Employment and Entrepreneurship

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Veterans Employment Representatives (VER)

Employment service officers located at the local Lehigh Valley Department of Labor and Industry CareerLink are specialists assigned to help any veteran obtain employment, to include disabled veterans. Veterans need not be unemployed to ask for assistance or even in finding another job.  They can also counsel or refer on other benefits, but they are not veterans service officers (claims officers).  Contacts for this “veterans only” service are:

  • Sam Jones, Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist (DVOP) [for veterans], 555 Union Boulevard in Allentown, tel: 610-841-1019 

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, whose department funds these state employees in reality, promulgated instructions in April of 2014 on how these employees are to be used, if to be funded, and new criteria on whom to serve.  While  controversial in the eyes of some, the intention is to get the programs back into good working order:

1) by improving the service to disabled veterans and also those making a transition back to civilian employment (whether disabled or not; and the DVOP’s mission), and

2)  by increasing job opportunities through the grooming of employers (the LVER’s mission).

Click here for a summary on criteria for those who will be served by a DVOP.


  • Doug Moore, Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) [for employers], 555 Union Boulevard in Allentown, tel: 610-841-1037 Ext 573          

This is the person employers should be seeking out.  LVERs conduct outreach to employers and engage in advocacy efforts with hiring executives to increase employment opportunities for veterans and encourage the hiring of veteran.

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VA Veterans Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC)

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC): Counselors from the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program provide services to those eligible veterans that are in need of assistance with seeking and securing employment or, if needed, provide services to increase one’s ability to live independently. To apply for this program, a veteran must have at least a 10% service connected disability rating or 20% memo rating. The veteran will then need to be found both eligible and entitled to this program.

  • The current VRC at the Allentown VA Clinic,  on Tuesdays through Thursdays, is Christopher Place from the Philadelphia VA Regional Office VR&E Service.  He can be reached at tel: 215-842-2000 x 4109, email: Christopher.Place@va.gov,  or at his clinic number tel: 610-776-4445.  If there is a problem reaching her (this position has been a revolving door of late), ask for the Duty Officer at Regional Office, tel: 215-281-3028..
  • Initial contact about eligibility and enrollment into the program is Natilee Thomas,VRC, at the Philadelphia Field Office, tel: 215-842-2000 ext. 2638
  • For more information visit VR&E main webage.

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DLI Veterans Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC)

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), part of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry, provides vocational rehabilitation services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment.  OVR provides services to eligible individuals with disabilities, both directly and through a network of approved vendors.  Veterans should not overlook this service long and well established in our community especially as the Commonwealth has a few efforts specifically tied to veterans, such as tax incentives to employers.

  • The local office office is at 45th N. 4th St. in Allentown (next to the Social Security Office at 4th and Hamilton).  The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor/Case Management Supervisor, John Blaxland, tel: 610-821-6441 Ext 3116, email: jblaxland@pa.gov goes out of his way to assist veterans.

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Employee Support to the Guard & Reserves

The Department of Defense provides esgr.org to provide information on your rights and responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), forms, and contacts for assistance for the program. It is a one-stop site. If you believe your rights under USERRA have been violated by your employer, you can call 1-800-336-4590 option (1) to speak with an ESGR representative or you may fill out the online ESGR Form 100 and have your complaint reviewed. An ESGR representative will contact you within 48 hours of the first business day after receiving your request.

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For the Small Businessman/Entrepreneur

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides this one-stop site for veterans: www.sba.gov/vets The Office for Veterans Business Development (OVBD) is responsible for several programs worth knowing, including a program for service disabled veteran-owned businesses  wishing to contract with the federal government. The nearest Veterans Business Development Officer for the Lehigh Valley is found in King of Prussia (the Philadelphia District Office).

Don’t overlook the more general route of approach by going to a Small Business Development Center, a public-private partnership organization, or visiting the new America’s SBDC site and inquiring – remember as a veteran you have a special status and do not fail to mention you are a veteran. They provide one-stop assistance to individuals and small businesses by providing a wide variety of information and guidance in central and more easily accessible branch locations. The program is a cooperative effort of the private sector, the educational community and federal, state and local governments. For Pennsylvania, click here to locate a center, always found at a university. For the Lehigh Valley, it is operated by Lehigh University. Note that consulting and, at least, the initial seminar, are provided free of charge.  Ask for help before paying and read this about Pennsylvania SBDC, as it applies to veterans, for the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers are the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development  is one of the associates or partners of SBDC, piggybacking on the SBA program to execute.  Pennsylvania has a relatively unknown program like the federal government’s veterans-owned business program above — so unknown, the editor can no longer find it on the state government’s website.

