Our Mission: Back to Work, Back to Life.

A Mother’s Love

Non-profit organization needs your donation to keep its mission alive.

“Thank you for your service,” the phrase civilians often use when they encounter military personnel, seems inadequate considering the sacrifices these warriors have made.

Please give lasting thanks by making a donation to Project: Return to Work Inc. (R2W). This national organization honors returning veterans by matching them with employers who need their skills. R2W’s unique approach slashes the job-search timeframe from months or even longer to just minutes compared to services provided by government agencies. Since 1998, R2W has helped thousands of returning vets, military spouses and disabled civilians find jobs commensurate with their skills, aptitudes, and interests.

Camp Williams - Rob Brazell, R2W Founder, Sergeant Logan Jubeck and Sergeant "Bulldog" Dellinger

Camp Williams – Rob Brazell, R2W Founder, Sergeant Logan Jubeck and Sergeant “Bulldog” Dellinger

Founded by former aerospace engineer Rob Brazell, his mother, Fran Nixon, and lifetime mentor, Malcolm D. Crawford, R2W was initially conceived to help people with disabilities. Brazell, who had recently recovered from a terminal illness, decided that “instead of building rockets and satellites I would start R2W to help myself and other disabled people transition back to employment and self-worth.”

Combining Nixon’s human resources and government background and Brazell’s technology prowess, the mother-son team launched the software-driven job search organization 17 years ago and gained a successful track record placing civilians. Brazell’s father, Ray, a WWII Marine, Uncle Floyd and Uncle Dale, a WWII Army Veteran, then helped expand R2W’s mission to include veterans—especially wounded warriors—and their spouses. Nixon, a state-certified vocational rehabilitation counselor in Florida, procured and fulfilled government contracts while Brazell, accompanied by the late Sargent Douglas “Bulldog” Dellinger, gave motivational speeches at military bases, prompting hundreds of injured soldiers to sign up for R2W’s innovative services.

“R2W’s achievements would have been impossible without the devotion of my mother, who not only nursed me back to health during my illness and helped me launch a model business but also came out of retirement to help save it years later”, Brazell says.

A Christmas Puppy A Mother's Love

A Christmas Puppy
A Mother’s Love

Four years ago Nixon, emerged from retirement again when a car accident left Brazell with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder—injuries identical to those of hundreds of the veterans R2W had served. Nixon has covered many of Brazell’s former duties since his accident, and this proud son credits his mother with keeping R2W afloat during his ongoing rehabilitation. On a personal note, Nixon purchased a puppy for her dog-loving son this Christmas, and she hopes to persuade the breeder to donate a puppy to a returning vet.

“Today R2W is thriving with fewer resources thanks to donated technology tools and bright young volunteers who understand how to use them,” says Brazell. “Without new funds, however, we’re in danger of losing grant money that is crucial to our mission. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation this holiday season.”

 

Small Business Program

by Stefanie O’Connor

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In Loving Memory of Malcolm Douglas Crawford 
(August 29, 1920 – May 6, 2014)

by Stefanie O’Conner for Rob Brazell,  R2W Founder –

Coffee With Malcolm 2009

I am deeply saddened to inform our readers that Malcolm Douglas Crawford, R2W’s Treasurer and my lifelong mentor, passed away on May 6 after a long illness.

 

It is difficult for me to put into words the profound influence Malcolm Crawford has had upon my life, my career and the founding of R2W.  The best place to start is with a brief summary of this extraordinary man’s background and achievements.

 

Malcolm Crawford was born in Nashville and later studied Economics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Inspired by the geopolitical events of the era, he enrolled in the newly established Tufts-Harvard Fletcher School of Diplomacy, from which he received an MA in 1944.  He then went to Yale Law School, from which he graduated with honors in 1947.  He subsequently served as a consular official at the U.S. Embassies in London and Paris, assisting with postwar reconstruction efforts. He spent most of his professional life working as a securities and corporate attorney in Denver, and worked well into his late 80s.

 

When I was ready to make the leap from “Big Corporation USA” to my own company in the 1980s, Malcolm helped me form my aeronautics business.  He taught me everything I know about private stock sales, as well as how to negotiate with multiple partners all vying for control.  His generous guidance and counsel added greatly to the success of my aerospace business prior to my being diagnosed with a terminal illness.  When I started to get better, Malcolm helped form, manage and operate R2W—including helping to recruit a blue-ribbon board and win our initial government contract.  He continued to open doors and make difficult situations effortless for us over the years, never asking for anything in return.

