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The RMMS Story

Local Veterans Form Company to Aid with Military to Civilian Transition

Earlier this year, Washington, DC made the Forbes list of 10 best cities to find a job. Although DC does have a strong military and government presence, its high cost of living and extreme traffic conditions is a deterrent for service members transitioning from the military. Statistics from a Families & Work Institute (FWI) blog show that unemployment for veterans was 4 points above the national average in 2011. A 2010 study showed that only 40.5% of veterans felt that were well prepared to enter the civilian job market. These statistics are alarming for veterans as they have had a steady paycheck, housing and medical care provided while they were on active duty. Once they begin to transition, their ability to maintain that type of consistency and support becomes a stressful experience.

RecognizeMyMililtarySkills (RMMS LLC) is owned by two veterans in the DC metro area and was created to assist their fellow service members with their transition from military life to civilian life. RMMS focuses on successful retirement, not just obtaining a job. Their program provides a network of veterans, recruiters and corporations to help mentor service members with their transition. The mentor network provides professional services and focuses on developing long and short term financial plans that will ultimately lead to a successful retirement.

Although based in the Washington DC metro area, RMMS focuses on veterans worldwide. They are Internet based, and offer a unique home study course in the missing elements from their own transition. The service also provides access to professional life coaches, financial planners, talent recruiters, webinars, blogs, newsletters, and an enormous support network. They have fifteen areas of focus called “mentor communities” that range from Food Service to Intelligence Analysts. A breakdown of the communities can be found on their website. Additionally RMMS forms strategic partnerships with other businesses that offer veterans services from tax planning to executive coaching.

Although the military does provide transitional assistance to service members, the owners of RMMS realized that during their transition, they could have been better prepared with more personalized attention and guidance. These two veteran owners have contributed their personal funds to a business that will give other veterans what they wish they had when they transitioned from the military to the civilian workforce.


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GOP Cut Veterans Job Bill: How Vets Became the Latest Casualty in the War Against Obama

From Policy Mic

by Jeff Danovich

Dear Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, and the 45 other United States Senators who thought it was more important to score political points than to do the right thing,

On behalf of veterans throughout the country.

$%&! You.


Me and the millions of other veterans who dedicated their lives to keeping our country safe and just simply want to work once they come home from Afghanistan.

In all seriousness, how could members of the Senate throw veterans under the proverbial bus? Easy, one particular member of the Executive Branch supports the Veterans Job Corps, which would provide training for returning veterans to become police officers, firefighters, and National Park Rangers. For the past three and a half years, Republican members of both houses of Congress have made it their number one priority to block any of President Barack Obama’s initiatives. The veterans who have served this country with honor and distinction are just the latest victims of political grandstanding. As Veterans for Common Sense, Patrick Bellon says, “They (the 47 members of the Senate who blocked this bill) put party before country. They clearly do not care as much about the troops as they care about politics.”



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Former Army General Explains Why The US Is Failing To Employ Its Veterans

It’s well documented that unemployment for our military veterans is disproportionately high.

According to some estimates, nearly a third of our youngest veterans returning from combat and serving our nation can’t find work, which is considerably higher than their non-veteran peers.

The question that all of us ask is “why?”

While veteran populations are disproportionately under-employed, they’re also disproportionately qualified for our most in-demand roles. So it raises questions about what systematic differences are present in this community that put these more qualified workers in a less marketable position.

I believe these differences are both structural and cultural.

The US Department of Defense has the most effective large-scale training program in the world. It’s unmatched in its ability to develop men and women with the Values, discipline and skills necessary to protect our national interests at home and abroad. Our military academies, ROTC programs, basic training, and post-graduate programs cultivate world-class skills for our women and men in combat and personnel supporting the largest-scale operations on the planet.

While it prepares men and women for warfare, the Department of Defense doesn’t cultivate the networking and relationship skills necessary to empower careers within the military and in post-military civilian lives. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Department of Labor lend support to this cause, but generally in the form of tactical programs and job fairs. They don’t inculcate networking and professional development into the cultures of service men and women.

