driver is not automatically certified to operate a rig in the private sector.

A Defense Department task force is working with major U.S. credentialing agencies for engineering, logistics, machining, and maintenance and welding skills to get “industry-recognized, nationally-portable certifications. Obtaining certification in the military is no guarantee of getting a job post-service but it is another step in helping service members who are transitioning into civilian life to find jobs.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides more opportunities for veterans to receive reimbursement for pursued education and certification. However, Veterans can only apply these benefits to licensing *or* certification exams that are approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Members of the armed forces have fought gallantly and were trained for military jobs by the best. Their experience and qualifications should not be wasted. They should be given every opportunity to succeed in civilian life. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families make great sacrifices in the service of our Nation. When their service is concluded, we owe it to our veterans and their families to help them accomplish a successful transition to the civilian labor market.

Occupational certification represents an excellent opportunity for displaced workers to learn a new skill and transition into a new and rewarding career.

MilitaryConnection.com is the Go To Site for jobs across the board requiring certification and licensure. Check us out.

Military Connection Founder Carries on Fathers Service

By Amy Bentley

It shouldn”t surprise anyone that operating a website that serves American veterans, active-duty service members and their families has become Debbie Gregory”s passion.

The Thousand Oaks resident is the daughter of a disabled World War II veteran. While growing up, she and her sister sometimes were left with relatives while her father, Leonard Grossman, was hospitalized for an operation. A cryptographer during the war, Grossman endured many stays at Veterans Administration hospitals. He was one of 11 children, and seven of his brothers also enlisted during World War II.

“He was brilliant, strong and positive, and never said, ”Why me?” ” Gregory said of her late father. “He gave me a fighting spirit. I realized what it”s like for veterans to have to go here for this and there for that, and how challenging it can be.”

Enter militaryconnection.com, a website that went live in late 2006. Gregory and a staff of six at her Simi Valley office run the business with help from a handful of writers and marketing professionals who work remotely.

Militaryconnection.com serves members of all branches of the U.S. military, plus reservists, veterans, their families and those with the Coast Guard and Department of Defense. The site maintains a jobs directory, helps veterans search for jobs, has information about how to apply to military schools and for financial loans, features pay charts and legal columns, and includes information about education and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The site”s blog features stories about wounded warriors, vacations for veterans and financial benefits for employers that hire veterans.

“Less than 1 percent of our population serves in the military, and the rest of us get to live our lives in peace and harmony while they are writing a blank check with their lives. When they return, we all need to step up. If anyone deserves the American dream, it”s those who make those sacrifices, including their families because they serve, too,” Gregory said.

She started her company in 2000, handling print advertising in military base newspapers. She revamped the business in 2006 to focus on the website as a one-stop online resource.

“I wanted the business to be more than just an advertising venue,” she said.

The site averages 10,000 daily unique visitors, has a database of more than 800,000 recipients for the company”s twice-monthly e-newsletter, and has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter, Gregory said. It”s also known as a top employment website.

The business has won numerous awards and citations. Gregory was named the 2009 Woman Business Owner of the Year by the city of Thousand Oaks, the Ventura County Board Brig. Gen. James P. Combs of Supervisors and the National Association of Woman Business Owners. She”s received letters of commendation from retired Maj. Gen. Peter J. Gravett, secretary for the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and, former commander of the California Army National Guard.

Gregory helps veterans and the military community on other fronts. Her business co-sponsors the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum”s annual Freedom Walk, which honors 9/11 victims, deployed troops, first responders and veterans.

“Every year, the event gets bigger. Everybody comes together and remembers that we live in the greatest country in the world. We”re all Americans that day,” she said.

Her business sponsored a concert at Camp Pendleton in 2006, has given scholarships and partners with businesses that hire veterans. Gregory in 2010 founded the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association, a nationwide group with 4,500 members and a database of more than 60,000 veteran and service-disabled business owners. The group partnered last year with biotechnology firm Amgen Inc. to produce a conference called “Power Your Business,” held at Amgen”s conference center in Thousand Oaks. More than 300 people attended.

