Skills After Service will be supporting Carry The Load’s Memorial May Campaign this year. Carry The Load is a non-profit organization that provides active ways to connect Americans to the sacrifices made daily by our military, veterans, first responders, and their families. What started in 2011 as a grassroots effort by two veteran U.S. Navy SEALs to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day has now grown into honoring our nation’s heroes 365 days a year.
Each May, Carry The Load hosts its Memorial May awareness campaign to make Memorial Day matter again. People can participate by volunteering to walk alongside our team on our National Relay, attending a Rally, and fundraising for our nation’s heroes. This year, SAS will have a team walking in Austin and we are planning to walk other events with Carry The Load as well – there are 5 trails running across the country, covering more than 22,000 miles with meaningful walks, rallies and other activities across the US during the month of May. Skills After Service will be working to support this effort.
If you would like to join our team to walk, volunteer or to help with our fundraising effort for Carry The Load, let us know.
Skills After Service is working to help make transition to civilian life easier for veterans. We host events, develop curriculum, work closely with other organizations with shared goals. One aspect of providing all of these services is cost. It costs money to provide these services but we do not want to put the burden of covering those costs on the men and women that have already put in their time and served this nation.
We are very pleased to announce a new public-private partnership between Skills After Service and Austin-based nonprofit organization, Transition Skills Training, Inc. TST’s mission is to help make training and career development more accessible and affordable for veterans and their families. One of their new programs includes providing scholarships to veterans and their family members who want to attend Local Biz Camps presented by Skills After Service.
TST Boardmember and Secretary Rebecca Melancon is a recognized leader in the Austin area and is revered nationally as an advocate and mentor for small and local businesses across the country. Her role on the TST board is key for helping veterans who want to start or grow a business in their own community. Rebecca is the Executive Director of Austin Independent Business Alliance and has been a speaker and sponsor of Local Biz Camps, now in a partnership with Skills After Service. “When we came together and decided that there needs to be some way to make sure veterans are not hindered by the cost of participating in skills training, we put our heads together and formed Transition Skills Training in order to make sure there was an official organization, with a clear mission and programs to support, so that we could help veterans and their families,” says Melancon.
Rebecca’s husband is a Vietnam veteran and she has seen first-hand the complicated path required to return to civilian life and to have a career that is valued and fulfilling. One of the ways TST will support veterans is by funding scholarships to attend small business events and other training opportunities. For Skills After Service, that means TST will provide a limited number of scholarships to veterans and their family members who want to attend Local Biz Camps starting in Summer 2019. TST is also developing programs around corporate mentoring, not just for veterans but for hiring managers and directors in large organizations.
One of the important aspects of our work with TST will be to help fund research and curriculum development for psychosocial skills training modules, for veterans and for hiring managers. “We don’t just need to train veterans,” says CJ Niehoff, Founder and Managing Director of Skills After Service. “We need to make sure that HR Directors across the country know that there is an extraordinary, skilled and loyal workforce out there that remains largely untapped. That means more than just considering veteran candidates. It’s about how companies engage and interact with veteran staff members. We believe there is so much to be gained by bringing certification to the table for both sides. There is a labor shortage right now, across the country, but we have qualified military personnel taking jobs as dishwashers when they are skilled engineers and leaders.”
Skills After Service is excited to develop this public-private partnership with Transition Skills Training, Inc. We will keep our followers updated on progress and new developments as this new relationship evolves.
Skills After Service is excited to announce a new partnership with Local Biz Camps to provide small business education and training for veterans. Local Biz Camps have been providing a unique and powerful educational experience for small business owners and nonprofit professionals since 2016.
Local Biz Camp founder, Julie Niehoff says, “Our events are hosted by local business leaders offering real-world, practical advice for growing revenue, lowering costs and improving the day-to-day experience of managing it all. Participants come away empowered, inspired and more connected to their own local business community.” She is the former Director of Education for small business powerhouse Constant Contact and played a key role in growing the company’s global education initiative starting with a handful of free seminars in a few key cities in 2006 helping to nurture that program into an international effort hosting more than 10,000 seminars annually.
The goal of the partnership between Skills After Service and Local Biz Camp is two-fold. First, provide entrepreneurial veterans with an outlet for education and engagement with their own local business communities. Second, to generate awareness and understanding for civilian business owners about working next to and with veteran business owners. CJ Niehoff, Skills After Service founder and Managing Director, says, “We realized early on that this whole effort to educate and empower veterans was not enough. We also need to educate civilians,” He goes on, “there is misinformation, there is confusion and there is just a lack of knowledge about the number of veterans who are transitioning out of a military career and entering the civilian business sector. These events that Julie has been hosting for years now are just a perfect match to have those conversations without having to bore people with lectures and presentations. We just want them in the room together.”
Local Biz Camps promise participants no long or boring slide presentations, no over-your-head tech speak and absolutely no pushy sales agenda. Most events are half-day so that busy business owners already wearing too many hats can make the time to get away for an afternoon and gain some knowledge about marketing strategy, new tools to help grow a business, leadership, mindset, operational methods. These are peer-to-peer conversations with local business leaders and counselors on hand to provide a road map. One participant at a recent Austin event said, “I came to this event thinking I was going to leave early but they pulled me in and I actually wanted to be there.” Another says, “I went to another very expensive workshop last week in Dallas and got more out of the first half hour at Local Biz Camp than I did in two full days and thousands of dollars spent at the other event.”
Local Biz Camp presented by Skills After Service will include standard topics like marketing or management but now they will also include some veteran-focused topics that will be useful to all participants, not just the vets. There are also local organizations on hand like Small Business Development Centers, SCORE Mentors and the SBA on hand to provide free assistance. “This partnership is more than two organizations coming together. This is community-building, practical advice and strength in numbers”, says Camp founder Julie Niehoff. “We are so excited to be part of the Skills After Service effort to help military families find their own path into a meaningful and fulfilling career.” 2019 camp dates and cities will be announced in June 2019. Cost to attend is typically between $40 and $80 and Skills After Service is working to ensure that veterans and their spouses will be able to attend at no cost.
Local Biz Camp website
Small Business Development Centers
Small Business Administration Info for Veteran-owned Businesses