Leaving homelessness for a job and a permanent home can be challenging. Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Programs (HVRPs) operate under the principle that in addition to a home, veterans need the income to maintain that home and to meet their personal needs. The staff at every HVRP is dedicated to helping veterans prepare for and secure a good job that matches the veterans’ interests, abilities, and needs. The employment focus of HVRP distinguishes it from most other programs for people experiencing homelessness. Although staff focus on job searching and securing employment, they also offer supportive services to ensure that veterans have shelter and a pathway to permanent housing.
HVRPs are not located in every community, but you can find out whether one is located near you by looking at our HVRP map. Call the HVRP nearest you and ask them for assistance.
HVRPs are prepared to enroll job-ready veterans whose goal it is to work full- or part-time. If you are uncertain about the kind of work you want to do or what jobs you may be qualified for, HVRP staff will help you identify a job goal. Once enrolled in HVRP, you will be assisted by an employment specialist. Employment specialists routinely help veterans access job training, search for jobs, prepare for job interviews, and retain employment.
Keeping Up the Good Work is an online course designed for participants in Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Programs (HVRPs). This free six-module course will help veterans enrolled in these programs not only focus on what it takes to keep a job, but also make a plan for staying employed.
Follow the tips below to make your job search a success.
Make a plan. A successful job search requires planning and time. When you’re transitioning from military to civilian life, your first need may be to earn money. Find out about any unemployment benefits you may qualify for. You may also think about temporary work as you keep searching for a long-term position.
Know your options. Learn about civilian careers that may use the training, skills, and experience you gained in the military. You can get advice about the best option for you at your local American Job Center.
Network, network, network. Talking to everyone you know is key.
Polish your resume. When you apply for a job, your resume is often the only information an employer has about you. Make sure your resume shows why you are right for the job.
Hunt deep for job leads. Use many methods to search for jobs. Explore job banks, job fairs, American Job Centers, and your personal network.
Brush up on your interview skills. Practice answering questions that you think the interviewer is likely to ask. Remember to keep you responses simple and to the point.
Veteran Success Stories are accounts of veterans who have benefited from the services offered by HVRPs. Every day, the staff in HVRPs across the nation provide supports and services to enable veterans to secure good jobs and stable, permanent housing. These are the stories of men and women who served our Country, overcame challenges in their lives and left homelessness behind. We are proud of their success and thank them for their service!
There are a variety of programs that can provide training to homeless and at-risk veterans. These programs are offered by U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Education (DOE), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Here is a short list of, and links to, several major education and training programs for veterans.
The “G.I. Bill” was originally initiated as the “Montgomery G.I. Bill” after World War II and has been updated and amended many times since. Essentially, this term refers to a wide swath of VA educational benefits for service members and veterans obtaining training, education, and college degrees. Depending on when veterans served, they may be entitled to tuition assistance, stipends, and other educational assistance. Most service members who served after September 11, 2001, are eligible for the “Post 9/11 G.I.” The eligibility criteria can be found here:
Those who served before 9/11, or were Reservists or members of a Guard component, may be eligible under different versions of the Bill, which are found here: http://www.benefits.va.gov
Veterans Upward Bound is a DOE program that helps veterans obtain the necessary scholastic skills to enter college. The program provides classes, tutoring, and exam assistance for veterans who are seeking entry into higher education. More information can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov
Veteran’s Employment and Training Service (VETS) is a subdivision of DOL that helps veterans get the training and support they need to transition into civilian life. It also acts as a liaison between employers looking to hire veterans and veterans looking for work. The National Veterans' Technical Assistance Center (NVTAC) and Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP), as well as state and county workforce centers veteran programs, are all funded through DOL-VETS. More information is at: http://www.dol.gov
Veteran’s Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) is a program that provides education assistance for veterans who have paid into the system while on active duty. The government matches what the service member pays into this system on a 2-to-1 ratio. More information and eligibility information is available at: http://www.benefits.va.gov
The VA Apprenticeship and OJT programs are designed to enhance the earning power of veterans by providing direct training from employers. They typically involve a training contract between the employer and the veteran. Depending on what types of positions are in demand, and what employers are participating, this a great program for veterans looking to get into a new field. More information on employers and types of apprenticeships can be found here: http://www.benefits.va.gov
State Vocational Rehabilitation programs (sometimes refer to as “Voc Rehab”), vary by state, but generally provide qualified disabled (and sometimes dislocated) workers training and placement into a new job sector. A state-by-state listing of agencies is found here: http://askjan.org
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the newly reauthorized program formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The WIOA program helps dislocated workers and workers with certain barriers with training and job placement services. This program is typically accessed through state and county workforce centers / American Job Centers. More information is found here: http://www.doleta.gov
Many states have their own Veteran’s Benefits Programs. These vary by each state, but many have additional education benefits beyond what is offered from federal programs. A comprehensive state directory is located here: http://www.military.com
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a veteran-specific program designed to educate and facilitate small business development for former service members. They can help veterans do the necessary business development, market research, finances, and other steps needed to start a business. They can also help veterans get low-interest loans to start businesses and help existing veteran-owned businesses grow. Find out what services they have and how to get started at the SBA veterans' portal at:
These are only a few of the federal, state, and county programs that can help veterans get trained into new job fields. There are also a variety of local programs, depending on where a veteran is located. Many times there are work-related training opportunities based on industry-specific needs, employer-funded training programs, and other novel programs that cater to veterans looking for employment.
