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Hollywood & Veterans Join Forces On Panel

hollywood

By Debbie Gregory.

Recently the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) hosted a panel discussion of how veterans entering the film and TV industry can help bridge the military-civilian gap in society.

Prominent actors, executive producers and industry executives gathered at Paramount Studios, joined by some 300 military veterans who are both in and entering the film industry. Many of the veterans in the room were aspiring actors, writers, and directors.

The military-civilian divide is well documented, as 84 percent of post-9/11 veterans believe that the American public has no understanding of the challenges facing this generation of veterans and military families.  More than almost any other story-telling medium, the television and film industry can play a powerful and enduring role in shaping the cultural narrative that will come to define this group of veterans, and tell the stories of the Iraq and Afghanistan generation of veterans.

The panel of experts included Contessa Brewer (moderator), Syracuse University alum and NBC reporter, actor and veteran J.R. Martinez, NCIS Executive Producer Scott Williams, and David Gale, CEO of We Are The Mighty and former President of MTV Films.

The panel also encouraged the veterans to seek out other mediums, including YouTube, webisodes, documentaries, and Snapchat.

Scott Williams shared that the NCIS crew has around 100 veterans working as grips, camera operators, and in construction.

Wounded warrior, motivational speaker and Dancing With the Stars winner J.R. Martinez, who got his acting break playing Brot Monroe on All My Children, explained it’s important to get past the uniform and see the human being. “A veteran is more than a veteran. A veteran is a son, daughter, father, mother, sister, brother. There are dangers in stereotyping; we need to understand who they are as a person.”

Another theme is how Hollywood needs to change how it thinks of military veterans.  “Right now veterans are used as advisors on specific projects,” said Gale.

The IVMF endeavors to advance the post-service lives of America’s veterans and their families. IVMF’s professional staff delivers unique and innovative programs in career, vocations, and entrepreneurship education and training to post 9/11 veterans and active duty military spouses, as well as tailored programs to veterans of all eras.

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.

 

Military Spouses Are Not getting Fair Treatment

unemployed

By Debbie Gregory.

According to an Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) report entitled, “The Force Behind the Force: A Business Case for Leveraging Military Spouse Talent,” military spouses are not faring as well as their civilian counterparts.

There are more than one million active duty, guard, and reserve military spouses, more than 15 million veterans’ spouses, and an estimated 5.8 million surviving spouses of veterans in the U.S.

Yet, military spouses are largely overlooked as part of a talent pipeline.

The IVMF report, sponsored by Syracuse University and funded by Prudential Financial, was launched July 14, 2016. It is the first in a series of three research papers as part of an overall study on military spouse employment.

The report revealed that female military spouses earn significantly less than their civilian female peers

It also found that military spouses have a significantly higher unemployment rate (almost three times as many) as their civilian peers. When looking for reasons why there is this disparity, the report found that it was due to factors such as frequent relocations,  a lack of childcare, and the responsibility of single-parenting due to the absence of their active duty spouse

But employers may be missing out if they choose not to hire military spouses. As a rule, they are educated, motivated to work, and have numerous attributes that are valuable in the workplace.

“This research highlights that military spouses bring a variety of business enhancing characteristics to the workplace–such as diversity, resilience, adaptability and high civic-engagement–and offers a compelling business case to recruit and hire them,” said Dr. Nick Armstrong, senior director of research and policy at IVMF.

Additionally, each year, military spouses provide billions of dollars worth of free labor through their volunteerism.

It is often said that military spouses also serve. Their impact on military readiness and retention is invaluable.
“Military spouses are a great source of talent and an integral part of our talent pipeline strategy,” said James Beamesderfer, vice president, Veterans Initiatives at Prudential. “We know that more than one third of them say they are unemployed or underemployed. We want to help turn that around by providing them with meaningful career opportunities. That’s why we’re working with the IVMF to fund the research and share best practices with other employers.”

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.