New Initiatives to Offer Job Opportunities to Veterans
By A Correspondent
The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, along with representatives from the True Patriot Love Foundation and the Canadian National Railway Company (CN), announced on December 12, two new initiatives to further support Veterans as they transition to civilian life. The first, the new Veterans Transition Advisory Council, will bring together industry leaders and government with the goal of helping Veterans transition into meaningful jobs in the private sector.
"Our Government is proud to work with corporate Canada to help Veterans successfully transition from military to civilian life," said Minister Blaney. "This announcement demonstrates that our Government is ensuring Canada's Veterans continue to prosper as they re-enter civilian life. By implementing this initiative and working together, we are ensuring that transitioning Veterans have opportunities for new and rewarding second careers."
Led by the True Patriot Love Foundation, the council will include representatives from leading national companies who will work to raise awareness of the skill sets Veterans have to offer to the private sector. The council will also provide strategic recommendations to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and to the broader private sector to improve the transition from military to civilian employment.
"True Patriot Love is proud to lead this important initiative for Canada," said Bronwen Evans, Managing Director of the True Patriot Love Foundation. "We have assembled a strong team of corporate champions who are committed to removing the systemic barriers so often faced by our Veterans in their transition to civilian employment."
True Patriot Love will host the inaugural meeting of the Veterans Transition Advisory Council during the first-ever Battlefield to Boardroom Conference in Toronto on January 29, 2013. The conference will see HR executives from corporate Canada gather to learn more about the value of military Veterans.
Minister Blaney also announced that his department has created a new way to connect Veterans with private sector job opportunities. Through the Jobs-Emplois initiative, corporations who have the desire to hire Veterans, like CN, will share employment opportunities with Veterans Affairs Canada who will ensure that Veterans hear about these positions.
CN has played an important leadership role in helping to bridge the gap between transitioning Veterans and corporate Canada, including being a member of the Veterans Transition Advisory Council, and expects to have 2,000 jobs available to Veterans in 2013.
"Veterans' commitment to teamwork, their feelings of pride and passion, and their sense of accountability are precisely the qualities we look for in prospective railroaders," said Keith Creel, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at CN, who is a former U.S. Army officer. "Rail is a backbone of the economy, moving the goods that people use and the merchandise that companies produce every day. A Veteran's ability to work in all types of conditions with a sense of urgency and leadership are skills that successful railroaders need."
"This is another good step in helping Veterans find work after their military career, along the same lines as Helmets to Hardhats," said Gord Jenkins, President of the NATO Veterans' Organization Canada.
These new initiatives build upon other work the Harper Government has undertaken to enhance opportunities for Veterans to transition to the civilian workforce, including the Helmets to Hardhats Canada initiative launched by Prime Minister Harper last January. They also complement transition programs offered by Veterans Affairs Canada, including the Rehabilitation Program and Career Transition Services. These programs help Veterans further enhance the leadership and job skills gained during their military career, and learn how to transfer these skills to the civilian workforce.
They also build upon the Veterans Transition Action Plan, recently launched by Minister Blaney, which consists of:
new measures from the Cutting Red Tape initiative; enhancements to the Department's delivery of services;
new opportunities for Veterans beginning post-military careers;
ground-breaking research into the real-life experiences and needs of releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel;
and building cultural awareness.
For more information on Veterans Affairs Canada's programs and services, visit veterans.gc.ca.