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Archives for May 2013

Military and Veterans Employment Expo – Pikes Peak 2013



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.


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.


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



“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.”

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

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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