Collaborative “lunch and learn” series focuses on veterans
Binghamton University’s Center for Innovative and Continuing Education (CICE) recently collaborated with the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Tier Veteran’s Support Group to hold a “Lunch and Learn” series for employers on hiring veterans.
The series aimed “to educate the local business community on the many benefits veterans bring to their organization when hired,” said Thomas Kowalik, executive director of CICE. “The main goal was to encourage employers to hire our local veterans who have made such a significant contribution to this country and community, while dispelling myths associated with troops returning home.”
The first session, held Sept. 27, focused on “The Benefits of Hiring a Veteran.” Opening remarks were provided by Don Leonard from Sen. Thomas Libous’ office. Topics of discussion included military skill translation as it applies to civilian job skill sets and recognizing veterans as potential workforce leaders.
“Helping Veterans Transition in the Workplace” was held Oct. 11, and provided information on how to avoid exposing veterans to insensitive environments and the need to provide veterans with time for counseling or medical services. Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo offered opening remarks.
“Understanding the Military Culture,” held Oct. 25, presented information on the military subculture, rituals and characteristics that influence veterans. Issues like PTSD, homelessness, and family and medical concerns were addressed as well. “Two of the most important skills veterans bring to an employer are resiliency and courage, which are vital in a changing and weak economy and workforce,” Kowalik said. Broome County Executive Debbie Preston gave the opening remarks.
The final session, held Nov. 8, showcased providers of services to veterans and networks that local employers can tap into to help their employees at the worksite. Panelists offered solutions to employee training needs and advised employers on how they can connect veterans to educational and professional development opportunities. Opening remarks were given by U.S. Congressman Richard Hanna.
Employers from Raymond Corporation, Maines Paper & Food Service, Binghamton University, City of Binghamton, NYS Department of Labor, NYSEG, Willow Run Foods and several small business owners attended the series, which generated press coverage from several television stations and newspapers. Both the Syracuse Veterans Center and the Rome Veterans Medical Center have inquired about replicating the series in their communities.