In the civilian world, tools like LinkedIn have transformed professional networking. But they haven’t translated to the unique culture of the military, which is specialized and proprietary. We’re generally not comfortable sharing our assignments, skills, accomplishments and relationships with the broader universe beyond our community. We’re trained to operate with discretion and live the value of selfless service.

So it’s no surprise that a fraction of our military is currently using LinkedIn.


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Is stigma against servicemembers hindering hiring?

From Stars and Stripes


With all the ribbons, flags and bumper stickers, Americans may think their service members are being treated with respect. But Iowa Workforce Development’s IowaWorks warns there is an area where our nation is falling short: the hiring of veterans.

J.R. Beamer, a veterans representative who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, says amongst veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unemployment is more than 10 percent higher than it is in the civilian population.

“It shocks me in one way and doesn’t surprise me in another,” said Wapello County Supervisor Greg Kenning, a former member of the National Guard.

He said he understands employers want good employees who are going to be there for the company, but they need to open their eyes.

“It disappoints me that we’d have a veteran who couldn’t get a chance, even,” he said.

And that is what’s happening in some cases, said Linda Rouse, the operations director at the Ottumwa office of IowaWorks.

However, she said, a state and private business partnership is now assisting in a program to help change attitudes among employers.

Rouse said Principal Financial Group has started a program called “Hire our Heroes.” The idea is to educate other employers about the benefits of hiring veterans.

Beamer said Principal is one of the companies that gets an “A” where veterans are concerned. The “Hire our Heroes” program comes with educational material that Beamer said reasons employers give for actively avoiding hiring former combatants include fear they’ll suddenly be deployed again, that they’ll be using incomprehensible military jargon or that a combat vet will suddenly become violent due to post traumatic stress disorder.

Beamer said many of the reasons are based on partial truths. But it’s also true that many challenges can be overcome — and that “it’s worth it to the employer [due to] what veterans have to offer.”

“[Ignorance about PTSD] really stigmatized all the services,” said Kenning. “It’s a disease we don’t know enough about.”


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Employment Restrictions After Leaving the Military

Post Government (Military) Service Employment Restriction Counseling should be completed during the transition process.   You will be informed about this requirement when completing your DD Form 2648, “Pre-Separation Counseling Checklist.”
 Post government (military) employment restriction information will be provided by the Military Services as appropriate. Transition/Command Career Counselors shall refer separating and retiring Service members to an installation legal office (Staff Judge Advocate or Counselor's Office) to ensure they receive a post government (military) employment restrictions briefing, counseling or appropriate information from an ethics official.   
Additional information about employment restrictions after leaving the military is provided below.
Personal Lifetime Ban
SIMPLIFIED RULE: After you leave Government service, you may not represent someone else to the Government regarding particular matters that you worked on while in Government service.
RULE: Former service members may not knowingly make a communication or appearance on behalf of any other person, with the intent to influence, before any officer or employee of any Federal agency or court in connection with a particular matter in which the officer or employee personally and substantially participated, which involved a specific party at the time of the participation and representation, and in which the U.S. is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. (18 U.S.C. 207(a) (1))  This rule does not apply to former military enlisted personnel.
Official Responsibility 2 Year Ban
SIMPLIFIED RULE: For 2 years after leaving Government service, you may not represent someone else to the Government regarding particular matters that you did not work on yourself, but were pending under your responsibility during your last year of Government service.
RULE: For a period of 2 years after termination of Government service, former Government officers and employees may not knowingly make a communication or appearance on behalf of any other person, with the intent to influence, before any officer or employee of any Federal agency or court, in connection with a particular matter which the employee reasonably should have known was actually pending under his or her official responsibility within 1 year before the employee left Government service, which involved a specific party at that time, and in which the U.S. is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. (18 U.S.C. 207(a) (2)) (This rule does not apply to former military enlisted personnel.)

Job-seeking veterans get help developing ‘personal brand’

Washington (CNN) – Veterans are getting a helping hand in developing their “personal brand” and hopefully raising their chances for employment.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will distribute Personal Branding guides to veterans as part of a new initiative to help more veterans secure civilian jobs. The initiative offers tips for vets to compete against other job-seekers.

