Lakeshore Technical College hosts career and benefits fair for veterans

April 11, 2012

From “Area military veterans find companies ready to hire” — CLEVELAND — Corey Evenson of Manitowoc has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, based out of Ashwaubenon.

Perhaps, the U.S. Army reservist’s next overseas assignment may be for The Manitowoc Company.

“We have facilities all over the world … about 75 percent of our current openings are salaried from entry level to vice president,” company recruiter Erin Pierre told the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay sophomore at Tuesday’s Veterans Career and Benefits Fair.

The global cranes and foodservice equipment manufacturer, with facilities in 26 countries, was one of a couple dozen employers and service providers at the event held at Lakeshore Technical College.

Dan Heilman, vice president of Operations for Invincible Office Furniture Solutions in Manitowoc, was able to quickly identify the advantage of hiring veterans, in addition to tax credits.

“Organizational skills … veterans are very task-oriented and don’t require a lot of ‘resupervision,'” Heilman said.

Invincible is looking for assemblers, material handlers and general laborers to help make office furniture, including desks, computer tables and file cabinets.

One of the veterans reviewing Invincible’s job openings was Sheboygan Falls’ Richard James, 52, who served in the Army from 1982-85 and will graduate next month with a two-year associate degree in nuclear technology.

“I have to explore all job options and believe the knowledge I’ve gained here at LTC can be useful in other industries, too, not just nuclear,” James said.

A brochure from the state Department of Workforce Development’s Wisconsin Job Center identified “10 Reasons to Hire a Veteran” including:

» Accelerated learning curve

» Leadership

» Teamwork

» Diversity and inclusion in action

» Efficient performance under pressure

» Respect for procedures

» Technology and globalization

» Integrity

» Conscious of health and safety standards

» Triumph over adversity

Military to civilian

Marcea Ann Weiss was in the Army from 1994-2003 and served as a Blackhawk helicopter test pilot and maintenance manager.

“About 200,000 men and women leave the military every year,” Weiss said. She said veterans should think about what they enjoyed about their military service and take it into account when performing their civilian job search.

Weiss has written a book, “Leaving the Military: Your Deployment Guide to Corporate America.”

She was at the fair as the Midwest branch manager of Merendino Cemetery Care, which performs grounds management, interments, construction, mausoleum restoration and horticulture to religious, private and national cemeteries.

It participates in the Veteran GI Bill Apprenticeship program.

It is one of many state, federal or volunteer programs intended to reduce the unemployment rate of veterans.

According to data released recently by the federal Bureau of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate for those who served post-9/11 was 12.1 percent last year, up from 11.5 percent in 2010 and well above the national average of about 9 percent.

Weiss said leadership skills is the No. 1 asset many veterans possess that can benefit a private sector employer.

She said even soldiers whose “MOS” (Military Occupational Specialty) was “11-Bravo” — or infantryman — was trained to be a platoon leader and acquire people management abilities.

Weiss said she helps employers learn how “to speak veteran” and appreciate that former armed forces members are able to take orders but also adapt and adjust for maximum efficiency.

She doesn’t have to sell Tom Faley, who was at the fair to recruit potential new hires for Sargento Foods.

“Veterans tend to have great leadership qualities … they can see (the company’s) vision and communicate it,” Faley said.

Veterans are among the valuable new employees that have helped, Faley said, grow Sargento four-fold in the 25 years he has been with the company to a work force now totaling about 1,500 with plants in Kiel, Hilbert, Elkhart Lake, Plymouth, Bellingham, Wash., and North Sioux City, S.D.


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