West Michigan Works! expands access to veteran job club

The event is designed to help veterans connect with veteran-focused community organizations, other veterans and employers. Courtesy West Michigan Works!

The region’s workforce development agency is moving its Veterans Networking Job Club (VNJC) to a virtual platform and casting a wider net.

West Michigan Works! said it expanded the VNJC event to include the seven-county region serviced by the workforce development agency. Veterans in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties, as well as employers and organizations offering veteran-specific resources in those counties, are invited to participate.

The VNJC event recently shifted to a virtual platform to increase access and limit the spread of the COVID-19.

The job club occurs on the third Thursday of each month from 10-11 a.m. on the Microsoft Teams platform. Attendees don’t need to have Teams to participate. Participants with internet access can connect by video on a computer or smartphone. Participants without internet access can join by phone.

The event is designed to help veterans connect with veteran-focused community organizations, other veterans and employers.

“This is a one-of-a-kind virtual networking opportunity for veterans to highlight the unique skills they possess and how their skills transfer to civilian employment,” said John Walker, business solutions representative at West Michigan Works!, who organizes the VNJC. “The event allows veterans to engage with hiring managers and gain valuable career assistance, referrals and connections.”

Employers participating July 16 include Metro Health-University of Michigan Health, Hutchinson Antivibration Systems, Superior Stone Products, Dean Transportation, Ritsema Associates, Skytron and Amphenol Borisch Technologies.

“As a military and defense contract manufacturer, (Amphenol Borisch Technologies, or ABT) serves an important purpose to support those who serve,” said Katie Butler, HR business partner at ABT, a participant in July’s event. “As part of this purpose, we have looked inside of our organization to evaluate how we can better support our internal team of veterans, as well as supporting veterans new to the civilian workforce looking for career opportunities.”

The Veterans Networking Job Club is presented in partnership with Disability Advocates, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Michigan Veterans’ Employment Services, Volunteers of American and West Michigan Veterans Coalition.

Interested veterans, employers and veteran-focused organizations can register online at vnjc.org.

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