State initiative helps vets find employment

Looking for a job and have military experience? Then become a licensed armed security guard.

A new employment initiative for former military personnel is the Experience Counts program. The program assists veterans to transfer from military service into civilian jobs. The initiative was started in 2011 to grant credits to military personnel with experience in certain job fields.

The first Experience Counts program involved access to commercial drivers’ licenses for former military members with experience driving trucks and heavy equipment while serving their country. The state Department of Motor Vehicles waived the road test and associated fees for military personnel with experience. More than 250 licenses were issued to veterans through the program, with 112 of them finding employment as of January.

“As we see our service men and women returning, we must ensure the highest level of services greet them at home. And that begins with jobs,” said Peter Rivera, state labor commissioner. ”I am proud to announce another Experience Counts program and urge all veterans to visit their nearest New York State Career Center to see what opportunities are available in their region.”

The newest employment program certifies veterans to become a licensed armed security guard through an on-site training program. If the veterans didn’t have the training from the state Career Centers, they would need to go to a school for a fee and/or be trained by an employer, at a cost, for certification. The program is available free of charge and is available at all of the Department of Labor’s New York State Career Centers. Chautauqua County has two state Career Centers through Chautauqua Works. One is located at 23 E. Third St., Jamestown, and the second is located at 407 and 419 Central Ave., Dunkirk.

Once veterans are trained and licensed, Career Center staff will connect them to one of the more than 8,300 available security jobs statewide. In Western New York, 822 jobs are available.

In addition to the CDL and security guard measures, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the state Labor Department to work with the Department of Health to aid in the transfer of armed service experience into civilian credits or certifications for medics.

Department of Labor staff work directly with the military to get the word out to troops who may be interested in being certified for one of these jobs. Through the new state Employment Services System, Career Center staff will be able to manage each veteran’s case.

For more information, visit the state Labor Department veterans’ services website at www.labor.ny.gov/vets/vetintropage.shtm.