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Employment on the Web

  • The Veterans Employment Center™ (VEC) , which is part of an effort on the behalf of veterans by the VA to simplify obtaining reliable information online via a single government portal site, www.vets.gov and which is now under development, is the latest addition to veterans-oriented employment and appeared on the scene in late 2015.  VEC’s intention is to connect veterans and their families with meaningful employment and career-development opportunities. It also addresses those who seek to start or expand their own businesses.  It is definitely transition-oriented, for it provides a linear way of going about finding a job  for those new to the process.  However, even those further along in experience can benefit from it, for it appears to be a comprehensive, complete, one-stop package.  VEC considers where you are along in the job-hunting process, to include applying for unemployment compensation.  It provides employment career advice, assists in résumé building, offers education advice and free online training, and access to employers who are committed to hiring veterans and military spouses, among other features.  Whether it replaces the need to know all the other sites listed below, particularly those provided by the government, remains to be seen, but try it as a first-stop, one-stop employment website.
  • My Next Move for Veterans is probably the most comprehensive job searching website yet for veterans.  My Next Move for Veterans is helps in translating one’s military skills or other interests into a civilian career.  The  veterans can find careers through keyword search; by browsing industries that employ different types of workers; or by discovering civilian careers that are similar to their job in the military.  Among other new job search engines it uses My Skills My Future and the Veterans Job Bank to locate jobs down to zip code or local level.  The site also evaluates the future prospects of career fields, their characteristics, salaries/wages for an area, and educational requirements; plus provides apprenticeship program information.  This website has been developed and is maintained by the National Center for O*NET Development, under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.
  • Hero 2 Hired (H2H.Job): Yet another web-based product from the federal government and others which can lend to the confusion of which one to go for the best information. A whole new genre of private, talent-matching businesses which contract with government using the web’s potential have cropped up in recent years.  Launched in May 2012, this first cloud-based product — oddly funded out the GI Bill’s Yellow Ribbon program — does have potential. Constructed to connect Reserve Component service members to high quality jobs, it has broader application to all veterans. It helps match employers with job candidates, using what Future, Inc. calls “proprietary ‘match-strength technology’ that allows job candidates to explore careers and industries, while performing job searches for an immediate list of open jobs, filtered by location, salary, industry, education level and matched to their skills and interest.” Whether that technology is better than My Next Move for Veterans’ is hard to say.  It also provides additional related resources helpful to the job seeker, such as tips on job-hunting techniques, interview preparation, resume building, or financial aid and where hiring events are occurring and takes advantage of social media “apps.” Like My Next Move for Veterans, it offers a military skills translator.
  • www.fedhirevets.govCreated by Presidential Executive Order in 2009 and replacing the previous Administration’s “Hire Vets First”, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in partnership with the Departments of Defense, Labor, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and other federal agencies, provides this website as the preeminent source for federal employment information for veterans, transitioning service members, their families, federal HR professionals and hiring managers.  It is a one-source and provides information on federal jobs locally available.
  • Veterans Job Bank — Located within the National Resource Directory, this more recent effort (2011) is a key part of the White House’s ongoing commitment to improve access to employment opportunities for transitioning service members and veterans. It facilitates access to hundreds of thousands of private-sector job openings specifically targeted at veterans.  Feature include the capability to search by MOS/MOC, keyword, and nearby cities; plus you can embed a job search widget to your website to help connect with local job opportunities.
  • www.vaforvets.va.gov — A robust, gateway website tailored for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) veteran hiring, reintegration and retention according to their procedures.  Now links to other federal agencies and nonprofit partners apparent linkage to http://www.fedhirevets.gov above could be found.  It offers career-search tools, career development services for their existing veteran employees, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.
  • www.VetJobs.com Another “all-in-one” site but one operated by veterans for veterans. It was established after research showed a gap in sites which assisted employers in identifying the transitioning military and veteran candidate; and is operated by a seasoned management team of professionals to assist companies, recruiting firms and hiring authorities to successfully reach the military market. VetJobs is owned and operated by veterans for veterans. In January 2000, The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States exclusively endorsed and purchased ten percent of the company. Since then, VetJobs has garnered many veteran service organization endorsements. It is recognized in the industry as the leading recruitment site to reach the military market.
  • www.HelmetsToHardhats.org —  “Helmets to Hardhats” was launched in 2003 to help those discharging from active duty find gainful employment in the building and construction industry. The program is administered by the Department of Defense working jointly with union and employer associations clamoring for veterans. The industry offers the opportunity for high paying, family supporting jobs.  Actually, any retiree, reservist, or veteran can potentially benefit. Eligibility varies by employer. Generally, one must have an honorable discharge, a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a drug test, survive an interview, and be fit to perform work. There is no age restriction. Apprenticeship training and provision for disabled veterans are all part of the program. Though most jobs involve the trades, many employers offer other jobs in their construction companies such as administrative, engineering and management positions.To apply go to the national website above and enter the required information. A representative will then contact you. If a Pennsylvanian, you may call  the OH, PA, WV,  MI, IN representative, Mr. Terry Powers,  by phone at (724)283-8710 to answer additional questions and to assist with any problems you may experience with the program.
  • Troops to Teachers —  Think of it as Helmets to Hardhats for becoming a teacher.  DoD’s Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) manages the program.  It provides referral assistance and placement services to military personnel interested in beginning a second career in public education as a teacher; and will help applicants identify teacher certification requirements and programs leading to certification. In certain situations, financial assistance is provided. Better yet, the Pennsylvania and New York Region has a Point of Contact in Ms. Vanessa Barron, Program Director,  who can be reached by telephone at 1-855-241-2173 or by email at info@troopstoteacherswcuf.org (West Chester University Foundation).  For additional information, see the foundation website for the program also.
  • www.careeronestop.gov  –  This is a more general integrated suite (portal site) of national web sites that help businesses, job seekers, students, and workforce professionals find employment and career resources than http://www.fedhirevets.org and includes more than just federal jobs.  It is a soup-to-nuts site.  CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, a multitude of useful products including America’s CareerInfo Net  which provides national, state and local career information and labor market data and OPM’s  USA Jobs, the federal site for finding federal employment opportunities.
  • LVMAC Job Board — This page is a crude tool which may nevertheless be useful for finding local jobs.

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Employment on the Web for Military Spouses

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Last Updated: 26 July 2016 (Change of VRE Counselor, addition of VA VEC portal)

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