Employment and Entrepreneurship Resources

Veterans Employment Representatives (VER) #

First Things First: #

If you are a veteran and going to the Lehigh Valley CareerLink, tell them right up front that you are a veteran — if they do not ask.  That way, the CareerLink will get you with someone trained to assist veterans, even if you do not qualify for the Disabled Veteran Opportunity Program (DVOP) below.  Service to veterans is supposedly a priority of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; but the Lehigh Valley CareerLink takes pride in providing this service.   So, do not be shy about it.  It is a privilege or benefit earned.

For Veterans, the DVOP: #

Employment service officers located at the local Lehigh Valley Department of Labor and Industry CareerLink are specialists assigned to help any veteran obtain employment, to include disabled veterans. Veterans need not be unemployed to ask for assistance or even in finding another job.  They can also counsel or refer on other benefits, but they are not veterans service officers (claims officers).  Contacts for this “veterans only” service are:

  • Chris Lee, Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist (DVOP), 555 Union Boulevard in Allentown, tel: 610-841-1008

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, whose department funds these state employees in reality, promulgated instructions in April of 2014 on how these employees are to be used, if to be funded, and new criteria on whom to serve.  While  controversial in the eyes of some, the intention is to get the programs back into good working order:

1)  by improving the service to disabled veterans and also those making a transition back to civilian employment (whether disabled or not; and the DVOP’s mission), and

2)  by increasing job opportunities through the grooming of employers (the LVER’s mission).

Click here for a summary on criteria for those who will be served by a DVOP.

For Employers, the LVER: #

  • Heidi Sulderits, Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER), 555 Union Boulevard in Allentown, tel: 484-707-6581

This is the person employers should be seeking out.  LVERs conduct outreach to employers and engage in advocacy efforts with hiring executives to increase employment opportunities for veterans and encourage the hiring of veteran.

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VA Veterans Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) #

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRC) from the VA’s Vocational Readiness (formerly, Rehabilitation) and Employment Program (VRE) provide services to those eligible veterans that are in need of assistance with seeking and securing employment or, if needed, provide services to increase one’s ability to live independently. For eligibility criteria,  click here. For the various options (tracks) offered, click here.

  • The current VRC at the Allentown VA Clinic,  on Tuesdays through Thursdays, is Christopher Place from the Philadelphia VA Regional Office VR&E Service.  He can be reached at tel: 215-842-2000 x 4109, email: Christopher.Place@va.gov,  or at his clinic number tel: 610-776-4445.  If there is a problem reaching her (this position has been a revolving door of late), ask for the Duty Officer at Regional Office, tel: 215-281-3028..
  • Initial contact about eligibility and enrollment into the program is Natilee Thomas,VRC, at the Philadelphia Field Office, tel: 215-842-2000 ext. 2638
  • For more information visit VR&E main webage.

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DLI Veterans Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) #

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), part of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry, provides vocational rehabilitation services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment.  OVR provides services to eligible individuals with disabilities, both directly and through a network of approved vendors.  Veterans should not overlook this service long and well established in our community especially as the Commonwealth has a few efforts specifically tied to veterans, such as tax incentives to employers.

  • The local office office is at 45th N. 4th St. in Allentown (next to the Social Security Office at 4th and Hamilton).  The telephone number for the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor/Case Management Supervisor, is tel: 610-821-6441 ext. 3116.

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For the Small Businessman/Entrepreneur #

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides this one-stop site for veterans: www.sba.gov/vets The Office for Veterans Business Development (OVBD) is responsible for several programs worth knowing, including a program for service disabled veteran-owned businesses  wishing to contract with the federal government. The nearest Veterans Business Development Officer for the Lehigh Valley is found in King of Prussia (the Philadelphia District Office).

Don’t overlook the more general route of approach by going to a Small Business Development Center, a public-private partnership organization, or visiting the America’s SBDC site and inquiring – remember as a veteran you have a special status and do not fail to mention you are a veteran. They provide one-stop assistance to individuals and small businesses by providing a wide variety of information and guidance in central and more easily accessible branch locations. The program is a cooperative effort of the private sector, the educational community and federal, state and local governments. For Pennsylvania, click here to locate a center, always found at a university. For the Lehigh Valley, it is operated by Lehigh University. Note that consulting and, at least, the initial seminar, are provided free of charge.  Ask for help before paying and read this about Pennsylvania SBDC, as it applies to veterans, for the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers are the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses.

