Veteran Success Stories
This Veterans Day, the Employment Development Department (EDD) is calling on employers across the state to do one of the best things to honor our brave veterans – hire them! Businesses can benefit from the skills, training, and experience of returning military men and women. Take a look at the stories below to find out from employers who have hired veterans why recruiting former members of the armed forces makes good business sense.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
As a company committed to providing reliable energy for the Sacramento area, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) equally commits to honoring the men and women who serve their country by empowering them with a career that shares the same traits valued in military service: integrity, leadership, community, and ingenuity.
In partnership with the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) and the EDD, SMUD hired eight veterans through the Veterans Employment-Related Assistance Program (VEAP). Participants completed a pre-apprenticeship training course, were provided case management services, and received help in preparing for job interviews.
One of those participants is Josh Vollman (pictured), who served in the U.S. Army for eight years and is now a SMUD Lineman Apprentice. During his military service, Josh operated a detainee holding area and had 14 months of deployment in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom, for which he received a commendation and achievement medal.
“Because of their experience in the military, veterans understand that safety and teamwork are paramount,” says Chris Capra, Public Information Specialist for SMUD. In addition, Capra adds, “The Veterans' Employment-Related Assistance Program (VEAP) has saved SMUD approximately $30,000 in recruiting and marketing costs per candidate.”
Lowe’s Home Improvement
San Joaquin County
When it comes to building a skilled workforce, Lowe’s Home Improvement knows best. As a military-friendly employer, Lowe’s conducts Military Job Fairs every three months, offers Military Differential Pay and Operation Care Packages, and tailors the workplace to fit the needs of service members, like in the case of Cris Sotolo (pictured). After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Cris was hired as a Load Puller at the Lowe’s store in Stockton.
Lowe’s was able to recruit Cris with the one-on-one recruitment assistance of the EDD's Employer Services and Veterans’ Services Program. Facilitated by the Local Veterans Employment Representative at the San Joaquin County Worknet America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM (AJCC), Cris was referred directly to Lowe’s for the Load Puller position based on his experience with the Marine Corps as a Military Driver. Lowe’s put Cris through the company program “Troops to Trucks” to help him obtain his Class A driver’s license.
Today, Lowe’s continues to recruit employees using the EDD’s Employer Services. “We have been using CalJOBSSM and EDD’s Employer Services for three years now. The unbelievable talent hired in our store is phenomenal and has been advantageous to our sales floor, sales, employee engagement, and our Lowe’s Family,” says Heidi Bush, Lowe’s Human Resource Manager. In total, Lowes has hired over 35 veterans at their Stockton location as a direct result of using the EDD’s Employer Services.
San Joaquin County
Because PRIDE Industries is a contractor with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), PRIDE employees must have the ability to work with a variety of people in stressful and challenging situations, as well as follow specific policies and procedures. PRIDE Industries finds that veterans bring with them a heightened sense of awareness, an attention to details, and extensive leadership experience, which allows them to navigate on-site job risks and follow strict prison protocol.
In order to recruit veterans, PRIDE Industries partners with the San Joaquin County Worknet AJCC. Utilizing EDD services helps PRIDE Industries expedite and streamline their successful 60-day, 180-job requirement start-up, resulting in thousands of dollars in savings for recruiting, marketing, and office space usage. One example of a successful recruit is veteran Elizabeth Manske (pictured), who was recruited by PRIDE Industries for an Environmental Services Technician position at the CDCR.
"Veterans bring a unique work ethic and problem-solving skills to the workplace, yet only recently have employers begun to recognize the value of hiring veterans and veterans with disabilities,” says Elizabeth Manske, Environmental Services Technician. “I was connected with PRIDE through the VetNet Services at the EDD. Knowing that PRIDE's mission is to create jobs for people with disabilities allows me to focus more on work and less on how my employer might view me.”
City of Bakersfield
For public safety, the City of Bakersfield is committed to hiring candidates who work well under high stress situations, are adaptable to a diverse environment, show leadership skills, and have a respect for policies and procedures. These are the types of skills that service members and veterans acquire while serving their country.
To find candidates with these skills, the City of Bakersfield partners with the California Employment Development Department’s (EDD) Veterans’ Services Program and posts open positions on EDD’s CalJOBS.
With the direct assistance of the EDD’s Veterans’ Services Program, the City of Bakersfield has been able to expand their recruitment by posting flyers at the Bakersfield AJCC announcing their Police Officer Written Examination Testing dates. City staff also attend the Veterans’ Transitional Services Workshops to share information about open positions, the city’s hiring process, and Veteran’s Preference Points, and to answer questions from veteran participants. The City of Bakersfield hires approximately 15 veterans per year to fill various positions throughout its workforce.
Bakersfield’s leading efforts in recruiting veterans and their strong partnership with the EDD were recognized this year. The City of Bakersfield received the 2016 California Employer Advisory Council Veteran’s Employer of the Year Award.
Lifton Institute for Media Arts & Sciences
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County
The training at the Lifton Institute for Media Arts & Sciences (LIMS) helps transition veterans' skills and experience into a hands-on scenario from day one – skills needed for film and television productions. Discipline, a strong work ethic, and an ability to forge a ‘family’ with teammates are traits that are invaluable for a successful entertainment production career, so veterans’ military training is a major asset in the competitive media industry.
