Important Government Initiatives in 2015 to Assist Veterans (Part 1)

Paid Sick Leave for New Veteran Federal Employees:

2015 beginning saw a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress that would give service-disabled veterans 104 hours of paid sick time after they enter the federal workforce under The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act. Non-veteran employees begin with none and accrue hours over time.

Representative Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), who sponsored the bill, said that new veteran employees, many of whom return from duty with illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder and other health issues, often start their jobs without paid sick leave and find it hard to fit in time for medical appointments to treat their service-related disabilities. They have to sometimes let go of these appointments or take unpaid leave to go see their doctor, which results in significant lost income. Lynch said that it was unacceptable that veterans who are just starting out in the federal workforce are often faced with the difficult choice of having to take unpaid leave to attend their health appointments or miss their medical visits.

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AAAED 2015 Key Takeaways

America’s Job Exchange was a proud diamond sponsor at the 41st AAAED National Conference June2-5, 2015, at New Orleans. We had many people stop by to learn about our OFCCP compliance solutions and our new solution enhancement, The Outreach Management Tool. Additionally, we were very happy to announce the winner of our Fitbit Charge giveaway – Ariana Wright, Attorney, Equal Opportunity Officer, Old Dominion University, VA. Congratulations Ariana!

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AJE’s Updated Reporting Tool with an Outreach Management Component

The Office Of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) expects good faith outreach efforts pertaining to affirmative action to be expansive to increase the pool of qualified candidates. Outreach has to be external (to reach the wider labor market), and internal (immediate workforce). Proof of outreach must be meticulously maintained. Good faith efforts also encompass training and promotion of the internal workforce. Results of these efforts also need to be documented and stored for three years in case of an OFCCP audit. Federal contractors and sub-contractors are required to set hiring goals for protected veterans (7%) and utilization goal for Individuals with Disabilities (7%) in all job groups. Additionally, they need to set goals under EO 11246 as applicable. Continue reading

Graduating in 2015? How to nail that interview!

INTERVIEW ADVICE FOR RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATES

 

Are you graduating in 2015? This is really a great time for you to start thinking of strategies that will help you land your first job. Your strong resume and cover letter will get you the interview. And a successful interview will land you the job. Here are some tips on how to navigate some common interview questions.

 WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?

This is a very common question. Companies ask about your 5 or 10-year plan. This is also the question that most graduates fail. Employers do value honesty, but they are going to put the company first. So, if you have any plans of traveling, getting married or going to grad school, you need to keep it to yourself. On a personal level, such goals are great but that does not tell your prospective employers that you will stick around. A good answer is where you would like see yourself professionally in 5 or 10 years.

 WHY ARE YOU A GOOD FIT?

You have to prepare for this kind of answers. Research the company so you can match your skills with what the job needs and what the company mission is.

 TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF

You have to understand that when an employer asks you this question, they are more interested in learning about your educational and professional accomplishments. Stay away from personality, social life, what it was like growing up, etc. Companies only care about how you will contribute to their growth.

 WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THIS JOB?

This is the kind of question you will get if the job you have applied for is unrelated to your major. You have to answer that this was your plan all along. You will also have to demonstrate how the skills you have acquired could be applied to this job.

 WHAT ARE YOUR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS?

This question requires a careful answer. You should highlight your GPA, challenging courses, internships, papers published and new courses you have mastered. Even if you are the President of the tennis and other clubs, that should only be mentioned in passing.

 DO SPEAK UP

A job interview is not a cross-examination. You do not have to speak only when spoken to. It is a conversation. So, ask questions when applicable, and offer info about yourself when appropriate.

 PRESENT YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY

First thing to remember is that you should never get creative with your look when preparing for an interview. Stick with the classic interview look. There should be no gum chewing while talking. If you wear perfume, keep it very light. Visible (perhaps awkward) piercings should be removed and please be mindful not to smell of cigarettes or alcohol. Finally, keep accessories to a minimum and your cell phone turned off.

