“I had been drafted into the Vietnam War as a combat infantryman,” says John Reynolds, founder of Veterans2Work and winner of today’s Daily Point of Light Award. Upon his return from war, he had a difficult time transitioning into a career. “Initially I thought the problem was unemployment but it wasn’t. The problem is underemployment,” Reynolds continues and says, “When the newer wars started up I saw that returning vets had problems similar to those that I had faced. What was happening consistently was that veterans looking for jobs would find jobs usually beneath their capabilities or skills. It didn’t seem fair to me that they would have to pay such a penalty for having volunteered to serve their country.”
A born entrepreneur, Reynolds sought to do something to fix the chronic underemployed that our veterans face. In 2008, he founded Veterans2Work, an organization that helps returning military veterans launch their civilian careers while helping employees engage the full productive potential of those veterans. Participating veterans, spouses and caregivers are provided free services, resources and tools to discover their interests and strengths, helping them to land the jobs that are right for them. Veterans2Work implements an aptitude-based approach to helping veterans secure employment. “We deliver evidence of a veteran’s potential in an area so that it gives the employers confidence to hire that veteran,” says Reynolds.
In addition to aptitude testing, the organization also provides help with resume preparation, interview skills and job networking. Most recently, Reynolds and his team have begun working on a career on-ramp program which provides experiential learning opportunities in high growth industries allowing both veterans and potential employers an opportunity to “preview’ one another, ensuring that the job is a good fit for both.
To date, Veterans2Work has placed 100 veterans into jobs, half of which moved from assessment to training and into a job. The organization is currently working with 5,000 veterans.
And, Veterans2Work has set a goal of helping even more veterans. Of the one million active duty service members expected to return to civilian society in the next five years, Veterans2Work aims to provide meaningful career support to at least 100,000 of these veterans, from career assessment and counseling, to job networking and mentoring, to job matching and placement to ongoing career support.