With the support of the South Bay AJCC, LIMS was able to provide training at no cost to veterans wanting to pursue careers in the film and digital media industry. The EDD staff worked closely with LIMS to screen and interview candidates to determine their compatibility for positions. Using CalJOBS also led to many more candidates being interested in the training offered by LIMS.
LIMS is proud and honored to know that their actions help move veterans onto a new path, one that is financially rewarding and life altering.
Shoreline Construction Group
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County
At Shoreline Construction Group, a strong work ethic and punctuality are just two of the important attributes needed to be successful. To fill one of their positions, they contacted the Inglewood One-Stop Business and Career Center. With the one-on-one employer assistance provided, Shoreline Construction became aware of Robert Yoshikawa (pictured), a U.S. Navy veteran and program participant of the South Bay Workforce Investment Board and the EDD. Robert’s training and military background matched the specific needs for the position of Construction Technician.
“Military veterans are hired because of the value of the transition of skills learned while in the service,” says Steven Duddy, Owner/President of Shoreline Construction Group.
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County
In the petrochemical industry, the list of required skills and traits are very specific. For this reason, Brinderson fulfills its workforce needs by using the EDD's Employer Services for recruiting, prescreening, and training – especially when the company is interested in candidates with military backgrounds.
One example of a successful recruitment from the EDD to Brinderson is Rodney Garza, a U.S. Marine veteran. Rodney was hired for Brinderson’s Safety Technician position in Wilmington, California. With his military background, Rodney had the necessary professional safety traits and skills needed to work in an oil refinery setting. Other requirements involved having specific training and certifications, which he obtained through funding by the South Bay Workforce Investment Board and the Inglewood One-Stop Business and Career Center. There is also funding of certain pre-screening services and job-related training, which ensures that candidates have the required certifications in order to qualify for the job, which helped Rodney as well.
“Hiring veterans through the EDD for some of these positions has been ideal because of the traits of military service members that match the job duties of a safety professional in an oil refinery setting,” says Henry Zarate, Vice President of Health Safety and Environmental. “Brinderson is pleased with the caliber of veterans that have come through EDD, and will continue to utilize these programs going forward.”
Northwest Pipe Company
San Bernardino County
Manufacturing pipe is hard work and requires Northwest Pipe Company employees to follow important rules and procedures in order to ensure safety. These elements are some that veterans are familiar with, making them a good fit for the company’s positions. Northwest Pipe Company filled several laborer and production clerk positions with veterans in 2016.
The EDD assists the company with its recruitment needs, such as posting vacancies to CalJOBS or inviting the company to job fairs. Local EDD staff at the Victorville AJCC toured Northwest Pipe Company’s facility to gain a better understanding of the company’s operations. This gave EDD a better idea of what candidates will be doing before offering a job referral.
“Over the years some veterans have faced the tough transition of getting out of the military and adjusting to the civilian world,” said Jerica Hardin, Production Control Clerk.
“Many companies shy away from hiring former veterans and giving them a chance. At Northwest Pipe Company, not only has the company hired veterans, but they have made their workplace an ideal place for a veteran. Northwest Pipe Company has made me proud to be a veteran and work for this wonderful company.”
At SuperForm USA, finding and hiring employees with a maintenance background doesn’t always come easy. That’s why SuperForm USA takes action by using the EDD's Employer Services and CalJOBS to recruit employees.
One veteran’s background serving in the U.S. Air Force, with experience in helicopter maintenance, proved to be the perfect match for an Equipment Operator position at SuperForm USA.
Through its employment programs and services, the EDD assisted SuperForm USA with the company’s recruiting and training needs. Additionally, the EDD helped review résumés, set up interviews, and coordinate with training providers to tailor training specific to SuperForm USA’s internal training needs. As a result, the company used EDD resources to save thousands of dollars in training costs. Furthermore, SuperForm USA saved over $20,000 in training costs with the assistance of the On-the-Job Training Reimbursement Program.
“The EDD staff, the Riverside County Workforce Development Center, and CalJOBS have been instrumental in our ability to understand and use the programs available to employers in helping with recruiting and training needs,” says Angela Rayfield, Human Resources Manager at SuperForm USA.
Accutek Packaging Company
San Diego County
As a retired Marine First Sergeant, Warren Sublett knows firsthand the scope of military job skills and how they can be used in the civilian workforce. As the Corporate Production Manager at Accutek Packaging Company, Warren uses his military background and experience to reach out and hire other veterans. With help from the Local Veterans Employment Representatives at the Oceanside AJCC, Accutek Packaging Company is able to continuously recruit qualified veterans. The partnership between Accutek and the Oceanside AJCC is beneficial to both and caters to meeting the needs of veterans and the employer. Company tours are made available to those working with veterans so that they have a better understanding of the job demands and therefore are able to refer the best qualified candidates, including veterans.
“I have been working with the EDD from Oceanside so long I can’t remember how we met,” says Warren. “I use them for a good portion of my recruitment. All my veterans that were hired from EDD gave me one word to describe their experience with their EDD job hunt and their list included: reliable, fast, helpful, informative, knowledgeable, relentless, and great follow-up.”
Currently the company employs 22 veterans from four branches of service: U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, and U.S. Navy.