She”s also on the board of the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, a nonprofit veterans advocacy organization working to open a one-stop veterans service center in Ventura County.

“For veterans to be able to go to one place and have all their needs met is a gift. We want Ventura County”s veterans to be able to have that,” said Gregory, who also serves on California”s Interagency Council for Veterans, a nonprofit that helps find jobs, education, housing and health care for veterans.

The business is spearheading a jobs initiative called Hiring America”s Heroes. Gregory is asking businesses to pledge jobs for wounded veterans and their spouses, especially jobs that can be done remotely.

“There are tax credits (up to $9,600 per hire) and you get really disciplined, dedicated employees in the process with a work ethic that is second to none. There are so many jobs that are outsourced that can be done by veterans,” she said.

CallSource in Westlake Village has signed on, pledging to hire 100 veterans, CallSource CEO Jerry Feldman said. A few years ago, Feldman started a similar program called Pride America to provide training and jobs for veterans and their spouses. CallSource helps businesses improve their performance through the use of call tracking, technology and other methods.

“We have about 15 veterans at CallSource and are hiring some more. We did commit to hiring 100. Debbie Gregory has put our job description on her website and we keep getting more and more veterans,” said Feldman, who hired a veteran last week. “This is so satisfying because this woman was losing her home and she now will be able to pay her rent *or* mortgage. She”ll be able to stay in her house.”

Gregory was invited in December to a White House reception with President Barack Obama that honored leaders in the veterans community.

“They were quite gracious,” Gregory said of the president and first lady Michelle Obama. “It was such an experience being in D.C. because you walk everywhere. I got to meet so many people from other parts of the country working with veterans, too.”

Gregory believes that if her father were alive today, he”d be thrilled with her work.

“I didn”t set out doing what I”m doing,” she said, “but I think I”m doing what I”m supposed to be doing.”

About MilitaryConnection.com
MilitaryConnection.com is one of the nation’s largest online directories of military and veteran resources with thousands of pages. They are known as the go-to site and offer a broad range of resources including news and articles, education resources including a school directory, jobs and employment, benefits, pay calculators and more. More than 800,000 military members and their families use the site as a valuable resource. Military Connection promotes many non-profits including USO, Wounded Warrior Project, Soldiers Angels, TAPS, ThanksUSA, Toys for Tots, HomeFront America, Operation Homefront, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, National Military Family Association (NMFA ), Any Soldier.com, Fisher House and many others.

Prevent Warrior Suicide

Help Prevent Warrior Suicide
This is Everyone’s Responsibility

How prevalent is Warrior Suicide? When a warrior comes home from battle he often has a different battle to fight. It’s a psychological battle. Suicide events have occurred across all service branches.

In battle, warriors know that their buddy has their back. When a warrior returns to civilian life you have the opportunity to be his buddy. Suicide is preventable if you look for the signs. You can save a service member’s life by identifying psychological concerns that may be affecting a fellow warrior.

In every war some service members have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) now referred to as Post-Traumatic Stress (PSS). PTSD is a result of stress on brain cells that can cause nerve endings- or dendrites –to break off. Soldiers returning from battle experience flashbacks. They relive the trauma in their minds. Many service members who experience PTSD can benefit from treatment and support. PTS and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) are the signature wounds of this long period of war.

Everyone reacts to traumatic experiences differently. Some service members may face emotional or psychological challenges such as feelings of anger, isolation, anxiety or guilt. Depression is a more serious condition. Being in the military can be very stressful, and thus all military personnel are at a high risk for depression. Know the symptoms of depression so you can spot them.

For warriors returning from battle transitioning into civilian life can be equally daunting. Suicide thoughts are usually associated with other psychological concerns such including finances, relationships, medical work related problems or a combination of all. Watch for the warning signs and take action if you notice substance abuse, setbacks in military career or personal life, feelings of hopelessness, behavior that isolates the service member. Encourage them to talk about their feelings. Let them know you are there for them and that you care. Let them know they are not alone.

