Archive for month: June, 2015


Hiring Veterans on Expert’s Corner

Silhouettes For Vets Founder Mark Brenner guest blogged on Read Marks blog on Expert’s Corner: Hiring Veterans — Preparing this talent pool for the workforce is critical.

By |May 1st, 2015|Department, Experts Corner, May 2015

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Expert’s Corner: Hiring Veterans

Unemployment among US military veterans is substantially higher than that of working age civilians. In Los Angeles County alone, there are more than 43,000 unemployed veterans.

At the same time, there are nearly 45,000 nonprofit organizations throughout the country that work with veterans. Thousands of these organizations are dedicated to helping veterans transition from military to civilian life with the end goal of attaining employment. This is the good news.

The bad news is, many of these organizations are interested in putting veterans to work in the civilian sector without consideration of a living wage — which does not solve the problem. In fact, the repercussions can be more severe than one realizes.

It can lead to these veterans needing to seek out government assistance, facing the reality of becoming homeless or possibly contemplating suicide. The suicide rate for veterans is staggering, and the number of homeless veterans is also unacceptable.

Given this backdrop, it’s not enough for companies to establish “veteran hiring initiatives.” Yes, if implemented properly, a veterans hiring initiative is a great step toward decreasing veteran unemployment. Unfortunately, the issue with these initiatives presents a two-fold dilemma: On the one hand, a great percentage of these initiatives are created because it is the “right thing to do.” But most importantly, it is not the first step needed to ensure that veterans are employed at a living wage.

Preparing veterans. Veterans are highly skilled people. It is up to the staffing industry to adapt its HR policies and take a deeper look at how the industry fills jobs. By revising its approach, agencies can have access to a pool of talent with unique and valuable skill sets.

What is critical in this process is helping veterans prepare for the job search and qualify for the position before being considered by the company. The first step, therefore, in transitioning veterans into the civilian workforce is to prepare them for it.

The military has contracted with companies to assist in the transition of returning vets. A point to remember is however, many of these programs cannot effectively prepare veterans for the workforce in a one- or two-day workshop.

To that end, there are many nonprofit veteran service organizations that supplement these transition workshops. Some assist with résumés or interviewing skills. My organization, Silhouettes for VETS, takes a one-onone customized approach to educate, prepare and coach veterans through the hiring cycle in order to get a viable job.

The process. Staffing companies can work with organizations that empower veterans to navigate the hiring cycle including transition to civilian life, identifying companies and skill sets, the creation of a résumé, time management and interviewing techniques. There are some programs that address some of these requirements and others provide one or two elements. Some programs, such as Silhouettes for VETs, also include ongoing support after the veteran has secured employment.

Collaborating with other nonprofit veteran service organization allows companies and staffing firms to resolve issues faced by transitioning veterans. Here are just a few: The Salvation Army Haven helps address veteran homelessness, The Soldiers Project works with veterans struggling to reintegrate from military to civilian life and National Veterans Transition Services assists veterans as they move from military life to civilian life.

The goal. It’s on all of us to help transitioning veterans find employment in the civilian workforce. Through collaboration and better understanding of this ecosystem, all parties — including staffing firms — can better help to reduce veteran unemployment, and in the process, poverty and homelessness. This is a great opportunity to help the country and your business.



sfv_portrait_mark_brenner-1In the past 18 months Silhouettes for VETS has become a driving force in working with Veterans as they search for a job. Our Programs that educates, coaches and prepares Veterans for the workforce has resulted in an 80% success rate – 80% of the Veterans we have coached have gained an understanding of the hiring cycle and been offered employment. Not just a job but also a career as each of the Veterans who have completed our 10-Component Program is working in a position that is at or above a living wage.

Recently, Silhouettes for VETS has been featured in an interview on LATalkLive and received mention in a segment with one of our partners, Makeovers that Matter, on KTLA

And that is just the start for we are developing the outline for a one-hour radio call-in talk show that will feature Silhouettes for VETS, REBOOT and Makeovers that Matter. We all agree that it is time that we create a positive media image for Veterans who transitioning and are getting “job ready” – preparing each Veteran in every way for the workforce. Move to follow on our progress.

As I mentioned in a previous Blog, the synergy created by the partnership of REBOOT, Silhouettes for VETS and Makeovers that Matter is the entire package for Veterans who are transitioning from the military. This collaboration covers every aspect of transitioning Veterans so once the Programs are completed each Veteran will be “job ready”!

Silhouettes for VETS has also made some very important additions to our Board of Directors. In recent months we have added 7 new members who will be instrumental in our successes in the coming months. Along with our current members, Mark Brenner, Dennis Forst and Marvin Rapaport, MD, I am proud to welcome the following new Board Members:

  1. Anthony Cuculo, Major General (Ret)
  2. Stuart Gross, Retired TV Producer and M&A and Branding Expert
  3. Maurice Wilson, President of NVTSI (REBOOT)
  4. Melissa Metz, Director of Human Resources for Exelis Inc.
  5. Kelly Logan, Executive Director of Silhouettes for VETS
  6. Nancy Butler, Fundraising Expert
  7. Sari Drucker, Business Woman and Owner

A Board meeting with all our Directors will be held on Friday June 19, 2015 at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall at 9 am.

Silhouettes for VETS has been asked by The Chamber of Commerce – Hire our Hero’s Program to present our 10 Component Program to three military installations throughout the United States. We are excited for this opportunity to work with more Veterans as they transition to civilian life.

Stay tuned as we are producing a series of Videos that will run our Website and Facebook pages. These Videos will include testimonials from a few of our Veterans along with an introduction to our programs.

We have come a long way in a very short period of time – and this is just the beginning. Once fully funded, Silhouettes for VETS will be expanding throughout California so we can have a greater impact on decreasing Veteran unemployment…One Veteran at a time.

And of course, our efforts need your support. You donations will help us increase the number of Veterans we serve and expand our coaching capabilities. Donations start at $25.00. Thank you for your support