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New Oakland County program connects veterans with jobs

Detroit Free Press - 12/25/2017

Dec. 25--When Michael Tioran of Bloomfield Hills ended an eight-year stint in the U.S. Navy in 2008, the economy he came home to was mired in the Great Recession.

"The job hunt was terrible when I came out," said Toiran, 44.

Today's economy is better, but when he was recently looking for a job, he found help from the Oakland County Veterans Reboot Job Project, a project that brings together veterans and employers, providing help with resumes, networking, job searching tips and other assistance.

Toiran attended a session in early December and met with Michigan Works staffers, who helps him "tweak my resume so that it's more attractive to employers."

"If you're just getting out, they have some employers who will review it and they have Michigan Works people who will review it," said Toiran, who recently landed a job with Mahindra Automotive North America in Auburn Hills.

The program is a partnership between Oakland County Michigan Works! and the county's Veterans Services Division. It launched in November to coincide with Veterans Day.

From 9-11 a.m. on the first Friday of every month, veterans are invited to visit the county's Veterans Services Offices in Troy and Pontiac to meet with employers, touch up their resume and network with other veterans seeking jobs.

"Our military veterans have served our country and now it's time for us to serve them," County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said at the program's launch. "A growing number of companies across the county are making it a priority to hire qualified veterans. The Veteran Reboot Job Project -- the first of its kind in our region -- will help veterans establish their own personal brands, launch job searches, prepare them for interviews and connect these heroes with veteran-friendly employers looking to hire people today."

Beaumont Health, which employs more than 35,000 people in its eight hospitals and other medical facilities, was one of the first employers to sign up.

"It's a great network," said Sheran Bly, a recruiter for Beaumont, who said the health system has had good luck with veterans in the past, hiring them for everything from entry-level housekeepers, to nurses and medical technicians to directors.

"They are usually very good employers, they are stable, they take direction, all that military training helps," she said. "It is a good pipeline back and forth."

Natalee DeVriendt, who helps hire employees for Troy-based Gold Star Property Restoration, said her company also has had good experiences hiring veterans. She said the company hasn't hired a veteran through the new program yet, but expects to in the new year.

She attended one of the first sessions and met with a veteran who left a strong impression.

"He was very committed, wanting to work and wanting to take care of his family," DeVriendt said. "He really impressed me. He seemed very mature, very focused. "

Jennifer Llewellyn of Oakand County Works, said some veterans may have service-related disabilities, but that doesn't mean they can't get jobs.

"The employers are very eager to hire veterans," she said. "We're trying to connect with vets who have been disconnected from the work force."

Veteran's Reboot Job Project

Who: Any U.S. military veteran is welcome

What: Offers networking, resume help, and face-to-face meeting with employers

When: 9-11 a.m. 1st Friday of every month

Where: Oakland County Veterans Services offices, 1151 Crooks Road, Troy and Building 26 East, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Pontiac.

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(c)2017 the Detroit Free Press

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