 

Malcolm’s mentorship transcended private and public business endeavors.  We talked about The New Deal, Adolf Hitler, and the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II.  We talked about analogies in today’s world and how he might do things differently.  He had a wonderfully reserved sense of humor—smiles and chuckles as opposed to big belly laughs.  He was one of America’s greatest statesmen and philanthropists and I was extremely fortunate to have known him.

 

Malcolm is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Sheila Eigeman Crawford, and his five children and seven grandchildren.  Please join me in remembering Malcolm Crawford for his gift of friendship, his generosity, kindness and intelligence.

Kathe Zaslow, Grant Writer

Kathe Zaslow, Grant Writer

 

LIVE HELP & Free Career Planning Services

by Jennifer Cohen, R2W Webinar Host.    

Jennifer Cohen, R2W Webinar Host

 

Next Webinar:

 Please use our Contact Page for more information.

We’ll START with your questions.

Career Planning Services

As a training specialist I am motivated by the opportunity to help others understand and take advantage of learning opportunities that lead to personal growth. R2W is truly focused on creating opportunities for veterans and their spouses, as well as disabled Americans.

My professional focus is on technology in training, and the Career Planning and Exploration Webinar is an excellent way for me to connect and communicate with many of those who qualify for R2W’s services. The Webinar is designed to guide attendees through the career profiling process and to help attendees link their work preferences to available jobs.

Some of the benefits of the Career Planning and Exploration Webinar include:

 

  1. Learning how to navigate R2W’s jobs list.
  2. Creating a work profile for job applications.
  3. Developing an understanding of your work preferences.
  4. Saving time getting started on the job search.
  5. Utilizing a free service.
  6. Building confidence for your job search.

 

Why not take advantage of this opportunity to learn about yourself and your potential?

Jennifer Cohen, R2W Webinar Host

 

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Jennifer Cohen is an instructional designer and adult educator with over twenty years of experience working with a diverse population of learners. Jennifer’s background in technology training includes applications for the office, presentations, and the web.  She holds a master’s degree in learning technology and uses her passion for creative problem solving to help others understand complex concepts.

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Career Exploration and Planning


Meeting Description:
Need a change but don’t know what’s your best   next career?  This free webinar is for you!  Exploring your options is the first step toward winning a fulfilling and lasting career.Let’s dramatically speed up the process!  Career Exploration & Planning is a 1 hour class showing you how to conduct your own evaluation in a fraction of the time.  Experts will show you how to use R2W’s innovative tools to quickly zero in on  jobs matching your career goals, while increasing  your interviews and job offers.

You might find the perfect job during the   class.  You will also learn how to get additional training and  one-on-one support from caring counselors.

Applying for the right job could last a lifetime.    It’s worth exploring!

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Testimonial:

Joe says:  “This webinar looks like a great resource for vets, as is R2W itself.”

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Thank You!

Sponsors

              

Just Plain Very Hard – Flash Floods – Boulder, CO

 

So hard to get the brain around how the recovery will happen since these scenes are repeated over such a broad area along the Front Range (plus the downstream impact as the waters combine on the plains).  I’m attaching two photos — one of the church where I was married and where my daughter and I were involved for all of her life and a couple more years before that for me (about 14 years).  I’m also attaching a photo of how it looks now.  Descriptions sound like soil from the Fourmile Canyon Fire’s burn area came down bringing black water (not “blackwater”), cars, telephone poles, large boulders … and gouged the area to six feet below the former road bed.

I used to live in Boulder Canyon — my own house was not in the 100-year-floodplain but so many were.  As you know, rebuilding can’t begin until there is a road to deliver supplies.

It just hurts to think about and I’m not even dealing with any loss.  My daughter lives on Capitol Hill and I live next to Highlands (HIGH lands) so … we’re fine since we didn’t have runoff or canyon flashfloods to experience.

I know you’ll like how people will pull together but it’s also a tense time when absolutely everyone is grieving.  Very different from when, say, one person’s house burns and everyone chips in to help their situation.

There are also degrees of “survivor guilt” where someone feels they can’t talk about their sadness because they “only” lost the VIEW from their home and someone else lost their HOME.  In every case, each person needs to find someone who can listen but often other victims are the only ones who really understand and yet they are coping with their own loss.  Recovery is prolonged because of this and it’s just plain very hard.

