Forward Observer — Something Smart from the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry That Might Help Veterans

LVMAC Poster Art 2005When it comes to helping veterans find employment — having done away with its Governor’s Veterans Outreach and Assistance Centers (and using them properly before that) and having had problems with the staffing of JobGateway 2013its Veterans Employment Representative program — the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has not exactly been a frontrunner among state labor departments. But its JobGatewaySM  is a web product which comes as close to providing a one-stop employment shopping environment online as you can get, and has the potential to actually help our veterans community because it also tries to engage prospective employers providing good, wage paying jobs, registering those who pass muster. 

DLI has recognized it needs to improve how job-seekers find family-sustaining jobs and, in the same token, to help employers find the skilled candidates that they need. We have talked to local corporations who want to hire veterans but have had difficulty in outreaching. Yet, not much has heard about this useful website in the general veterans population since its launch in July 2012.

What makes this product especially good are its advanced search and research options. Among other features,  the site will help develop your resume, keep track of your efforts, recommend jobs based on your preferences, find jobs close to you, access the labor market trends, find special employment events and certified training providers — after the GI Bill for-profit school scandal, a particularly valuable feature.

Click on the Job Seeker Services option and you get to the core of what this site wants to provide. Note it includes a military skills translator (we’re waiting for it to become operational) and how to reach your Veterans Employment Representative (funded by the U.S. Department of Labors to exclusively assist veterans seeking employment, to include helping in their retraining).  You should be able to see its value to returning and other veterans seeking employment.

However, we’d like to see DLI develop it further by adding a specific section for transitioning veterans.  This cyber home would allow businesses in Pennsylvania actually seeking veterans to identify themselves and the job opportunities they are making available to them. It could be used a networking portal among veterans for job tips and leads. Tax credits and lesser known employment and employment training programs, such as On the Job Training, could be found in one place for employers and veterans and brought, finally, to a local level. Lastly, it could be used to help re-educate many employers and human resource managers about their misperceptions of our veterans.

Doing this would be a step forward again in the right direction in Pennsylvania complying with the intentions of the Job Act for Veterans.  As we stated, when it comes to helping veterans DLI is not known as a frontrunner …, but here is one opportunity to be just that.

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 RJH

3 July 2013
Update: 10 Sep 2013, link change for Job Seeker

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