Cracking the code: JobPath unlocks veteran career path

ORLANDO, Fla. — Thirty days from exiting the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe Pace found himself facing a range of emotions unlike any during his three tours in Iraq.

With a military occupation specialty in artillery, Pace had been in combat with multiple task forces during his career. But the prospect of leaving the military had him rattled.

“It’s definitely a range of emotions,” said Pace, who now works for a gas utility in New Jersey. “One part says maybe I should stay in and, in my case, there was my wife telling me to get out.”

With his military paycheck ending, Pace had to prepare to earn a living in the civilian world.

But how?

The options swirled in his head. Did he need to go to a job fair? Should he call a headhunter, or go to a staffing company? What about school?

“You run through all your options at about a million miles a minute,” he said.

It was at one of those hiring events that Pace ran into Jack Fanous, a civilian with a passion to get vets like Pace a job, and the creator of JobPath, based in Orlando.

NEED HITS HOME

Fanous had never served in the military but the death of a childhood friend thrust him into the military family like he never could have imagined.

It was February 2004 when U.S. Army Lt. Seth Dvorin sensed danger and ordered his convoy to stop while on patrol in Iraq. Eighteen soldiers were on the transport that day and heeded the New Jersey native’s orders, the last orders Dvorin would give before being instantly killed trying to defuse an IED up ahead.

Dvorin was among the first from his home state to lose his life in Iraq.

Fanous and others sought to preserve Dvorin’s memory by providing days of rest and relaxation through the GI Go Fund. The fund was created in 2006 to treat vets to a day out, going to a baseball or football game.

There was no relaxing for these heroes.

“All I heard about those first few games was unemployment, unemployment, can’t find a job, losing my house, can’t get health care – just one disaster after another,” Fanous said. “I was shocked, and I think most Americans would be shocked to hear how difficult it is for those in the military to find jobs.

“Truth be told, nobody really talks about it.”

Fanous understood vets needed opportunities more than anything else so he started YourJobPath.com.

READY TO SERVE, AGAIN

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the 573,000 unemployed veterans in 2014, 59 percent were age 45 and over. Thirty-seven percent were age 25 to 44, and four percent were age 18 to 24.

In 2014, 21.2 million men and women, or nine percent of the civilian non-institutional population age 18 and over, were veterans.

Fanous sees that as one heck of a labor pool that isn’t being fully tapped.

“Hiring veterans makes you a better company,” Fanous said. “Vets are extremely trainable, in fact, they are trained to be trainable. If all those things aren’t good enough vets do come with financial incentives.”

Tax credits and on-the-job training funding can reimburse up to one-half of a veteran employee’s salary, Fanous notes.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Fanous sees the problem as one of education. Hiring managers look for quantifiable skills and work history on a resume. All vets have is their nine-character MOS (military occupation specialty).

Through work with veterans like Pace, Fanous designed the Military Career Translator. The result was a formula that would interpret the MOS for hiring managers.

“It’s really going to make a big difference for a lot of guys coming out,” Pace said.

But JobPath goes a step further, including a training component. Veterans can log on from any device and complete specialized training in computers, presentations, bookkeeping and soft skills like disability sensitivity, conflict resolution and communication skills.

And one of the best features for veterans is that all of it is 100 percent free.

“It’s giving an opportunity for the veteran community to prove themselves and that’s what so many have said to me, ‘We’re vision oriented and mission driven. Show me my mission and tell me how to find a job and I’ll do it,’” Fanous said.

With the ability to upload discharge papers and resumes to JobPath’s permanent cloud, and even take skills courses before they separate, veterans finally have a tool they can use to enter the civilian work world.

Since forming the GI GO Fund, Fanous has also developed an extensive network of companies that understand the benefit of hiring veterans.

That’s why there are more than 20,000 job offerings on JobPath.

“I’m really very proud of being able to get the civilian community engaged in this conversation,” Fanous said. “Traditionally when it comes to serving veterans it’s always been vets serving vets. And that’s not good enough.

“I’m really proud of being able to reach out to the community, engage employers and civilians who don’t understand what’s going on. By and large, as soon as they hear about the problem and understand there is a problem the first question is ‘How can I help.”

Image courtesy of JobPath

 

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Dean Anderson

Based in Rome, Dean Anderson is an awarding-winning freelance journalist with 23 years of experience as a writer and photographer. Dean is a freelance contributor for a number of publications including the Associated Press. He enjoys spending his free time traveling Europe w...