Pima County veterans and employers can connect to meet their employment and training needs at Pima County’s new Kino Veterans’ Workforce Center.
More than 200 people turned out Friday, Oct. 19, for the grand opening of the Center. Local employers who have hired veterans and local veterans who have secured training or credentials through Pima County’s One-Stop Career Center were recognized.
ConformaTech, a Tucson geotechnical engineering, materials testing and environmental consulting firm, hired a Marine veteran five months ago with the help of Pima County One-Stop, which opened the Veteran’s Workforce Center in July.
“Some of the skills that military personnel have … don’t easily transfer to a resume,” Brian Lasham, ConformaTech’s materials unit manager, told the audience. But the Marine he hired “has developed into one of my best engineering technicians,” Lasham said.
“He was eager to learn, mature, has an attention to detail, is dependable, dedicated to the company, and a team player and leader when needed. … These are attributes that I as an employer am looking for that are not learned in the normal education system but are instilled into our veterans during their time of service in the military.
“Companies who are overlooking these very qualified candidates because their job assignments in the military do not translate into the position they are looking for are passing up some of the brightest talent available.”
Bob Black, human resources manager for Carondelet Health Network, announced that Carondelet would soon be launching a new training program for 15 veterans who want to be patient-care technicians or pursue other health-care careers.
“We want to reach out and partner with the new Center and do what we can,” Black said.
Among the dozen or more veterans recognized at the grand opening was Jac’Queline Moore, 50, who found herself homeless in Tucson in 2010 after serving six years in the Army and Reserves.
With Pima County One-Stop’s help, Moore moved from a shelter to transitional housing to her own apartment. She started attending and working for Pima Community College in 2010. She is pursuing an associate degree to become a paralegal and was recently promoted from student aide to student services specialist.
“I work with students who face ‘challenges’ as I did when I decided to return,” Moore said in an email. “It is most rewarding to be able to give back to the community which reached out to help me.
“I’ve been at rock bottom and have no plans to return. I managed to raise myself up with the help and assistance of these vital programs. … They give individuals an opportunity to regain their self-respect, dignity and confidence while assisting them in gaining skills and knowledge to pursue other endeavors in life.”
U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva told the audience at the grand opening that the Center and its services are expressions of gratitude and the fulfillment of a social contract with veterans “for what you did for us.”
“There will be opportunities for you. There will be security,” Grijalva said. “We need your talent. We need your discipline. We need your leadership in this country.”
U.S. Rep. Ron Barber said the nation “cannot let happen to the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan what happened to the veterans of Vietnam.”
“We neglected our duty to Vietnam veterans,” he said, and now 70,000 of them are homeless. One out of nine Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are unemployed, Barber said.
“The men and women who have come home deserve our full attention,” he said.
Pima County One-Stop opened the Kino Veterans’ Workforce Center, 2801 E. Ajo Way, to help military veterans find jobs and get training, benefits and support services; and to help employers hire veterans.
One-Stop’s partners in the Center include the U.S. Departments of Labor, Defense and Veterans Affairs; the Arizona Departments of Veterans Services and Economic Security; Pima Community College; Community Partnership of Southern Arizona and Rally Point; CODAC/Comin’ Home; Tucson Veterans Serving Veterans; Salvation Army; Old Pueblo Community Services; Primavera Foundation; the Arizona Veterans Commission; SER Jobs for Progress; and local employers.
The Kino Veterans’ Workforce Center offers veterans:
- Peer support, drop-in and welcome
- Career counseling and job search assistance
- Help with resumes, interview and phone techniques
- Skill and aptitude assessments
- Computer labs and office equipment
- Benefits counseling and claims assistance – education, medical care, disability
- Assistance with housing and other basic needs during transition to employment
- Occupational skills training
- Adult education, tutoring and study skills
- Behavioral health services and recovery
- Business recruitment and workforce training assistance
For more information, please contact Art Burrola at 520-740-4636 or ABurrola@pima.gov.
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