Employment Assistance Program Overcomes Barriers for Veterans

SLATE's Work-Ready Employment Assistance Program reaches out to men and women in uniform

May 31, 2013 | 2 min reading time

This article is 9 years old. It was published on May 31, 2013.

Veteran saluting

Since August 2012, when the Work-Ready Employment Assistance Program was launched at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Workforce Development Conference in Washington D.C., SLATE has offered numerous WREAP sessions across the St. Louis region. Overall, the program has proved so successful that other metropolitan areas in Missouri and even other states have indicated their interest in replicating similar sessions for their own veterans. This year, WREAP has conducted workshops in Kansas City, Columbia, Fort Leonard Wood, and Cape Girardeau, with upcoming sessions in Jefferson City and Kansas City before the program returns to St. Louis in June. Any veteran interested in registering for a WREAP session should contact Martin Payne, SLATE Veterans Representative at martin.payne@ded.mo.gov.

Often, the differences in terminology between the military and civilian workforce present a barrier to employment for veterans recently returned from duty overseas. WREAP specifically addresses this challenge with exercises that help veterans better translate their training and skills into common business terminology. Frank Alaniz, the Missouri Workforce Regional Liaison at SLATE who coordinates WREAP, states that “military veterans often have a wide range of skills and talents civilian employers are seeking. But at times the veterans and the employers don’t speak the same language.” Seminars are also offered to recruiters to ensure that hiring managers can adequately discern the skill matches they are looking for.

The response from veteran participants has been nothing short of outstanding. One Missouri National Guardsman told SLATE, “As a specialist who hates military briefings this was the best brief that I’ve ever attended.” A veteran who was struggling with his job search confirmed that “what I have learned at the seminar works. I couldn’t believe the responses I’ve received in the last three weeks. Thank you!”

SLATE Executive Director Michael K. Holmes looks forward to building upon the success of the program. “WREAP plays an important role in helping our highly skilled and motivated veterans reenter the job marketplace. For them, it really is a shift between two worlds, and SLATE helps make that transition as painless and quick as possible.”

WREAP has been endorsed by both businesses and educational institutions including Monsanto, Ralston, Habitata, McDonalds, BJC, SSM, Webster University, the University of Missouri St. Louis, St. Louis University, Washington University, by the Missouri ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve), and by numerous veteran support organizations throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area.

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