For the veteran communities we at Operation Supply Drop serve, the most common and recurring request is various forms of professional development. While the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans has declined to 5.7%, this doesn’t factor in what many believe is a huge underemployment challenge for our veterans. Given Operation Supply Drop’s community-centric approach to veteran support, we spend a significant amount of time developing local relationships with corporations to address the need to better prepare veterans for the recruiting and interview process both for high success rates and for greater chances in finding the right opportunity.
After learning more details about Google’s social responsibility initiatives and VetNet programs, we knew we had found a great partner. Harrison Read, US Army Veteran and Channels Specialist at Google explains, “Creating communities within Google has always been a key component to our culture. VetNet is Google’s own internal network for those who have served, their friends, and their families. With more than 1000 Googlers—including veterans and supporters—the group is one of the most active communities at Google.”
The first of these professional development workshop brought together over 20 veterans from Central Texas, complimented by 10 Googlers. This initial workshop keyed in on interview preparation emphasizing the ability to narrate one’s value to a potential employer. Given the ratio of the veterans to the Googlers, a lot of one-on-one time and small group discussion added additional keys for success to those attending.
All veterans that were able to attend brought unique questions and experiences to the group which helped shape a valuable evening. For some, this was simply a refresher, to others a launch pad to tear away from dead end opportunities and find the next adventure.
Read continues, “The professional workshop in Austin was a great way for us, as Googlers and Vets, to support our peers. Even though I had civilian work experience before the military, my transition back into the civilian workforce was a very stressful time. Beyond simple resume building and interviewing tips, events like this serve to simply remind us we are not alone in this experience. That in itself brings a boost in confidence.”
OSD Program Director of The Teams, Scott “Mo” Morrison added, “Just being there, seeing this community together with a shared purpose, helping each other, shows what we represent. This isn’t about one organization, this is about making sure our veterans have the right tools to be successful and provide a positive contribution in the workforce.”
After this successful workshop, Google Austin and Operation Supply Drop will continue to host these events each quarter in Austin as well as explore growth into other markets. To find out about future workshops with Google and other corporate partners, be sure to like Operation Supply Drop on Facebook.
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