The Job Search: Dressing for Success

The Job Search: Dressing for Success

Contributed by Alan Rohlfing

(This is the first in a series of posts relating to the job search. Check back every Friday for observations on a variety of employment assistance topics.)

You know what they say…you never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Whether it’s reporting in to your new military unit or trying to land a job, many of us still believe that good first impressions are crucial. For the next few minutes, we’re going to take a deeper dive into the ‘land a job’ arena, from the perspective of proper dress during an interview.

Many civilians think that active military and fully separated Veterans have the wardrobe thing all figured out. They see us looking sharp in a parade or a recruiting commercial, but may not realize that while many of us were issued our uniforms, we also had it drilled into our heads exactly how to wear them…by memorizing ‘wear and appearance of the uniform’ regulations or just by verbal instructions from our favorite drill sergeant.

But when it comes to the civilian side of the wardrobe closet, especially for those of us still serving or in the initial stages of separating, things may be woefully inadequate. In fact, I’ve known plenty of Soldiers over the years that had exactly “0” civilian suits on hand. If only we could wear our most comfortable field uniform to the job fair and our service dress to the interview…

For now, let’s move forward under the premise that wearing a military uniform of any type is not an option. You may be like most other humans and cue up your best Internet search query to get smart on what you should wear at different points of the job search. During the interview process, specifically, the clothing you select is indicative of your respect for the interviewers and the companies they represent, as well as how seriously you take the interview itself. The better you dress, the more seriously you will be taken and considered. No doubt about it.

While the way we dress for a job interview isn’t the only criteria on which we’ll be judged, it is the most obvious. Other nonverbal factors include things such as your choice of accessories, firmness of handshake, degree of eye contact, and overall projection of confidence. All are important, to be sure; for the rest of this post, however, let’s focus on attire. We’ve broken down some tips and techniques into recommendations for men and women, with some general tips to serve as bookends. While we didn’t write these rules, feedback from many employers and hiring managers over the years indicates that job searchers should sure pay attention to them.

Tips for everyone. Make sure to wear deodorant, brush your teeth, and comb your hair (sorry if that goes without saying). Bring along breath mints if you won’t be able to brush your teeth before the interview, but don’t eat the mints or chew gum during the conversation. Don’t wear scented items like perfume and cologne; I’ve spoken to more than one interviewer who was allergic to a particular scent being worn, and those particular interviews weren’t exactly enjoyable experiences.

Tips for women. Acceptable attire for women usually includes a suit or conservatively tailored dress, with a coordinated blouse. Avoid blouses or sweaters that are transparent, are tight fitting, have low necklines, or have details that detract from your face. Wear plain-style, non-patterned hosiery, of a color that flatters your skin tone. Wear flat shoes or low pumps in colors that avoid making your feet a focal point. Limit your jewelry: avoid dangling earrings, and wear no more than one ring per hand and a dress watch. You may want to consider manicured nails with clear nail polish. Make your primary accessory a portfolio or small briefcase (don’t carry a purse and a briefcase…choose one or the other).

Tips for men. Feedback indicates that men should wear suits of a solid color (navy, black, or gray, in pinstripe or solid) with a white, long sleeve shirt. Ties should be conservative (silk or silk-like, tied with a half-Windsor knot) and of a color that strongly contrasts with the color of your shirt. Wear professional-looking, lace-up shoes with dark socks, coupled with a leather belt that visually blends with or matches your shoes. Again, wear limited jewelry – no more than one ring per hand and a dress watch. Ensure you have neatly trimmed nails and accessorize with a portfolio or small briefcase.

More tips for everyone. In general, dress in a professional and conservative manner. Ensure your clothing fits well and is clean and pressed. Stay away from denim. Remove facial and body piercings, cover up any visible tattoos, and fix your hair so that it’s conservative in color and style, if possible.

If you haven’t taken anything else from this short post, make sure and put conscious thought into what you wear to the interview. A good rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want five years from now, not the job you want today. Some say to choose the same clothing you’d expect the boss of the company to wear.  Some will tell you to dress conservatively. The point of it all, however, is to keep the focus on the interview, not what you’re wearing.

