Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Meeting Veterans' Employment Needs: Services Available through the Public Workforce System

Friday, November 13, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mark Strayer, Linda Rosenberg, Stephanie Boraas and Grace Roemer, Mathematica Policy Research
As thousands of military veterans return from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and seek to enter the civilian labor market, providing effective employment and training services to veterans is becoming increasingly important. These returning veterans have developed skills and experience in the military that employers outside of the military may not fully understand. Many veterans also have service-related physical and mental health disabilities that create employment barriers. Through support provided by the public workforce system in American Job Centers (AJCs, formerly known as “One-Stop Career Centers”), veterans can receive assistance in overcoming barriers to obtaining civilian jobs and in translating their skills for these jobs.

This paper describes the veterans who accessed services at AJCs and the services they received. It draws primarily on findings from a study conducted as part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)–funded Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs Gold Standard Evaluation (WIA Gold Standard Evaluation) in 28 randomly selected Local Workforce Investment Areas (local areas). For this study, we collected qualitative and quantitative data on employment services provided to veterans in all 28 local areas participating in the WIA Gold Standard Evaluation. Veteran customers can receive services from staff funded through states’ Jobs for Veterans State Grants and located in local areas’ AJCs, as well as by staff providing services through the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker programs and Wagner-Peyser Employment Services. The paper also draws on findings from a study for DOL that assessed the provision of priority of service to veterans and other covered persons in AJCs.

We found that the majority of veterans who entered AJCs received some services from WIA or Wagner-Peyser Employment Services staff. Some veterans received more targeted services from the Jobs for Veterans State Grant staff. Compared to customers who were not veterans, we found that veterans received more job search assistance and intensive services. Customers who were veterans were also older, more likely to be white, disabled, and have a somewhat higher level of education than their nonveteran counterparts.

According to local area staff, one of the most important services that they provided to veterans was helping them to translate their military skills and work experiences for available jobs in the civilian labor market. Staff who worked with veterans often used available tools, such as O*NET to help with the translation, but the Jobs for Veterans State Grant staff, who were typically veterans themselves, could also rely on their own experiences. Other veteran-focused services included: (1) providing priority of service through management information systems, such as providing veterans with an advanced view of new job openings, and (2) reaching out to employers on the advantages of hiring veterans.