If you are a service member or a Veteran and experiencing anxiety and thinking of suicide, please ask for help – this is the brave thing to do. If your buddy, friend or loved one is having a hard time, get this person help as soon as possible. Let’s all work together to save lives. There are many organizations that provide free and private mental health counseling including our friends at GiveAnHour.org and The SoldiersProject.org. Suicidal comments should always be taken seriously.

It takes courage to deal with psychological concerns in yourself or a fellow warrior. If the situation is urgent, use these resources to get immediate assistance:
• Call 1-800-273-TALK and press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line, or chat live online.
• Talk to a medic, chaplain or commanding officer immediately — they can support you in locating confidential care or support
• Give An Hour – www.giveanhour.org
• The Soldiers Project – www.thesoldiersproject.org

President Obama Executive Order Regarding Veterans Education

MilitaryConnection.com understands the many sacrifices made by those who have served. Veterans have earned generous veteran education benefits provided in the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Post 9/11 GI Bill has become a revenue generator for many veteran colleges, veteran universities, vocational schools and certificate programs for Veterans especially in these challenging economic times.

We don’t want our Veterans who have written a blank check for everything up to and including their lives to waste their education benefits with schools that do not deliver *or* deceive them. MilitaryConnection.com makes every effort to make sure that the schools on our website are the best. We also take additional steps and encourage veteran schools to partner with groups that serve this community. We encourage colleges and universities to open Veteran Student Clubs so that there is a place to meet and learn from other student veterans. We also encourage veteran schools to support and use groups such as our friends at Give An Hour that provides free and private mental health counseling to Veterans and their loved ones. School and education is also a transition with its own set of challenges.

If you are a Veteran Student, please share with us your experiences, both the positive and negative with the school you attend. Email us at: info@localhost

President Obama signed an Executive Order to aid veteran’s education goals. This Executive Order, signed April 27, sets out “Principles of Excellence” that schools must meet to receive military and veterans education funding. They include ending “unduly aggressive” recruiting techniques, giving prospective students information on federal financial aid options and expected tuition costs, and receiving accreditation for programs before opening them for enrollment.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers financial support for veterans” education, leading some marketers to target vets with deceptive advertising about college opportunities. The President signed this Executive Order to curb these abuses. But the order provides only vague guidance on how those principles will be enforced, particularly when it comes to Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. For a law to be effective it must be enforced.

The Executive Order states that the VA “shall also notify all institutions participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill program that they are strongly encouraged to comply with the Principles and shall post on the Department”s website those that do.” Where will we find the names of the institutions that do not comply?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which became effective in August 2009 mainly for military members with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 20, 2001, provided “unprecedented access to virtually any university in our country and overseas,” said Michael Dakduk. He added that “The Post 9/11 GI Bill drives some schools into targeting veterans and their federal tuition assistance”. Michael Dakduk, who served in the Marine Corps and is now Executive Director of Student Veterans of America, an organization whose mission is to provide vets in higher education and following graduation with resources and support.

Reports of aggressive and deceptive targeting by educational institutions toward service members and veterans, particularly by for-profit career colleges, moved President Obama to sign the Executive Order, which requires colleges to provide more information to veterans such as the likelihood of military members completing a school”s programs prior to them enrolling.

The transition from a military to civilian lifestyle could create culture shock for many veterans, especially life on an academic campus. That”s why speaking to a fellow veteran before enrolling in a school is also very important.

Under the Executive Order, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Education Department”s “Know Before You Owe” financial aid form will also be required to be made available to every college student participating in the Defense Department”s tuition assistance program that includes nearly 2,000 schools. This form provides information about tuition and fees, estimated student loan debt upon graduation, graduation rates, among other information.

Dakduk advises veterans to visit the Post-9/11 GI Bill”s website from the Veteran Affairs Department, GIBill.VA.gov, to find out how much tuition assistance may be available to them and which schools offer supplementary assistance that may support a specific career.