 PRACTICE BEING NATURAL

You need to practice some interview questions beforehand no matter how eloquent you may be. Practice the common interview questions in front of a mirror or have someone conduct a mock interview with you. Practice too, making eye contact. You should also remember to smile. Interviewers know that you might be nervous so they will cut you some slack.

 FOLLOW UP

Waiting for an answer is frustrating. That is the time you should write your thank you notes. You should also use this time to offer any additional info that you left out or clarify a point that you think was misunderstood. After a week, you may call and ask about the status of the hiring process. You might have to hear the bitter truth that they have hired someone else. Ask for some constructive feedback about you, so you may improve next time around. Or, they might tell you that they are still interviewing. However, your polite assertiveness will make you stand out.

 Undergoing a successful job interview takes practice so don’t be hard on yourself if you make mistakes. Learn and apply your new knowledge in your next interview.

 For helpful information on how to write a successful resume, visit AJE’s resources page.  For great interviewing tips visit AJE’s interview advice page. AJE’s resume posting service gets great results as well so please check it out here.  Our best wishes for a successful job hunt in 2015!

75,000 Solar Industry Jobs by 2020!

 

The White House’s climate change goals, which call for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by up to 28% by 2025, could be a major boon for jobs in the solar industry.

The Obama Administration is announcing actions to supporting our veterans in getting a share of those job opportunities. The president unveiled a plan to train 75,000 solar workers including veterans, by 2020. This is an increase from the previous goal of training 50,000 solar workers by 2020 announced in May 2014.

The Department of Energy, (DOE), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), launched The Solar Ready Vets program at ten military bases on Friday, April 3, a program which prepares veterans to work in the solar industry. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) has praised the move. SEIA President Rhone Resch has estimated that the solar industry will likely surpass the goal of 75,000 new jobs by 2020.

The pilot program on Camp Pendleton had already produced results: Of the 20 Marines, who completed training on February 13, each received at least one job offer from the five major U.S. solar firms who are recruiting as part of the program.

The DOE provides four to six weeks of free training to veterans who are transitioning from active military duty to the private sector. The training program is based on the specific needs of high-growth solar employers and is tailored to build on the skills that veterans have acquired through their service. This accelerated training will prepare them for careers in the solar industry as installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has committed to working with DOE to direct some GI Bill funding to the program. Over time, this approval will allow more veterans across the country to use their GI Bill benefits to participate in this job-driven training program through local community colleges, where they will quickly learn the skills needed for good-paying jobs in the solar industry.  The Department of Labor (DOL), will work with DOD to make sure that transitioning service members are made aware of solar workforce training programs available to them in their last months of military service.

Veterans possess important skills that transfers easily to the civilian workforce. We at America’s Job Exchange are committed to supporting veteran hiring and applaud all employers who recruit veterans. Additionally, we service some solar industry employers who regularly list their jobs with us. For more information, please visit http://www.americasjobexchange.com/

WHY DIVERSITY HIRING?

As a company that focuses on helping companies ensure they have a diverse work place, we, at America’s Job Exchange, were pleased to see that’s becoming more and more important to employees. The SHRM Talent Expo’s 2015 job satisfaction and engagement report, published on April 28, 2015, brought to light the following:

  • In the last four years, the percentage of respondents that listed aspects of job satisfaction, rated “Organization’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce” as “Very Important”: (2011) 22%, (2012) 27%, (2013) 28%, and (2014) 29%.

To see the full report click here

As evidenced by the above, hiring diversity is an essential business concern as it’s continuing to play an important role in employee satisfaction.  In addition, as markets expand globally, being able to understand clients and their needs across cultures and regions is crucial.  A multicultural, talented and trained employee pool gives a company that key advantage.   

It’s important for companies to target their efforts to this employment sector and develop multi-tiered methods to reach these distinct employees. One of the most important first steps is to perform a survey of all your departments to pinpoint which areas need more development and can benefit from the addition of diverse talent. From there, your job ads should have verbiage that’s all-inclusive, but even more importantly job goals should be appealing to all groups.

Hiring diversity should not be just a noble goal of companies.  It makes tremendous economic sense for companies to do so and based on the recently released numbers, is important for job satisfaction.

Visit AJE Diversity Exchange for more information.  Contact us here.