UPDATE —> The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development  is one of the associates or partners of SBDC, piggybacking on the SBA program to execute.  Pennsylvania has a relatively unknown program like the federal government’s veterans-owned business program above — so unknown, the editor can no longer find it on the state government’s website.

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Useful A to Z OneStop Websites #

Admittedly the problem is there are so many websites for employment.  It is more a matter of finding one you like.  See also Job Boards which is more oriented on locating jobs as opposed to preparing for, training for, and seeking jobs as these below.

U.S. Department of Labor Veterans and Employment Training Service (VETS): #

Veterans.gov is the U.S. Department of Labor’s to pull together all aspects and parts of the veterans employment scene, to include the efforts of other agencies.  Essentially, it acts as a portal website towards answering questions for veterans seeking employment, those trying to start up a business, and employers seeking out veterans.  It includes powerful search engines.  This may be a first “website” point of entry for finding employment and employment advice.  After all, it is the U.S. Department of Labor that pays the most attention to veterans employment — funding most, if not all, of our state government’s veterans employment efforts for this important population.

Career OneStop (DOL): #

www.careeronestop.gov  is  more general integrated suite (portal site) of national web sites that help businesses, job seekers, students, and workforce professionals find employment and career resources than www.fedhirevets.gov above and includes more than just federal jobs.  It is a soup-to-nuts site.  CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, has multiple useful products, including its Toolkit  which provides national, state and local career information and labor market data and a section devoted to military and veterans, the Veteran and Military Transition Center.

Careers and Employment (VA) #

Replacing the The Veterans Employment Center™ (VEC), the VA’s Career and Employment site is an effort by the VA to simplify obtaining reliable information online towards employment, and includes the issue of entrepreneurship.  It is definitely transition-oriented, for it provides a linear way of going about finding a job  for those new to the process.  However, even those further along in experience can benefit from it, for it appears to be a comprehensive, complete, one-stop package.  Whether it replaces the need to know all the other sites listed below, particularly those provided by the government, remains to be seen, but try it as a first-stop, one-stop employment website.

My Next Move (DOL): #

My Next Move for Veterans is probably the most comprehensive job searching website yet for veterans.  My Next Move for Veterans is helps in translating one’s military skills or other interests into a civilian career.  The  veterans can find careers through keyword search; by browsing industries that employ different types of workers; or by discovering civilian careers that re similar to their job in the military.  Among other new job search engines it uses My Skills My Future and the Veterans Job Bank to locate jobs down to zip code or local level.  The site also evaluates the future prospects of career fields, their characteristics, salaries/wages for an area, and educational requirements; plus provides apprenticeship program information.  This website has been developed and is maintained by the National Center for O*NET Development, under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

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VetJobs (a Non-Governmental Organization Site): #

www.VetJobs.com is another “all-in-one” site, but one operated by veterans for veterans. It was established after research showed a gap in sites which assisted employers in identifying the transitioning military and veteran candidate; and is operated by a seasoned management team of professionals to assist companies, recruiting firms and hiring authorities to successfully reach the military market. VetJobs is owned and operated by veterans for veterans. In January 2000, The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States exclusively endorsed and purchased ten percent of the company. Since then, VetJobs has garnered many veteran service organization endorsements. It is recognized in the industry as the leading recruitment site to reach the military market

Employee Support to the Guard & Reserves #

The Department of Defense provides esgr.org to provide information on your rights and responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), forms, and contacts for assistance for the program. It is a one-stop site. If you believe your rights under USERRA have been violated by your employer, you can call 1-800-336-4590 option (1) to speak with an ESGR representative or you may fill out the online ESGR Form 100 and have your complaint reviewed. An ESGR representative will contact you within 48 hours of the first business day after receiving your request.

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Last Updated: 20 May 2024 (CareerLink POC updates)

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