Veterans re-enter the workforce for a variety of reasons. They may miss working, need a little extra income to boost their retirement pay, or lose a job a few years shy of retirement. Over the last few months, COVID-19 has left many veterans unexpectedly unemployed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the veteran unemployment rate at 3.5% in March. In April, that number jumped to 11.8% and was at 8.8% at the end of June.
Our office works closely with the NC Works office in Aberdeen to link veterans, especially older veterans, with employment and training resources. Sam Levinson, Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist and Local Veteran Employment Representative at NC Works Career Center in Aberdeen, helps veterans in Moore, Montgomery, Richmond and Scotland counties locate gainful jobs. He said older, retired and disabled veterans bring traits like confidence, reliability, duty and discipline to the workplace. Employers recognize their value and welcome them to apply by including words like “seasoned applicants encouraged to apply” in job advertisements.
Despite the many attributes they bring to the workplace, older veterans may face barriers to finding gainful jobs. At the top of this list is technology. Many retirees need to upgrade their computer knowledge before they are ready to seek work in a market that relies on technology over face-to-face and paper applications. He suggests veterans brush up their computer skills through a computer literacy class at their local community college.
Levinson laid out a guideline for older and retired veterans who wish to re-enter the workforce.
- Apply for unemployment if needed.
- Set up an email and create a resume. Levinson and other veteran’s representatives can help with resume preparation.
- Visit the local NC Works office for job-seeking assistance. Each office has a veteran’s representative who can help the veteran assess their skills sets and proficiency with computers and other technology, refer to other services, introduce potential employers and help with interview skills through mock interviews and other resources.
- Be prepared to do some of the work. This includes searching online resources for available jobs, applying online and attending job fairs and other employer-sponsored activities.
Finally, Levinson encourages any older person who wishes to re-enter the job force to decide exactly what they are looking for. He stresses the importance of being specific in deciding the type of job they are seeking and expectations about work hours, pay, proximity to their home, etc.
Veterans who want to find employment may reach Sam Levinson at 919-805-6542.
During pandemic closures, the Moore County Veterans Service Office has been operating via telephone, email and mail to serve veterans and their families. Veterans can leave records and other paperwork in the secure drop box in front of the office at 707 Pinehurst Ave., Carthage. Veterans and their families who have questions about VA benefits, disability and other veteran services may call the Moore County Veterans Service Office at 910-947-3257 for assistance or to schedule a phone appointment.