Veteran Jobs Mission Convenes in Texas

Veteran Jobs Mission (VJM) coalition members and allies recently gathered in both Austin and Houston to discuss the latest in employer best practices for veteran hiring and talent development.

In Austin, local VJM members joined veteran service organizations as well as Austin-area business leaders looking to learn more about leveraging veteran talent to fill roles within their companies. Mark Elliott, Head of Military and Veterans Affairs at JPMorgan Chase, a founding VJM member, reflected on the value of the coalition.

“The Veteran Jobs Mission first came together with a focus on hiring. Today, we have evolved beyond just hiring to work on best-in-class programs for developing and empowering veteran employees,” said Elliott. “It’s great to see this evolution because being hired is often just the beginning of a veteran’s transition into the private sector. Once hired, there are still challenges to face, and we’re glad to see the Austin business community stepping up to address those challenges.”

Participants heard presentations from two innovative programs making strides in veteran talent development in the Austin area. Major General (Ret.) Tony Cucolo serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Leadership Development and Veterans Affairs at the University of Texas System. He shared highlights from UT System’s leadership development programs for veterans across the institution.

Anthony Cosby, Director for Employer Outreach at the Institute for Veterans Affairs at Syracuse University, talked about his efforts to launch the Onward to Opportunity program at Joint Base San Antonio. Onward to Opportunity is a free career skills program that provides civilian career training, professional certifications and job placement support to transitioning service members, members of the selected reserves, veterans, and military spouses. The program operates on-base installations and distance-learning opportunities.

A few weeks later in Houston, the Greater Houston Partnership hosted VJM coalition members, veteran service organizations and local business leaders for an evening of networking. Daniel Gilbane, Southwest Business Unit Leader of Gilbane Building Company, shared his perspective as an employer committed to hiring and developing veteran talent.

“Employers are in the best position to know what skills and competencies are required for workers to be successful in a company as well as the sources of proven talent. And veterans are proven talent for the companies represented in the room tonight,” said Gilbane. “Veterans come to us with strong work experience, the ability to work in teams, the ability to work hard, and the key leadership qualities every company needs.”

Participants later heard from John Boerstler from Combined Arms, a Houston-based organization that streamlines the connection between veterans and their families with the organizations that serve them, including employment organizations.

The Veteran Jobs Mission’s next gathering will take place on May 8-9 in Washington, DC for the Annual National Coalition Meeting. For inquiries, contact veteran.jobs.mission@JobsMission.com.