R2W Headquarters Hit Hard.

Please volunteer online or donate now 
100% helps R2W client
15 years in Boulder

Stay tuned for prayer circles and heartening National Guard rescuers near R2W’s offices.

 

Volunteer For Boulder Emergency

The roads are closed.  Still, volunteers from other states are keeping R2W’s operations running.  Clients can still login and connect with employers.  We’re still conducting counseling services that are more relevant than ever.

We are focusing on helping evacuees transition out of shelters and replacing computer equipment to get key counselors back into the field.  We are using R2W’s buddy system to help each other with shelter, food, groovy clothing, a good listener, and a place to call home while figuring out the next step.    Recruiting volunteers for the cleanup.

Your help matters more than ever right now.  Please GET INVOLVED now.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1141652/colorado-floods-helicopters-rescue-stranded

Day Of Caring 2013 – FLASH FLOOD UPDATE

     The in-person portion of this event has been cancelled due to flash flooding.  However, rain or shine, we are still going forward with the online portion for homebound volunteers and volunteers in other states who want to demonstrate their care and respect.

     Drop in online when you can, leave when you want– 9:00 – 10:00 is for everyone regardless of your technical skills.

     Visit www.readytalk.com and enter 3160014 in the PARTICIPANT box.  Email rob.brazell@return2work.org for details.

 

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We care about wounded warriors and their spouses.  Please join us for Day of Caring to help us get deserving people back to work and back to life.  We are seeking volunteers who have substantial experience with databases to help post jobs in our recruitment system, and then match veterans with those jobs.

Highly qualified staff will provide a brief training session then tutor you through as many job postings as you can complete in two or three hours.   Bring your laptop if you’d like to continue volunteering from home after Day of Caring!  And please consider following up with our CALL BANK to reach out to both employers and applicants, letting them know we’ve found a match for them.

WHEN:           September 13, 2013                         9am – noon

WHERE:         Register for location Followed by a delicious BBQ and Award Ceremony at Foothills United Way

 

Direct volunteer link:  http://volunteer.unitedwayfoothills.org/HOC__Volunteer_Opportunity_Details_Page?id=a0CU000000GGd5sMAD#5c433ecdaca59558d5b2083906b4ea3f&wrs=HOC0130-002-2ddc49ad-c9ca-4c2d-8659-9dd054484015

Project: Return To Work Inc. Thanks Sponsors For Support

 

Project: Return to Work, Inc. (R2W) helps wounded warriors, disabled Americans and others to find productive and fulfilling jobs.

 

“Our participation in the Day of Caring and the work we do in general would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors,” notes R2W President Rob Brazell.  We would like to give special thanks to Foothills United Way for hosting this event and recruiting 25 highly skilled volunteers —using laptops donated for the day by LeaderQUEST—who will post jobs in R2W’s recruitment system donated by StaffCV at facilities donated by Office Evolution, Your Office, and Charlotte County Justice Center.  We also want to thank ReadyTalk for donating web conferencing services enabling homebound volunteers to participate.   ReadyTalk’s in-kind support also enables volunteers to participate remotely from our offices in Florida.

 

Many volunteers will continue serving after Day of Caring to match over 7,000 active duty service members, veterans, their spouses, and disabled citizens to the best positions.  R2W will also offer proven training to help prepare applicants for interviews.  Our innovative technologies and tremendous community spirit enable us to better connect the dots between applicants and employer, achieving unprecedented positive outcomes.

 

This event is in support of Military and Veterans Employment Expos (MVEE) at www.mvee.org.

 

      

    

Debbie Egan, Volunteer Customer Service

Debbie Egan, Customer Support

Debbie Egan is excited to join the R2W team this year.  She is bringing over 10 years of customer service and volunteer experience.  She has extensive experience working with customer service face-to-face and over the phone, online chat and e-mail.

Debbie’s job at R2W includes training volunteer Job Developers, Employment Specialists, and Job Concierges how to communicate more effectively with both applicants and employers, ensuring unprecedented positive outcomes.

Military and Veterans Employment Expo – Pikes Peak 2013

TESTIMONIALS.    STORIES.    LINKS.  

 

Just wanted to reach out to you after meeting you at the job fair.  It was quite an accomplishment getting that many employers there. Very impressive….three of them looked at my skill set and clearance (Booz Allen, Northrup Grummen, and Dept of State)… it was good to meet and greet those three and get a feel for them.   After all, it only takes one to hire me.

