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Helping veterans take the next step

by Kimberlee Craig | Nov 10, 2016

Connie Hill gets service.  The Navy veteran spent five years fixing high-security equipment all over the world to protect us against cyber threats.

Is she willing to work hard? Bring it on – please – says the Wenatchee resident.

But, when it comes to putting her best foot forward in a job interview, she discovered a hurdle in launching a new career.

“Veterans are humble and it’s really hard to sell yourself,” said Hill.

Learning that promoting yourself is essential to landing a civilian job was a key takeaway for her and seven fellow veterans who spent a recent day at Chelan PUD. 

Putting experience to work

This is the third year Chelan PUD and WorkSource have collaborated on the program to help veterans polish career search skills and learn about job opportunities in public power. 

 “We have a responsibility for outreach to the community that includes veterans as we look to attract the best applicants,” said Ruth Erwert, Chelan PUD recruiting manager. “My goal is to help them understand how to translate their military experience to the civilian world.” About 10 percent of PUD employees are veterans.

Veteran-to-veteran

In addition to interview tips and techniques, the veterans get to job shadow PUD employees who also are veterans.

For Hill, that started with a tour of the workshop where technicians troubleshoot and test equipment followed by a whirlwind tour of the powerhouses at Rock Island Dam with technician Travis Dolge. She got a behind-the-scenes look at some of the critical equipment maintained by PUD technicians.

“Most valuable for me was learning about all the job opportunities in this organization,” she said. “Without this opportunity it is hard to know what jobs to apply for.”

Veteran Lance Bruno, an East Wenatchee native, spent time with fleet mechanic Blair Holland. Paired with the help he’s getting from WorkSource, “knowing how to tailor your information to the PUD is very helpful,” Bruno said.

“It’s an awesome event – something unique,” said Luis Torres, a WorkSource counselor from Moses Lake, who joined coworkers from Wenatchee for the day. “It shows the level of commitment and respect Chelan PUD has for veterans.”  

Last year the program received the “Hire-A-Vet Award” from the state Employment Security Department. 

Veterans interested in next year’s program can contact WorkSource in Wenatchee for more information.   
 

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