FALLS CHURCH, Va. (March 27, 2017) – Grinding away at the job hunt does not always have to be a daunting task. Sometimes it can be as comfortable as lunch with friends. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans recently gathered in Falls Church and discussed the benefits of WWP’s career counseling program. While learning about successful tools to take into the civilian career world, injured veterans experienced what is possible at social events that get them connected with their service brothers and sisters and committed to their healthy transitions to civilian life.
Veterans and guests learned about the valuable resources available to them through the veteran employment program. Services include job placement, resume assistance, interview coaching, and professional networking. In addition to helping veterans map a career blueprint with attainable goals, career counseling staff can show them how to effectively highlight their military experience. Hiring veterans in the civilian workforce gives organizations highly coachable team players with specialized skill sets, who are an asset to any team.
“I have been retired for two years and am now strongly considering my employment options,” said Air Force veteran Yong Saporito. “The job market has left me feeling somewhat lost, so I decided attending a Wounded Warrior Project career event would be helpful. Peer support and resume recommendations are essential for warriors like me.”
WWP’s career counseling is more than just a source of manpower for organizations that want to enhance their teams with veterans. It educates potential employers about combat-related injuries and reasonable accommodations. This is key for developing a long-lasting relationship throughout employment. The program creates a bridge of understanding between veterans seeking a foothold in the civilian working world and organizations looking to employ those instilled with the work ethic and sense of duty the military provides.
Yong said she felt a certain level of apprehension because she did not know anyone. With WWP events specially tailored to accommodate physical injuries and social anxieties, that feeling did not last long.
“The warriors and staff members made me feel comfortable and very welcome within the first few minutes,” she said. “Meeting other service members, listening to their stories, and hearing of their struggles made me feel less alone.”
These connection activities support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the bonds experienced during military service. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow veterans to address their mental health issues.
“I use a wheelchair, and in addition to not being able to use my legs, I have a number of medical issues that restrict what I can do physically,” said Navy veteran Kenneth Coppage. “These events give me an opportunity to get out of the house and connect with real people who have had similar life experiences. It might seem odd to someone who hasn’t been stuck in bed for months on end, but going to these outings gives me hope.”
In addition to career counseling, staff members advised warriors of additional services to assist in their recovery processes. Thanks to generous donors, WWP programs and services are offered free of charge to warriors, their caregivers, and families, and they assist with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, connecting warriors with one another and their communities, and long-term care for the most seriously wounded.
“I am enrolled in Wounded Warrior Project’s Independence Program, which has opened up many resources, including a community support specialist who helps me do things I cannot do alone,” Kenneth said. “It has had a very positive impact on me and my family.”
Kenneth said he encourages his fellow veterans to reach out to WWP if they have not done so already.
“By keeping an open mind and reaching out, veterans can gain opportunities to network on both a personal and professional level,” he said. “And there is always an opportunity to mentor others who might be coping with significant challenges.”
Warriors can access beneficial career counseling guides online, including financial planning assistance and tips on managing expectations when attending civilian job fairs. When a warrior connects with a program specialist, more in-depth help is available.
To learn more about how WWP’s programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
Contact: Rob Louis – Public Relations
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.