Thank you again for the opportunities presented there.

Joe , USAF, Intelligence Analyst

 

 I wanted to thank you again for your mentoring tips, express what a pleasure it was to finally meet you, listen to the passion in your voice about this years MVEE, …and also for you to take the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me one on one.

Stephen

Thank you for all you did on the MVEE I found it more than usefull. I will try to use it to aid me in my job search.

Brain

… just by allowing me to come to a job expo and putting one on is helping.”

Gary

VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIALS

“I want to thank you for introducing me to R2W and wish to continue to offer support – like the MVEE job fair. That was extremely gratifying.”
Linda

The event was held May 15, 16 and 17 at PPCC (Pikes Peak Community College) 5675 S. Academy Blvd. Colorado Springs, CO
Register:  www.mvee.org

Statistics show that our veteran unemployment is higher than their civilian counterparts. That’s why key federal and state agencies, together with numerous nongovernmental entities, have banded together to organize a three-day expo to provide needed and essential assistance to veterans and military personnel seeking employment in Colorado.

As the U.S. economy struggles to regain its footing, job fairs can be found popping up all over the state. But the Military and Veterans Employment Expo is different. Exclusively offered to veterans and military personnel, the expo invites these uniquely talented workers to take advantage of free job skills workshops, training, and counseling.
Government agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Labor, the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, and the Colorado National Guard and community partners such as the Return2Work nonprofit group are collaborating to organize this important event. As the late-2011 withdrawal date of U.S. forces from Iraq has passed, more heroically discharged military personnel are requiring workforce-reintegration support. The Military and Veterans Employment Expo will become a key part of many veterans’ redevelopment programs.

Upcoming three day Military and Veterans Employment EXPO is being planned for Colorado Springs, May 15, 16 and 17. For those of you who may not be familiar with this event, it is a new and improved approach to a job fair. The first two days the participants spend in training, working with mentors and preparing to communicate their job skills. Once they have done that and fulfilled a designated requirement, they are given the opportunity on the third day to interview with companies that have come with open job offerings. This is open to all military and spouses but those who have participated in the first two days are given preference.

The Equation for Your Success

Express Yourself: Resume Writing for the Private Sector:
It can be a challenge to translate the military lingo within your resume to a language the hiring authority can understand. This class will cover the four types of resumes: chronological, functional, combination and target. Teaching the participants to take military experience and translate it into civilian lingo. Showing the participants various ways to write an awesome resume starting with an effective objective statement and continuing on with powerful action words that best describe their talents and skills

Does the Color Of my Suit Really Matter? Interviewing Attire:
Being able to dress with confidence and feel comfortable is just as important as preparing an impressive resume. Make your very first appearance one the employer will not forget. This class will cover the when, what, where and how when it comes to dressing for success. Which attire is the choice attire for the position you are interviewing for.

Let’s Hear From The Experts; Employer Panels:
This session will give attendees the opportunity to hear from employers within various fields on topics such as what they are looking for in employees, what types of certifications are needed, growth within their field, and what they are looking for in a resume. Hear it from the experts who deal with resumes on a daily basis.

To Do or Not To Do During An Interview:
The presenter on this topic will give you pointers on how to prepare a few days before the interview as well as the very moment you actually step into the interview. He/She will present a few difficult questions that you may face at the interview and show you the importance of developing stories to tell that speaks about your experience in a story like format.

Today’s Tools to Market Yourself; Social Networking:
Using the social networks such as Linked In and Twitter can be just as effective in landing a job as the job websites themselves and we want to get you started. We will explain how these social networks can be beneficial to you, what to and what not to place on your social network page informative and getting you started on today’s modern way of networking.
This Mission Is Not Impossible; Federal Resume Writing:

Applying for a Federal job is not an easy task even for the most skilled job seeker. Our instructor will show you ways to explore the Federal job posting website and point out information within the job description that will help ease the application process. This information is in invaluable so don’t miss out.

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up? Career Exploration:
If you want more than just a job but more of a career, this is the class for you. Many of us are looking for a career where we can showboat our talents with purpose and passion but have no idea what that career may be. Let this class help you identify your interest and match them with your skills and abilities. Let’s find your future career!
Work It! Working A Job Fair:

Just showing up and dropping off resumes doesn’t work at today’s job fairs. Believe it or not there is a technique to working a job fair so that you can make the experience effective for you and put you a head of your competition. In this class learn how to catch the eye of your future Employer and simply stand out!

