Pa. pitches in to help vets find jobs

    With the official conclusion of the Iraq War, officials have made much of Pennsylvania’s efforts to help returning military come back into the civilian workforce.

    The state’s Civil Service Commission held a recruiting event specifically for military veterans in December. About 150 people showed up for information and advice.

    One of the first steps is to get veterans to cut the shorthand out of their speech, said Pamela Needham, director of the Bureau of Employment Services at the commission.

    “Veterans tend to use military jargon a lot–acronyms, and things that you know a civilian recruiter may not be that familiar with, so we ask them to break it down, just explain, well, what does such a unit do,” she said. “Or, if they’re using an acronym, have them spell it out and explain what it means.”

    Her staff also advises veterans to check out an online skills translator.

    “A lot of them aren’t even aware of it, so we start with that,” Needham said. “And then we have a listing of typical military occupational titles and suggested commonwealth titles where there may be some transference of skills.”

    The commission enforces the state’s “veterans’ preference” law, which ensures that veterans who take civil service exams get 10 extra points for their military experience.

    Veterans get an additional hiring preference when they’re in the running with another job candidate who is otherwise equally qualified.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.