“You need to talk about your military experience in terms that employers will understand, and not just about your military occupation and not just about the intangibles. Talk about your leadership experience, talk about the fact that you work well in team, talk about your incredible work ethic,” said Kevin Schmiegel, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The new effort was announced at a job fair hosted at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, and is part of the chamber’s “Hiring Our Heroes” program launched last year. Job-seekers at the fair on Monday included veterans, military spouses and current Marines hoping to line up employment before the end of their duty.

The initiative could result in approximately 10% to 20% of veterans at the job getting hired by the 62 companies registered, according to Bryan Goettel, director of communications of the Hiring Our Heroes program.

“We got employers along with the veterans in the same room, and that’s a good start,” said former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to promote the new initiative. Meyer already has a calling card of note, he was the first living Marine to receive a Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.

“You get someone who is not in the military and I tell you ‘I’m a sniper’ and … what do you automatically think? You automatically think you should shoot a gun. Well, that’s only like 10% of the job. I’ve been to coach’s course, I learned how to teach, I learned how to use PowerPoint. I’ve been to sniper school, which briefs using PowerPoint,” said Meyer.

He believes his skills can easily translate to the civilian workforce. He currently is a construction worker, a speaker and the author of the book, “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War.”

Andria Johnson served in the Navy for 20 years, and since retiring has faced a tough time finding a job in her field. She said the new iniative could help her present her skills in a more appealing way to employers. Johnson said while in the Navy she was a multimedia manager and a recruiter

“It will help in really helping me to not only develop and realize some of the skills that I have already, but actually kind of put a footprint out there and help with networking,” said Johnson.



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Not Veterans of the Business World