 

R2W Delivers the Right Level of Support to Disabled Job Seekers

Carol Sarganis

by
Stefanie Fleisig O’Connor

Project: Return to Work Inc. (R2W) is probably best known for helping U.S. veterans to transition back into civilian society via meaningful employment.  Founded in 1998, the Colorado-based non-profit organization has a solid track record of training and placing service people—including wounded warriors with significant disabilities—to perform jobs that best suit their needs and capabilities.

R2W’s mission transcends the veteran segment, however, to include non-military Americans with varying degrees of disability.  Carol Sarganis, a Naples, FL-based Employment Specialist and job coach who was hired by R2W in 2006, is uniquely qualified to fulfill her role with empathy as well as expertise.

“I have the Limb Girdle form of Muscular Dystrophy, which affects the lower extremities,” Sarganis explains.  “I had trouble walking throughout childhood and I have used a wheelchair since high school.”  Despite her lifelong challenges Sarganis feels that she also has had many opportunities, including being able to serve as a remedial reading specialist at the elementary school level for 28 years.  “I’ve always had an innate desire to help people with disabilities,” she says, “and my teaching experience has helped me be effective for R2W’s clients.”

On R2W’s behalf Sarganis became a certified provider of the Federally-funded Division of Vocational Training (DVR).  In this role she helps disabled job seekers in the Naples area with everything from appropriate dress and hygiene advice to transportation to job interviews.  Her clients fall into three tiers: those with multiple disabilities who require significant job support, people who can perform their jobs with some support, and job seekers who can be independent after the initial training period.

Sarganis has learned to adapt her teaching style, including coaching prospective employees on resume preparation and interview skills, to both the capabilities and limitations of each client.  At times this means gently adjusting expectations.  “I have a client named John who wanted to be an animal trainer, but his disabilities precluded this,” she recalls.   In addition to having a borderline IQ, which makes many tasks too difficult, this client suffers from extremely low self- esteem—a trait that contributed to John’s history of quitting jobs after a short time.

Sarganis realized that John needed an unusually high level of affirmation from an employer, and worked to find the right fit for him.

A job bagging groceries at Publix, a large supermarket chain, was the answer for John.  “Publix has a track record of hiring people with special needs, and his supervisors did a great job training him,” Sarganis says.  “This employer is especially good about validating his work and feelings.”  After nearly three years in a full-time position at Publix, Sarganis considers John a success story.

R2W client Pete’s limitations are similar to John’s, but he couldn’t be more different in temperament and attitude.  “He’s outgoing and very self-confident, which is wonderful,” explains Sarganis, “but his extreme chattiness was hurting his employment chances.”  She worked with Pete to build a resume—something she does with every client—and also taught him to curb his loquaciousness, a decidedly more unusual task.  “We’re still working on it,” she says with a laugh.  Having served as a grocery bagger at Winn Dixie since 2010, Pete is now training to become a stock boy.  Sarganis has gotten to know Pete’s family and she notes that his parents, like the vast majority of clients’ parents, strive to help their child become as independent as possible.

Sarganis also has had success placing people who require far less support.  In the case of Michael, who suffered a stroke in his 40s that left him paralyzed on one side, the bulk of her job was providing logistics.  R2W got the ball rolling by helping to prepare a resume and line up interviews and transportation, and Michael ran with it, impressing his prospective employer so much that he was hired on the spot as a security guard in a gated community. “He was extremely proactive and had a great attitude,” Sarganis says.  Michael has served in this job for around three years.

Whether a job seeker needs heavy support during and after the employment process or, like Michael, is able to move forward without much contact after placement, R2W is equipped to deliver the appropriate level of help for people who want to be gainfully employed despite their limitations.

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Jose Bolivar – Job Developer

Jose Bolivar – Job Developer

Jose Bolivar, Job Developer

Jose Bolivar, Job Developer

Jose was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. He has lived in the United States for over 10 years. Jose worked in the banking industry for about 8 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He worked for a non-profit in Colombia helping with social investment projects for a small town in the country side and recently volunteered as a board member for Intercambio Uniting Communities in Boulder, Colorado. Jose says, “I am willing to help, and R2W is a good cause. “

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