Helping Veterans Find Jobs – An Overview of the Veterans Employment Empowerment Project

A large group of people (approximately 50) gather around a large USA flag outside of the Chicago Lighthouse. In the front row are employees of the Lighthouse who are Veterans

We are honored to provide support to Veterans at all stages of reintegration into civilian life through programs and services focused on employment.


 

This month on November 11 we celebrated Veterans Day. Each year, Veterans Day gives us the opportunity to thank our Veterans for their service and reflect on what we can do to show our appreciation. One of the best ways we can support Veterans is by helping them become reintegrated into the community through employment and other opportunities. In this week’s Sandy’s View, we take a look at The Chicago Lighthouse’s Veterans Employment Empowerment Project and how it can help Veterans find jobs and other resources.

Providing employment opportunities to our Veterans is more vital than ever before. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 266,000 Veterans in Illinois are unemployed. Additionally, statistics from Illinois Joining Forces estimate that 80 percent of Veterans leave the military without a job. For this reason, The Chicago Lighthouse established the Veterans Employment Empowerment Project in 2014. The overall goal of this program is to help Veterans gain skills to find competitive and meaningful employment, according to Martha Younger-White, Senior Vice President of Employment Services at The Chicago Lighthouse and coordinator of the Veterans Employment Empowerment Project. The program is open to Veterans with and without disabilities. Since the program’s inception in 2014, nearly 1,000 Veterans have received services. The following are the services offered by the Veterans Employment Empowerment Project:

Job Readiness

Staff from our Employment Services Program are available to evaluate a Veteran’s needs and goals. They can also assist with things like resume writing, mock interviews and appropriate dress code.

Employment and Training

This component focuses on educating and training Veterans about the process of finding and retaining a job. Among the topics covered in the training are applying for jobs and answering questions related to their occupational skillset and experience gained since transitioning to life as civilians. Veterans then have the opportunity to apply to work in one of The Lighthouse’s Contact Centers.

Computer Literacy

If necessary, staff can teach participants about data entry, keyboarding, email and other software and internet applications. Veterans also learn how to conduct job searches online. This training is meant to meet a variety of vocational needs and goals.

Veteran Mentorship Program

In this program, Veterans who are newly hired at The Lighthouse are partnered with Veterans who have already been employed. These Veteran mentors can assist new Veteran employees in their transition to The Lighthouse and workplace.

Veterans Resource Corner

This resource center is dedicated to providing Veterans with information on various community resources. Here, Veterans can find printed literature about Veterans benefits, programs, events, and other opportunities in the community.

Are you a Veteran and would like more information about the Veterans Employment Empowerment Project? To learn more, contact Martha Younger-White at (312) 447-3251 or martha.younger-white@chicagolighthouse.org. On Tuesday November 17, The Lighthouse will be holding a virtual job fair for Veterans. The event will take place from 10 to noon via Zoom. For more details or to register, click here.

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