Posted: 7:54 pm Thu, November 8, 2012
Patrick McCormack didn’t intend to become a business owner, but he did like to play the drums, and he was pretty handy at making his own.
Right out of high school, the Baltimore native enlisted in the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. After five years, he realized there was a market for his custom-made drums, and MapleWorks Drum Co. was born as a side business.
Twelve years — and several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan —later, McCormack is still running what he calls a stable, profitable business. His two employees are guys he met in the Army, and his only business know-how is the experience he gained on the battlefield.
“The military definitely sets you up for success,” the 30-year-old said. “Most people in the military are pretty productive people and can succeed in the economy. It’s not a bad thing to have the guy who’s the veteran come work for you.”
McCormack is among a burgeoning number of veterans who start their own businesses, although most do so after finishing active duty.
Some learned their trade before enlisting, while others revived long-neglected hobbies. Some serve the general public; others cater to fellow vets. Some strive to make a difference; others just need to pay the bills.
But across the board, these veteran entrepreneurs said their military service laid the groundwork for their strategy in business world. They learned how to finish the job they started, persevere through tough times and cooperate with a team, they said.
Sounds like a reliable soldier — and a successful business owner.
Small businesses are often touted as effective engines of economic growth, especially during a recession, and over the past several years, the state and federal government have introduced several initiatives to encourage veteran entrepreneurship, primarily financial incentives.
Alex van Breukelen, who spent 13 years of active duty in the Marine Corps., opened The Americana — a restaurant and bar in Canton — in June 2011 with the help of a federal Patriot Express Loan, which is geared toward veterans.
The loans feature the Small Business Administration’s interest rates, and the agency guarantees 85 percent of the loan, reducing the liability of the private bank that funds it. The SBA also expedites the processing of the loan.
Van Breukelen said although the SBA-backed loan was helpful in opening the restaurant, which now employs about 15 people in addition to him and his wife, Jennifer, he said he wished there were more resources available to him.
Although he said the restaurant’s revenue has increased every month since it opened and is on schedule budget-wise, he hasn’t broken even or been able to cut himself much of a paycheck.
“[My personal income] is pretty much nothing,” he said. “It’s been enough to pay for gas and cigarettes over the past year and a half.”
He said the military’s Transitional Assistance Program, which soldiers are required to complete upon exiting service, has been revamped to highlight entrepreneurship as a viable route for them to take.
“That would have been huge had I had those resources,” he said. “I would be leaps and bounds ahead of where I am now.”
As more than 1 million troops return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, efforts will likely accelerate, several people said. But for a handful of reasons, many of the initiatives have only been modestly successful, according to several veterans who own their own businesses.
The biggest issue, they said, is that many veterans aren’t aware what programs are available, or how to find and apply for them.
Securing loans or tax breaks can be a confusing, convoluted process that they said discourages would-be participants from following through.
McCormack, who is considered a service-disabled veteran, said he consulted with the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs about its no-interest business loan. Even though he was eligible, he passed on the loan, he said, partly because he decided not to expand MapleWorks Drum.
“When I was talking to the state, they were excited I was considering it, because they don’t get many people applying,” McCormack said. “To a lot of these guys, doing all the paperwork is intimidating.
“There’s plenty out there,” he continued. “It really comes down to if people take advantage of it.”
That’s part of the problem, though. The same qualities that make veterans successful business owners can also make them less likely to seek — or accept — assistance, several said.
“Most vets that want to get involved in business won’t accept a handout,” van Breukelen said. “We won’t always look for the easy way out.”
To eliminate the barriers to participation, van Breukelen said a local, grassroots approach is necessary. There are
large organizations and national listings of veteran-owned businesses, he said, but not specifically for those in Baltimore. He hopes to create a network of veterans who own businesses in the city who want to share advice, point out available resources and find potential partners.
“With the business world, it’s always going to be competitive,” van Breukelen said. “From talking to other business owners, there are some that are very close-lipped about what they’re doing, whereas most vets are more than happy to share what they know with other vets.”
To start, van Breukelen is hosting an informal meet-and-greet at The Americana on Friday, starting at 8 p.m.
Veterans comprise a solid portion of The Americana’s customer base, he said. There are more than 400 names in the restaurant’s veteran sign-in book, he said, adding that he hopes to involve as many of them as possible.
“The vets of our generation are going to be stepping back into the civilian world and are going to be the leaders,” he said. “I want to be able to start a solid base in Baltimore now, so that 15, 20 years down the road, we’re able to have a strong foundation of people that genuinely care about the city, the community and the country.”
Once he establishes an informal group of Baltimore veterans, they’ll try to coordinate with the established organizations, he said.
“The other organizations, like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion, are doing tremendous things, but unfortunately, they’re fairly antiquated,” he said. “They do have a lot of resources; I’m not trying to re-create the wheel.”
McCormack said he didn’t know of any similar meet-ups in his neck of the woods, but he’d be interested to find one.
The government’s greater emphasis on veteran-owned businesses is part of a larger trend that’s emerged over the past several years to improve their transition to civilian life.
“The military tries their best to make sure guys know what’s out there,” McCormack said. “In the last five years, there’s been a huge, huge push for veterans to know their rights.”

Veteran volunteers enlist to fight unemployment


A new program kicked off this week that aims to reduce veteran unemployment by putting volunteers in 20 communities around the country.
Thirty volunteers, half of whom are veterans themselves, were sworn into the Veteran Leadership Corps on Tuesday during the Community Blueprint launch reception at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
An extension of AmeriCorps, the Veteran Leadership Corps will place volunteers in communities to connect veterans and their spouses with resources to help them reintegrate into civilian life. The Community Blueprint aims to provide a framework through which local communities will coordinate services between government, nonprofit and other organizations to improve the lives of veterans and their families.
“Local communities must be the cornerstone of any national program to reduce veteran and military spouse unemployment,” said Kevin Schmeigel, executive director of Hiring Our Heroes, an initiative of the Chamber of Commerce that helped draft the blueprint.
“The Community Blueprint is based on the notion that veterans can often reach out and help other veterans in ways that others cannot,” said Stephanie Weiss, the chief marketing officer for Points of Light, a non-profit organization focused on volunteer services.
Points of Light leads a coalition of more than 55 non-profit and government organizations in implementing the plan. Hiring Our Heroes helped draft the blueprint’s sections dealing with employment.
“If they don’t walk away with a job, we want to make sure they’re better prepared for the next opportunity,” said Army veteran Ross Cohen, Hiring Our Heroes’ senior director of programs.
In addition to employment, the Community Blueprint seeks to connect veterans with housing, education and health care.
“When I transitioned out, I didn’t understand how much it was going to be in terms of medical costs,” former Petty Officer 2nd Class Elizabeth Perez said. Services that Perez was used to receiving in the military were no longer provided when she left the Navy in 2006 after nine years in uniform.
“In the military, everything is structured. You have one place to get that information,” Perez said. “And when you come out you don’t have that same kind of structure.”
Perez, a newly sworn member of the Veteran Leadership Corps, will serve as a veteran advisor with Vets First in San Diego.
Volunteering tends to keep job seekers motivated, Cohen said. “When a veteran continues to serve, they report higher rates of successful reintegration,” he said, citing a 2010 Civic Enterprises report.
Hiring Our Heroes also conducts workshops to help veterans and their spouses translate volunteer experiences into marketable resume skills.
 Points of Light also lists resources on its website to reach veterans not included in the initial service areas.
“We hope to expand to 200 communities by 2014,” Weiss said in an email.