Wells Fargo Call Center in Salem, OR, has been an avid supporter of the Easter Seals Oregon HVRP. Over the past 2 years, Wells Fargo and Easter Seals representatives have built a very strong working relationship that has effectively changed the lives of many HVRP clients and veterans by giving them an opportunity to re-join the workforce. Since 2012, nine HVRP veterans have been hired by Wells Fargo.
Jodi Sagor, the Workforce Recruiter at Wells Fargo, has been an excellent employer contact who works diligently with the Salem HVRP grantee. She invited the newly hired employment developer to visit her office. Ms. Sagor provided an individual tour of the Wells Fargo Call Center facility and explained that the company had several open phone banker positions:
“As a phone banker, you have the opportunity to interact with customers and expand their banking relationship with us. This fast-paced and challenging role allows you to utilize your sales and communication abilities while working in a fun environment that offers excellent opportunities for advancement. This role begins with an excellent paid training program to get you up-to-speed on our banking products, services, systems, and procedures. Some job responsibilities include expanding customer relationships through consultative sales, handling incoming calls from Wells Fargo’s customers, promoting banking products and services to better meet the needs of our customers, solving complex problems with multiple software programs, being a part of a team that thrives in meeting goals, and ensuring top-notch customer service.”
The Wells Fargo interview process ensures that HVRP clients are interviewed one-on-one with a fellow veteran so they will feel as comfortable as possible. For any of the qualified candidates, HVRP staff send veterans’ resumes and Ms. Sagor personally reviews them. Not only does Ms. Sagor evaluate whether the veteran would be a good fit for the high-stress call center environment, but she also notes any errors that are on the resume to help veterans improve their job search with other companies. Wells Fargo has hired approximately nine HVRP clients at an average starting wage of $12.37/hour, and after a 90-day probation period, the wage increases to $13.86/hour with full benefits. The company is considered “veteran friendly” and very willing to hire with veterans into the fast-paced call center positions.
Frank, an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran, came to Father Bill & MainSpring’s (FBMS) Grant and Per Diem (GPD) housing and enrolled into HVRP. Frank’s barriers to employment include homelessness status, ongoing medical issues, lack of income, lack of access to private transportation, and lack of a reasonably developed skill that would lead to suitable and gainful employment within the limitations of existing disabilities. Initial services provided under HVRP included assistance with pending VA disability claim service-connected injury. He connected with the City of Brockton to obtain Massachusetts State Veterans’ Chapter 115 benefits to provide some income. Vocational counseling and job search assistance was provided by HVRP staff while Frank resolved medical issues and court appearances for outstanding child support. Frank was eager to return to part-time work, especially as his doctor supported this as the best current goal for Frank. Frank pursued several jobs in different fields, and with HVRP staff support became more comfortable interviewing. In August, the FBMS job developer had Frank apply for a position with a local hospital, Signature Health Care, an employer-partner with FBMS for the past 2 years. He started work in September and has reported to staff that he enjoys this job. Following his placement, the employer continues to work with the HVRP staff with a focus on ensuring Frank extends his job retention.
Johnnie, an honorably discharged U.S. Navy veteran who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan as a Navy Corpsman, originally entered MainSpring House after losing his dishwasher job and subsequently his housing. His barriers to employment included lack of any reasonably developed skills in the civilian world, and no steps taken to transfer military skills to a civilian career. He’s also negatively impacted by homelessness status, lack of income, and access to only public transportation. With HVRP staff guidance, Johnnie moved into FBMS’s Grant and Per Diem veterans’ housing, applied for service-connected disability due to a knee condition, applied for Massachusetts Veterans’ Chapter 115 income assistance benefits with the City of Brockton, investigated training in the medical field that would complement his Navy Military Occupation Specialty, and transferred his North Carolina driver’s license to Massachusetts so he could do 7-D License driving. After vocational counseling with staff and investigating a variety of career options, Johnnie accepted a position as a wheelchair van driver with a FBMS employer-partner VHS Transportation, Inc., a local transportation provider for individuals with special needs. FBMS has had a positive relationship with VHS for the past 4 years and values the connection and opportunities this partnership has opened for HVRP participants.
Bonitron is a local family business that was established early 1962. It manufactures industrial electronics. The Vice President of Operations, Mike Roof, is a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8). Mr. Roof found out about the local HVRP grantee Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN) through local job fair held in Nashville late summer 2014. Mr. Roof and one of his managers came to learn about OSDTN and its mission and goal. Before Mr. Roof left OSDTN, he gave the employment team job descriptions of three job areas in which he had openings. On August 5, 2014, OSDTN had a GI Job Jam. This is a hiring event where employers are invited to conduct on-the-spot interviews. Bonitron hired two homeless veterans that day. The veterans are excited about this second chance and the ability to use their knowledge skills and abilities to help the company grow, and achieve growth themselves.
Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vocational rehabilitation program that endeavors to match and support work ready veterans in competitive jobs, and to consult with business and industry regarding their specific employment needs. In some locations CWT is also known as Veterans Industries; these designations are synonymous.
It's deceptively easy to make mistakes on your resume and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. So prevention is critical, whether you're writing your first resume or revising it for a mid-career job search. Check out this resume guide to the most common pitfalls and how you can avoid them. Presenting a professional resume will help you impress a prospective employer. Here is a list of common errors to avoid.