Do your homework and know the business climate and culture of the company you’re interviewing for, if at all possible. Dress your best for the interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization. Dressing for success will feed into your confidence level, which will be on full display during your interview. And go knock ‘em dead, sweaty palms and all…

 

Do you have any ‘lessons learned’ from your job interviews as you transitioned from active service to the workforce? Anything that might benefit your brothers- and sisters-in-arms, facing the same challenges? If so, tell us your story and email [email protected]!

“At Least Ten” Reasons to Hire Veterans

“At Least Ten” Reasons to Hire Veterans

Contributed by Alan Rohlfing

Top ten lists…it seems like they’re everywhere, and about everything. For many of us, it’s a method of focusing and organizing so we can prioritize our time and energy on what we’ve deemed the ‘most important’. For others, it’s just a catchy way to encourage a reader or a viewer to linger a few more minutes.

Whether you cut your teeth on the humor of David Letterman’s regular ‘Top Ten List’ segment or you find such lists a really valuable use of your time, it should come as no surprise that examples abound on the top ten reasons employers should hire Veterans.

A quick Google search will pull up results from the U.S. Department of Labor (“Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Veteran”), BusinessInsider.com (“10 Reasons Companies Should Hire Military Veterans”), Military.com (“10 Reasons to Hire Vets”), MakePositive.com (“5 Good Reasons to Hire a Veteran”), and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (“Top Ten Reasons to Hire Members of the Guard and Reserve”). Some of those lists were compiled with the help of military veterans, some were put together by employers, and some were assembled by federal, state, and local agency personnel who have a stake in the employment assistance space. And the shocker is, all of them are correct, to some degree…it’s just a matter of perspective.

I put my first of such lists together in 2010, when I started working with the Show-Me Heroes Program, a partnership between the Missouri Division of Workforce Development and the Missouri National Guard that sought to help our state’s Veterans find meaningful employment. My original list expanded and contracted as I spoke with more and more employers and reflected on my own years of experience in the U.S. Army.

I often shared my list with job seekers from the military community that I came across, for this list of reasons to hire Veterans is as much for Veterans themselves as it is for business owners and hiring managers. Once employers ‘get it’, there’s not usually a need to go on and on with them. For those looking for a job, however, it’s important that they know how those in the employment assistance arena are advocating for them. They need to know that we’ve ‘talked the talk’, so they can put things in place to ‘walk the walk’, so to speak.

Once job seekers read through my list or any other, they should take inventory of the things that might very well make them the best candidate for the job. They should incorporate those soft skill sets and experiences into their resume, their cover letter, and answers to potential interview questions. That’s how they can communicate what they bring to the table. That’s how they can communicate how they can make a positive and lasting impact to that civilian employer’s workforce.

From the front lines to the assembly lines, much of the training, the challenges, the adversity…those things do, indeed, translate. I’ve seen it, and I’ve heard from countless employers that hiring someone with military experience made a sudden and lasting impact on their workforce.

So, here’s my perspective. I was initially going to say, “this list is in no particular order,” but in fact there is an order to my list. It’s an order that I put together based on nearly a decade of meeting with employers to discuss the prospect of hiring Veterans for their workforce. My Top Ten list includes these elements…

  1. Leadership Experience.
  2. Strong Personal Integrity.
  3. Ability to Work as a Team Member and Team Leader.
  4. Performance under Pressure.
  5. Possession of a Valid Security Clearance.
  6. Strong Work Ethic.
  7. Specialized Advanced Training & Technical Skills.
  8. Flexibility and Adaptability.
  9. Discipline.
  10. Attention to Detail.

When I first penned this list, I struggled with how short it was. I thought that there were many other attributes that were front and center in the people with whom I served…attributes and soft skills that could really make an impact. After taking some time to look through some old award narratives and evaluation reports, and touching base with some human resource managers that I knew, I felt that I could justify a few more.

