Starting a new career can be overwhelming and for veterans making the transition it can be even more difficult.
For the veteran community, it could be returning to work after making the shift home due to the pandemic or the difficulty of finding the right fit for a particular skill set.
Sun Cities veterans and military spouses are invited to take part in a unique networking opportunity. The Virtual Vet Talks Business Networking and Career Event for Veterans will take place 9:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 11. The event is free and open to the military, veteran community and their families.
During the virtual event, individuals will have the opportunity to meet with more than 20 Arizona-based military-friendly companies that are currently hiring, including Axon, Deloitte, Freedom Financial Network, GoDaddy, Habitat for Humanity, Liberty Mutual, Ring, Spear Education, USAA, Voya Financial and many more.
Several veteran resource groups and military-focused community organizations will also be participating in the virtual event, including Recruit Military, Heal the Hero Foundation and Birdies for the Brave.
A local company specializing in workplace culture and employer branding, BestCompaniesAZ, 3335 E. Baseline Road, Phoenix will host the event in partnership with Career Connectors, 3317 S. Higley Road, Gilbert. According to information on the website bestcompaniesaz.com, the company is best known for establishing large-scale workplace awards programs and events, including the Best Places to Work in the Valley, Arizona’s Most Admired Companies, Top Companies to Work for in Arizona and several large-scale events designed to support Arizona veterans and spouses and diversity and inclusion. The AARP.org website stated initial job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic hit older workers harder. Between March and April 2020, 10.9% of older workers fell into unemployment, compared to 8.9% of workers ages 35-54. Additionally, unemployed older adults were rehired more slowly. Between April and September 2020, on average 28% of older job seekers found employment each month, compared with 32% of mid-career employees.
“This event typically attracts veterans and military spouses that are currently employed but looking for that next step in their civilian career with a company that values their military experience and background. And with more people unemployed right now due to COVID hitting last year, this could be the perfect event to get re-employed quickly with a veteran-committed employer,” Denise Gredler, BestCompaniesAZ CEO, said.
She added the event will kick off with five mini Ted Talk speakers, sharing personal stories of transition from military to civilian life in the work force and how this specific background helped advance a career. Afterwards, 12 companies will give two-minute overviews and then the virtual rooms will open for participants to visit and network with hiring companies. The current openings at each company are posted on the BestCompaniesAZ website, bestcompaniesaz.com/veteran-careers/.
Liberty Mutual Insurance, 14050 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria will be a participant in the networking event. John Walter, Liberty Mutual sales director, spent the last 26 years working for the company and is also a veteran. While the job market looks different after employees were let go due to the pandemic and some chose to leave due to health and safety, Mr. Walter said age is strictly a number. While choosing employees to hire, Liberty Mutual looks for people with the right drive, desire and attitude, which he said veterans have.
“They have overcome obstacles and that sets them apart in a different segment that makes them desirable and a top notch desire as an potential employee,” he explained.
Mr. Walter said the importance of having a cross generational team as that elicits more production and generates greater results. He added at Liberty Mutual key components with the company include diversity, equity and inclusion.
NaTisha Lewis, Sonora Quest Laboratories recruiter, based out of Peoria will also participate in the networking event and said the company understands veterans are trained professionals who value teamwork, accountability and performance, and these qualities are highly valued by Sonora Quest Laboratories as well.
“As the nation’s largest integrated laboratory, there are many different career opportunities available that our veterans may be interested in. From entry level positions, to leadership positions, and everything in between. We have a lot to offer,” she explained. “It is never too late to change careers. If you decide to take that chance, you may just find something that is a perfect fit for you.”
The free event is an opportunity for veterans looking for work and those who already have a job and are looking for a career change or ready to take the next steps.
Event attendees can also set up one-on-one virtual discussions with military recruiters, hiring managers, military-committed organizations and fellow business professionals to learn more about career opportunities available along with veteran-focused career advancement advice and employment guidance.
Registration for the event is required. Visit MilitaryAZ.org to register and learn more about the hiring companies and job positions available.
Reporter Jennifer Jimenez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @SCW_Independent.