In September 2017, the veteran unemployment rate was 3.0 percent, compared to 4.0 percent for non-veterans. And while this is a major improvement for the veteran community, the need for successful job attainment still remains. William Metheny, Director of the Office of Field Operations for the US Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service shares the importance of early preparation for the transition from military to civilian life. Click here for part 1 of Active Military Apprenticeship.
Interview recorded Oct 11, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Robert Traynham: As I understanding it Bill, you also served [00:03:00] our country wearing our country’s uniform. Was it difficult for you transitioning?
Bill Metheny: It’s an interesting process and the sooner I got into my head that it was time and to start thinking about it, the easier it went. I’ve had friends who have really struggled with it, but what I found is, when I went through the transition classes that every service member goes through, and I did what they told me, it made the process go well.
Robert Traynham: The other side of this coin of course, is the spouse and his or her family. How does [00:03:30] that work in terms of transition as well?
Bill Metheny: Well, they transition on a regular basis. These military spouses besides all the sacrifices itself of service, they have to uproot and maybe move their careers when their service member transfers to a new installation. So we, at the Department of Labor and especially our secretary is, trying to figure out what can we do to ease that process and remove barriers that might hold them back from getting employment in the new place.
Robert Traynham: What are some of those barriers? Do you know?
Bill Metheny: Well, suppose you are a military spouse, and you are working in some sort of career that requires [00:04:00] a license or some sort of certification.
Robert Traynham: So example, a Nail Technician or an Aesthetician or-
Bill Metheny: Exactly.
Robert Traynham: Or beauty supplies or something like that?
Bill Metheny: That’s right. So, when you uproot and go to your new location, does your license come with you? Do you have to start over? And the answer is, it depends. Well that’s not a good answer for us and so, our secretary is really pushing to work with states on this idea of portability. Can they take their license wherever they go in the United States, and apply it and get right back to work?
Robert Traynham: Bill, in the few moments that we have left, what are some of the key takeaways that [00:04:30] we should know about your program, and where can people get more information?
Bill Metheny: First, as we talked about, start early. If, you’re in the military or a military spouse, start thinking about that transition now.
Second, you don’t have to do it all on your own. We describe the Transition Assistance Program a little bit, but there’s a network out there to help you, and it’s in your area. 2400 American job centers across the country.
If, you go to the website veterans.gov or careeronestop.gov. Either one, [00:05:00] all one word, all lower case. Put in your address or your zip code and you’ll find out where the nearest center is close to you, and you go there and there will be people there ready to help you.
Robert Traynham: And, for those of you who have just heard that website, and just grabbed your pen or your smart device, those two websites again are Bill?
Bill Metheny: www.veterans.gov or careeronestop.gov.
Robert Traynham: Bill, thank you very much for joining us. It’s really appreciated.
Bill Metheny: Thanks.
Robert Traynham: And thank you for joining us as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. [00:05:30] I’m Robert Traynham.
Bill, talk to me about apprenticeships please.
Bill Metheny: Well, in May of this year the President signed an executive order that established priority for this apprenticeship program across the nation. And what it’s designed to do is, help close the gap between the skills that somebody has and the skills that an employer needs. And so what we’re doing is, now tying that into the military [00:06:00] pipeline so that as they come out of the military, we’ve got them setup for a track that leads into employment for an apprenticeship program, which helps them with a long-term career, and over a career their overall income is significantly higher for those, who have completed the internship.
Robert Traynham: And, how long does that apprenticeship last?
Bill Metheny: They vary based on the career from just a few weeks to get started, to some that might be a couple of years to work their way up that process.
Robert Traynham: And Bill, what are those websites?
Bill Metheny: So one of them is, veterans.gov. [00:06:30] That’s your primary one. Another one that’s a great resource is careeronestop.org.
Robert Traynham: Thank you very much for joining us, I really appreciate it.
Bill Metheny: Thank you.
Robert Traynham: And, thank you for joining us as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I’m Robert Traynham.