  1. Ability to Work Efficiently & Diligently in a Fast-Paced Environment.
  2. Commitment to Excellence & History of Meeting Standards of Quality.
  3. Ability to Conform to Rules and Structure.  
  4. Initiative & Self-Direction.
  5. Respect for Procedures and Accountability.
  6. Strong Sense of Health, Personal Safety, and Property Standards.
  7. Ability to Give and Follow Directions.
  8. Hands-on Experience with Technology and Globalization.
  9. Systematic Planning and Organizational Skills.
  10. Accelerated Learning Curve with New Skills and Concepts.

But wait, there’s more. Some of us have more of these soft skills than others. Some of us have spent decades in uniform, others just a few years of an initial enlistment. Different Branches of Service have put emphasis on different areas in different times, and training that the Soldier received in the ‘70s is quite a bit different that what the Sailor received last year. So, I added a few more to the list…

  1. Diversity in Action and Strong Interpersonal Skills.
  2. Emphasis on Safety in the Workplace.
  3. High Levels of Maturity and Responsibility.
  4. Motivation, Dedication, and Professionalism.  
  5. Triumphant over Adversity.

I’m pretty sure I could keep going, but I’m going to stop right here. These are just a few reasons why employers value military experience in their workforce. If you’re a hiring manager, I’m sure you get my point. If you’re a job seeker from the military community, I encourage you to figure out which of the items in this ‘Top Twenty-Five’ list resonate most with you, at least in part because of the path you’ve followed. Be able to make the connection between items on this list and essential elements in the job description and do your best to communicate what you bring to the table…to the person that’s sitting across the table from you during your next job interview. Cheers!

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans

 

Contributed by Alan Rohlfing

 

Small business ownership. Entrepreneurship. Being self-employed or a sole proprietor.  Call it what you will, but research indicates that veterans and their families are a bit more inclined to start a small business venture – and more apt to succeed at it – than our peers outside the military community. And although government-backed research shows that we’re slightly more successful at keeping our doors open than our colleagues without military experience, that fact doesn’t mean that small business isn’t risky. Just the opposite…small business is still a very risky proposition, and businesses in certain industries are riskier than others.

 

Why are we more successful at small business ownership? Perhaps it’s due in part to the same things that we in the military community have in our hip pocket that make us attractive members of an employer’s workforce…things like leadership training, attention to detail, and a conscious consideration of second- and third-order effects of the decisions we make. Perhaps it’s also because we’re good at finding ways to mitigate or minimize the risk that is inherent in small business…and some of those ways include recognizing and taking advantage of resources that exist to help us succeed, like the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV).

 

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) is operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families  (IVMF) at Syracuse University. The EBV is a novel, one-of-a-kind initiative designed to leverage the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education in order to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management. The targeted audience is post-9/11 veterans and their family members who are in early growth mode for their new business.

 

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans opens the door to economic opportunity for veterans by developing their competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture. The program’s curriculum is designed to take participants through the steps and stages of venture creation, with a tailored emphasis on the unique challenges and opportunities associated with being a veteran business owner.

 

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans program was founded at Syracuse University in 2007 and has since expanded to additional universities across the U.S. Those EBV-partnering schools include Texas A&M, Purdue University, UCLA, the University of Connecticut, Louisiana State University, The Florida State University, Cornell University, Saint Joseph’s University and the University of Missouri – with Syracuse University serving as national host of the consortium of schools. Most of the 2019 dates at these schools have yet to be announced, so check back at the IVMF website on a regular basis to find those upcoming dates at a school near you.

 

The entire Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans training program is offered without any cost to participating veterans, but participation is limited to those post-9/11. The program is delivered through a three-phased approach, providing premier training and support along the way:

 

Phase 1 is a 30-day instructor-led, online course focused on the basic skills of entrepreneurship and the language of small business. The curriculum is moderated by entrepreneurship faculty and graduate students from one of the partnering EBV Universities; during this phase, delegates work on the development of their own business concepts.