Veterans Jobs Bill Pushed to Help Some Senate Democrats

A U.S. Senate vote on a bill to create a job program for military veterans is designed to help Florida Democrat Bill Nelson tout his efforts for the state’s 1.7 million veterans as he seeks a third term.

The Democratic-led Senate will hold a procedural vote today on the measure, sponsored by Nelson. It would authorize $1 billion in spending through 2017 to help veterans find work as police officers and firefighters, and in conservation, historic preservation and national park projects.

“These veterans are so well-trained and have specialties and disciplines,” the Tampa Bay Business Journal quoted Nelson as saying at a Sept. 8 campaign rally in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The veterans job corps legislation, based on a proposal in President Barack Obama’s Jan. 24 State of the Union address, is the latest example of Senate leaders advancing an Obama-backed bill championed by a Democrat seeking re-election. Senate Democrats are defending 23 seats in November compared with 10 for Republicans.

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, the top Republican on the Veterans Affairs Committee, called the proposal “disingenuous” because it wouldn’t lead to long-term employment.

Instead of achieving Obama’s objective of creating career paths for returning veterans, Burr said the Democratic proposal would “create 20,000 temporary jobs.” He said he would offer an amendment that would work within federal agencies to create incentives for hiring veterans.

‘Purely Political’

If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, doesn’t allow amendments, “then we know this is purely political,” Burr said.

Reid has scheduled other Senate votes to aid members seeking re-election. The chamber voted July 19 on a proposal by Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow that would make it harder for companies to move jobs out of the U.S. and easier to bring jobs here. Stabenow is seeking a third term.

Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, who is running for a second term, was the lead sponsor of a bill the Senate voted on April 16 that would have put in place the so-called “Buffett rule,” setting a minimum 30 percent federal tax rate for the nation’s highest earners.


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Veteran Employment Situation Report for August 2012

Welcome to the VetJobs Veteran Employment Situation Report covering August 2012. This report will be in three parts. The first will summarize the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the labor market, the second covers where the jobs were created, meaning where the best chance of finding employment may be, and the third covers the employment situation in the veteran market.

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DOL reports that job growth slowed sharply in August. As the economist Bruce Steinberg says in his Tea Leaf report, "With a 0.2% drop in the unemployment rate but rather anemic job growth numbers, this month's employment report will provide fodder for both political parties to say their policies are the ones needed for this economy and the other party's policies are failing."

Total nonfarm payrolls increased by 96,000, lower than the 125,000 gain expected by Wall Street economists. Adding to the sense of weakness, job growth in the past two months was revised down by 41,000. The unemployment rate unexpectedly declined to 8.1% in August from 8.3% in the previous month but the drop was due to a smaller labor force. Economists forecast the future unemployment rate to hold steady at 8.3% and other economists say the real unemployment rate would be around 11% if all the "dropouts" were added back in.

DOL reports the number of unemployed persons in the United States was little changed at 12.5 million. However, when you consider all forms of unemployment the total is closer to 23,000,000 unemployed people.

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DOL reports that job growth slowed sharply in August. As the economist Bruce Steinberg says in his Tea Leaf report, "With a 0.2% drop in the unemployment rate but rather anemic job growth numbers, this month's employment report will provide fodder for both political parties to say their policies are the ones needed for this economy and the other party's policies are failing."

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