Pittsburgh Forum on Veteran Employment

Dec 4, 2014 Economy

Pittsburgh, which has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country, was recently ranked one of the best places in the country for veterans to find jobs, according to a new study by financial services provider USAA. 

In an ongoing effort to connect military veterans and employers in the region, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, in partnership with the U.S. Chamber Foundation Hiring Our Heroes, hosted the Pittsburgh Forum on Veteran Employment, November 18-19, 2014. 

The two-day event featured a Summit, sponsored by PNC, which focused on employers and the opportunity to find motivated, skilled employees by recruiting military veterans who are returning to the region or already here.

One of the panels during the Summit was titled “Engaging in Military Talent in Our Region.” The moderator was Percy Simpson, PNC and the panelists were Megan Andros, Heinz Endowments; Gabriella C. Gonzalez, RAND Corporation; Dmitri Shiry, Deloitte; and Nicholas “Chip” Gililand, Office of Veterans Affairs. 

After comments from each panelist, the moderator posed questions to each panelist and took audience questions. Among many issues, two key topics were the most hotly discussed: What are Veteran's feelings about finding a job? And what can employers do to attract and retain Veterans?

In response to the first question, Gonzalez said, “the panelists all agreed that the Veterans who we've encountered are experiencing a lot of anxiety, given that, for many of them, this is their first time having to find employment and ‘sell themselves’."

In response to the second question, Gonzalez said, “the panelists identified some clear practices employers could employ. For example, having HR develop an understanding of ranks and Specialty Occupations, so that a Veteran's resume is easily translatable into leadership and knowledge skills that are more understandable to those who are making hiring decisions. Another example, dispelling misperceptions that all Veterans have combat experience or that all Veterans who have combat experience suffer from psychological distress/post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The Forum also included a Career Fair, sponsored by Chevron, which brought together employers, Veterans, military personnel and family members.

At the event, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development announced the launch of Service to Opportunity (STO), an initiative to match military Veterans with in-demand energy and manufacturing jobs in the region.