Phase 2 is a nine-day residency at an EBV university where students are exposed to over 30 accomplished entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from across the U.S. The residency includes more than 80 hours of instruction in the “nuts and bolts” of business ownership. This particular phase is intense, and designed to both educate and motivate.

Phase 3 involves 12 months of support and mentorship delivered through the EBV Post Program Support, a robust, comprehensive network of mentors, resources and national partnerships.

The EBV is designed to open the door to business ownership for veterans by 1) developing them skills in the many steps and activities associated with launching and growing a small business, and by 2) helping them leverage programs and services for veterans and people with disabilities in a way that furthers their entrepreneurial dreams.

Other programs offered by IVMF in the same vein as EBV include Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families and EBV Accelerate. The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families (EBV-F) is an education and self-employment training program founded in 2010 and expanded to Florida State University in 2012. The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families program offers small business training for military spouses and family members, or a surviving spouse of a military member who gave his or her life in service to our country. The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families offers training tailored to military family members with caregiving responsibilities to launch and grow small businesses from home.

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families program is designed to take advantage of the skills, resources and infrastructure of higher education to offer cutting-edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management. The program leverages the flexibility inherent in small business ownership to provide a vocational path forward for military family members. The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families integrates training in entrepreneurship with caregiver and family issues, positioning participants to launch and grow a small business in a way that is complementary or enhancing to other family responsibilities. The EBV-F program operates on a rolling admissions process, so they are always accepting applications and will process them in the order they are received.  

 

Eligibility for participation in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families program is limited to a first-degree family member (spouse, parent, sibling, or adult child) of a post-9/11 veteran with a service-connected disability; a first-degree family member (spouse, parent, sibling, or adult child) of active duty military (including National Guard and Reserve); or a surviving spouse or adult child of a service member who lost their life while serving in the military post-9/11. The program is broken down in three phases: Phase I is a 30-day online, instructor-led business fundamentals and research course; Phase II is a 9-day residential training at a partnering EBV university; and Phase III is ongoing support, focused on small business creation and growth. The entire Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veteran’ Families experience, including travel and lodging, is offered without any cost to participants.

 

EBV Accelerate is a boot camp-style program focused on growth that tackles head-on topics such as the financial, management, marketing, and strategic planning challenges that established businesses face. EBV Accelerate is a 3-phase program that gives veterans that already have a successful business the tools and coaching to propel their business to the next phase: that of sustainable growth. Topics include acquiring growth funding, rebranding for expansion, determining a sustainable growth rate, establishing partnerships, managing cash flow, and more.

 

Eligibility for participation in the EBV Accelerate program: open to all veteran business owners, as long as 50% or more ownership is maintained by the veteran; in business for 3 or more years (recommended; must have financials); must employ 5 or more full-time employees; and the veteran business owner must have served active duty with honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions. Graduates of other IVMF programs are eligible. This program is also offered in three phases: Phase I consists of two weeks of online instruction focused on business analysis; Phase II is a three-day residency during which participants will create a personalized action plan for their business; and Phase III involves resources to support the growth of the business. (Notes for Phase II: Monday & Friday are Travel Days, and the three-day residency is from Tuesday-Thursday; travel to the location is at the candidate’s cost; lodging and meals are provided for the participant during the three-day residency; and all program learning materials will be provided at no cost to the participant.)

 

If you decide that one of these programs looks enticing, check out the application process here. Take it seriously, though…these are highly competitive programs and you’ll need to have your ducks in a row. It’s in your best interest to write complete and thorough responses for the personal statement section to help the admissions committee make an informed decision on your application. Additional paperwork is required to go along with your application:

 

…Documents required for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) application include 2 Letters of Recommendation (must be addressed to EBV and speak specifically about your desire to join the program); an updated resume (military or civilian); and your DD214 Member 4 (showing dates of active duty, discharge status and with the SSN redacted) OR LES (Leave and Earnings Statement).

…Documents required for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families application include 2 Letters of Recommendation; an updated resume; and the family member’s DD214 Member 4 (showing dates of active duty, discharge status and with the SSN redacted) OR LES (Leave and Earnings Statement).

