What is a protected veteran? How are states using talent communities? Do you know how WRP.jobs helps Members connect with college students and graduates with disabilities? These are just a few of the many questions that Workshop B sessions addressed during the DirectEmployers 2014 Annual Meeting & Conference.

Veteran hiring panel moderated by the VEC featured Member companies EMC, Intel and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Things got underway with a panel discussion on veteran hiring. Moderator Charlie Palumbo of the Virginia Employment Commission guided panelists Matt Brogdon of Thermo Fisher Scientific, Lou Candiello of EMC Corporation and Rob Polston of Intel Corporation through interactive conversation around building successful veteran hiring and retention programs. Each of them reflected on their personal experience as a military service member and what they’ve learned from overseeing veteran initiatives for their respective civilian employers. Palumbo also shared unique insight into building a relationship with state workforce agencies. Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom shared in this session:

  • Veterans are well connected. If you hire one, you’ll get many.
  • Hiring veterans is not about charity.
  • Find highly skilled transitioning veterans by targeting transition assistance events on bases.
  • Many servicemembers are used to relocating, but their willingness varies by geography.
  • Join the 100,000 Job Mission.

Julie Toskey from the State of Minnesota presenting on talent communities.

Michael Ellsworth and Julie Toskey from the State of Minnesota were up next with a unique spin on talent communities. They started by discussing common challenges of talent acquisition:

  • Expense of posting jobs on commercial job banks.
  • Large volumes of resume submissions with no easy way beyond keyword searching to sort them out.
  • Difficulty identifying and attracting talent with hard-to-find skill sets.
  • Inability to identify and attract passive candidates.
  • Determining fit with an organization’s culture.
  • Developing a pipeline for future job openings.

Talent communities can remedy some of these issues. In fact, Minnesota is currently implementing a third-party talent community as the “front porch” for MinnesotaWorks.net. Employers recruiting in the state can reach out to Ellsworth or Toskey for more information.

Finding a Win-Win: Mastering Diverse Recruitment and Compliance Through WRP was the final concurrent session of the day and featured Kathleen Lee of Cornell University and Annette Rosta of KPMG. First, Kathleen gave some background information on WRP. Short for Workforce Recruitment Program, WRP is managed jointly by DoD’s Office of Diversity Management & Equal Opportunity (ODMEO) and the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Through this effort, over 6,500 candidates have secured internships and permanent positions.

The recently launched WRP.jobs website.

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN), the organization that administers the WRP program for non-federal positions, and DirectEmployers formed a partnership to facilitate a direct and more efficient process for our Members to connect with WRP candidates; increase outreach and recruitment efforts to meet 503 and VEVRAA regulations; and gain additional access to disability expertise and resources.
Rosta then spoke to KPMG’s diversity initiatives and WRP candidates. As a result of the company’s partnership with WRP, they’re building pipelines, getting candidates to actively engage in the recruiting process and educating job seekers about new and different scopes of opportunities.

Lee also touched on the recently launched WRP.jobs Pilot Program, which offers non-federal employers the opportunity to post permanent and temporary positions. Qualified students with disabilities from WRP can then search and apply for these positions using employers’ standard application processes. Members of DirectEmployers can learn more about the WRP.jobs portal by reaching out to Shannon Offord[hyperlink to Shannon’s email], Manager of Strategic Partnerships.

Effective practices for hiring individuals with disabilities and increasing self-identification were also presented. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Employers who have internships for people with disabilities are 4.5 times more likely to hire a person with a disability.
  • Provide training on how and why it’s important to recruit qualified individuals and veterans with disabilities.
  • Employees with disabilities are at least 60% more likely to disclose their disability to their supervisor than to HR.

Jerold Ramos Sr. of Allied Barton with Shann Fowler Lambing of Grantham University.

Day two began with Jerold Ramos Sr. of AlliedBarton Security Services and Shanna Fowler Lambing, PHR, of Grantham University uncovering how to attract the best of the best for veteran and recruitment hiring. Jerold provided guidance for overcoming common barriers to veteran hiring, including the need for:

  • Strong top-down organizational support.
  • Formalized talent acquisition strategy.
  • Accountable parties throughout the organization.
  • Strong presence in the military community.

Ramos also recommended creating a military-friendly image by:

  • Getting involved with Transition Assistance Programs (TAPs) and Army Career and Alumni Programs (ACAP).
  • Developing special careers page for servicemembers and veterans.
  • Engaging and participating in the military and veteran community.

Michelle Shea of Charles Schwab and Richard Le of Vanderbilt University.

Michelle Shea of Charles Schwab and Richard Le of Vanderbilt University also touched on the topic in their session entitled From Social to Site: A Journey to Effective Military and Diversity Sourcing and Recruiting. Both shared their approaches to military and diversity sourcing, including the use of the .JOBS Military Crosswalk tool and tapping into their veteran employee population.

The final session brought together Lourdes Diaz of Sodexo, Howard Green of the National Organization on Disability (NOD) and Beth Hammond of VIP, Inc. The group shared their expertise on achieving the new Department of Labor (DOL) utilization goals. The session provided practical information about the new Section 503 regulations from the DOL and what companies are doing to meet the 7% utilization goals, including the steps they are taking at the local level to build the relationships necessary to meet these utilization goals long-term. Green highlighted the Disability Employment Tracker, a new corporate self-assessment tool. The tool helps companies assess their disability and veteran employment practices, benchmark and use results to educate internal stakeholders on successes and opportunities. Bridges to Business was also showcased as a way to link employers with a pipeline of candidates with disabilities.

Beth Hammond of VIP, Inc., Lourdes Diaz of Sodexo and Howard Green of the National Organization on Disability.

Attendees were advised to have a strategy to ensure agencies or vendors were truly offering value and quality. Diaz took it a step further by sharing how Sodexo has partnered successfully with NOD to raise awareness among managers cross-divisionally, engage over 100 managers via training and connect managers to information and community hiring resources. Hammond then covered how her firm has helped companies and discussed the information she learned from partnership efforts:

  • Assignment of a Project Manager to business partner is critical.
  • Providers learned the needs of business (importance of background checks).
  • Flexibility of business, as well as provider, to ensure success in matching candidates to positions.

The session concluded by sharing these helpful resources:

Members can view the full presentations in Pipeline. Get highlights from Track A and stay tuned for Track C highlights next week. Think you have what it takes to present at DEAM15? We’re now accepting speaker proposals! Submit your proposal at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DEAM15callforpresenters

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