…Documents required for the EBV Accelerate application include 2 Letters of Recommendation (1 from a client & 1 from someone like your banker, accountant, insurance agent, or lawyer); a current resume; your DD214 Member 4 (showing dates of active duty, discharge status and with the SSN redacted); and a self- or accountant-prepared Income Statement OR Profit & Loss Statement.

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, educational, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through a focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families.

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families has provided programs and services to more than 100,000 veterans, service members, and their families since 2011, and to more than 20,000 in 2017 alone. Their family of programs includes EBV, EBV-Families, EBV Accelerate, Onward to Opportunity, America Serves, Boots to Business, V-Wise, Center of Excellence for Veteran Entrepreneurship, CVOB (Coalition for Veteran Owned Business), VetNet – The Veterans Network, and Boots to Business – Reboot.

If you find yourself in transition – from active duty, from a deployment, or from a W-2 job – and you decide that you might like to give small business ownership a try, I encourage you to take a closer look at organizations like the IVMF and programs like the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans. While you probably won’t be eligible for all opportunities like these out there, there’ll be others for which you’re suited. And there will be other organizations that are more local to you, or that have different eligibility guidelines, for which you do qualify.

Connect with a small business counselor at your local economic development center or at your closest Small Business Administration office. Put talented people on your ‘team’ and take advantage of resources created especially for members of the military community…like you and me.

 

New Career Opportunity in Naval Aviation

New Career Opportunity in Naval Aviation

Contributed by Alan Rohlfing

In an effort to improve aviator retention, the U.S. Navy has announced that it’s launching the Aviation Professional Flight Instructor (PFI) program, a move that will allow pilots and naval flight officers to remain in the Navy later in their careers, typically as flight instructors.

The program is intended to provide selected officers enhanced career flexibility, greater stability with assignments, and rewarding experiences training the Navy’s newest aviators. Shortages in the service’s pilot community appear to be driving the program, however, as the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are all facing a pilot-retention crisis. The services complete with ample opportunities for jobs with commercial airliners that offer good pay, no risk of combat, and no at-sea deployments to take them away from their families. The Navy also increased bonuses available for certain officers earlier this year.

To be eligible for a spot, a pilot or naval flight officer must have completed or be currently serving in an operational or operational-training aviation department head assignment, have completed a flying tour in aviation production, have a projected rotation date in calendar year 2019, and have at least 36 months remaining before their statutory retirement date.

A naval administrative message, issued September 28, notes that this path is an alternative to the traditional sea/shore rotational career path associated with operational service and for officers who don’t wish to pursue command opportunities. The Navy is currently accepting applications from qualified aviators and flight officers for the first PFI board, scheduled for November 20. The program is slated to start sometime in calendar year 2019.

The Navy hopes the new PFI program will help it leverage enhanced fleet experiences among its ranks and address shortages of critical instructional skill sets of its current aviation professionals. Accepting a position as a navy Professional Flight Instructor will remove the officer from command consideration, but he or she would still be eligible for statutory promotion board consideration. Officers selected to become flight instructors can remain in the program until they choose to withdraw or retire, as long as they continue to meet applicable performance standards.

For program details, eligibility, and application procedures, read NAVADMIN 241/18 at www.npc.navy.mil or visit the Navy Personnel Command Aviation Bonus website at https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/officer/Detailing/aviation/Pages/Professional-Flight-Instructor.aspx.

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

Special Warfare Operator Needed!

Special Warfare Operator Needed!

The U.S. Navy is seeking E-1 through E-5 applicants for conversion into the Special Warfare Operator (SO) and Special Warfare Boat Operator (SB) ratings. Applications are due quarterly; contact Naval Special Operations Enlisted Community Manager (BUPERS-324) for specific deadlines.

Additional information regarding the selection process and application requirements is available at the Navy SEAL website.

For questions about the application process, application deadlines, or about special warfare service, contact BUPERS-324, at (901) 874-2195/DSN 882 or (901) 874-3552/DSN 882.

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

brown and goodkin

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.