Grant helps Spouses Dress for Success
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. On that note, Mt. Carmel established the Dress for Success Grant for current and former spouses enrolled in our MilSpouse Career Program who are in an active job search.
The 2019 applicant essays were reviewed and winning recipients awarded a $200 grant for job interview attire from Dillard’s of Citadel Mall. Assistant Store Manager Sue Truex proudly helps each recipient. “My son is a former Marine; I see the need, I love clothes, and I love to help veterans, military, and their families,” said Sue. Sue recently helped grant recipients Precious Wallace and Katrina Atkins with their selections.
“I’m so excited about winning this grant,” said Precious. “I’m looking for part time work as a hostess or a front desk receptionist.” For Katrina, the grant was perfectly timed – she was preparing for a conference at CSU Pueblo. “Sue was amazing in helping me pick out items that would work for my career field. She has such a heart for the military and it was a wonderful experience for me. I can’t believe how many items I was able to bring home! I left in tears,” said Katrina. “It has been disheartening looking for work for the past eight months, however I have felt so supported by Mt Carmel. Every time I thought I reached an end, there was another class or presentation that helped me a bit more and gave me more hope. You all are truly making a practical impact on the military community.”
Mt. Carmel’s Janet Farley, MCP program manager, is helping Precious, Katrina and others with resumes, job search and more. In the 15 months MCP has been active, more than 180 spouses have enrolled. Today, more than 70 are employed with an average salary of $17.34/hour ($36,067 annually). While military spouse unemployment remains high at 26 percent nationwide with underemployment at 56 percent, the Mt. Carmel MCP is working to change that for the better.
“I’m so grateful to our donors and partners who made the 2019 Dress for Success Grant a possibility; I’m even happier for our job-seeking military spouses who I know appreciate the assistance,” said Janet. Thirteen women and two men applied to for the grant including seven spouses of active duty members and eight spouses of veterans. Ten are searching for work; five are underemployed.
The effort was supported with $500 from the Ft. Carson Mountain Post Spouse’s Club; $650 from the Kenneth King Foundation; and $50 from Military Spouses Wanda Williams and her daughter, Dee Green. Essay panelist Tammy Whalen of HomeSmart was so impressed with one essay, she donated $200, allowing grants for seven total applicants.
National Honors for Local Veterans Apprenticeship/Partnership, Dec 18, 2018
A local sheet metal apprenticeship, highly-popular with Pikes Peak region veterans, and partnered with Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, has earned top honors from the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The paid apprenticeship conducted by the Colorado Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee earned the 2018 Platinum Hire Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award.
“This is a highly-successful apprenticeship with over 120 direct referrals from Mt. Carmel,” said Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel Chief Operating Officer. “The JATC is a fantastic program for veterans who want to work with their hands and get into a skilled trade with great upward mobility. Mt. Carmel is proud to support the needs of all veterans enrolled in this incredible program.”
Program participants gain training, experience and certifications, earning $17 an hour as a first-year apprentice with graduates typically earning six figures with benefits.
“Partnership with Mt. Carmel ensures mental health and supportive services are available to all veterans enrolled in our four-year apprenticeship, a requirement for certification of our program,” said Andy Gilliland, Apprenticeship Training Coordinator. “This program provides job-ready, motivated individuals equipped with leadership skills and life experience who are immediately needed in our regional workforce. “
The partnership with the sheet metal union and Mt. Carmel developed into a strong alliance to the benefit of transitioning service members and regional employers, according to Murphy Company Foreman, Army Veteran and program graduate, Greg Daniels. “It was incredible to be a part of something so much bigger than myself, and the partnership with Mt. Carmel amplified all the positive things we all look for in our lives. I recommend the program to everyone, and I refer people to Mt. Carmel on a weekly basis.”
The DOL recognition should be proof to veterans that skilled trades are a safe bet according to Daniel Martinez, Mt. Carmel Director of Employment and Transition, “Our nation is hurting for skilled labor and this is a great program. We can also help connect veterans with local electrical and piping apprenticeships.”
From the Department of Labor Award Announcement, “America’s veterans are proven leaders who bring skills, dedication, and determination to our nation’s workforce,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “To earn a HIRE Vets Medallion Award, job creators must demonstrate a solid commitment to providing veterans with the opportunity to build a meaningful career. This program recognizes a standard for excellence in veterans hiring, and helps veterans identify employers who are committed to advancing veterans in the workplace.”
Photo caption 1: In Celebration at Mt. Carmel, Andy Gilliland, Apprenticeship Training Coordinator, and Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel Chief Operating Officer, display the 2018 Platinum Hire Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award presented to the Colorado Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.
Photo caption 2: At the Colorado Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Center, Veteran Jonathon Barrett, (Right), a fourth-year apprentice, discusses a project with Andy Gilliland, (Center), Apprenticeship Training Coordinator and Mt. Carmel Peer Navigator and Army Veteran Adam Baker. “The greatest value is being part of a serious career field,” said Jonathon. “This is an opportunity for a real livelihood; you won’t find jobs with these benefits and salary just anywhere.”
At the Colorado Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Center, Veteran Jonathon Barrett, (Right), a fourth-year apprentice, discusses a project with Andy Gilliland, (Center), Apprenticeship Training Coordinator and Mt. Carmel Peer Navigator and Army Veteran Adam Baker. “The greatest value is being part of a serious career field,” said Jonathon. “This is an opportunity for a real livelihood; you won’t find jobs with these benefits and salary just anywhere.”
In Celebration at Mt. Carmel, Andy Gilliland, Apprenticeship Training Coordinator, and Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel Chief Operating Officer, display the 2018 Platinum Hire Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award presented to the Colorado Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.
Army Veteran Daniel
Mt. Carmel salutes the resilience & accomplishments of Army Veteran Daniel! The former small arms and artillery repair Soldier currently works full-time at a local call center and just landed a second position at a national retailer’s local distribution center. After the Army, Daniel ran into hard times, experiencing homelessness and unemployment for months before finding Mt. Carmel. With help from his Mt. Carmel Peer Navigator, our supportive services team, and community partners, Daniel’s situation quickly stabilized. Mt. Carmel provided immediate shelter, groceries, personal items and more, bringing in assistance from community partners including Ecumenical Social Ministries (Colorado Springs, CO), Rocky Mountain Human Services, Springs Rescue Mission, and El Paso County, Colorado DHS. “Your staff welcomed me, made me feel at home, and truly helped with everything,” said Daniel. The next focus was employment. With a resume writing workshop from The Pikes Peak Workforce Center and job interview preparation from his Peer Navigator, Daniel quickly found work. “Today, I’m employed, I have a home, food, health insurance, and more,” said Daniel. “Other veterans should know Mt. Carmel is here and will help with finding a job, housing – whatever you need – they are here for you. Today, I’m motivated, I’m happy and so grateful to have a place of my own. I was truly astonished to find an organization like Mt. Carmel,” said Daniel. “Now, I have a sense of fulfillment; I’m happy to be moving forward.” Daniel is also reflective on his success in the workforce. “Professionalism goes a long way; honesty and integrity are huge, maturity and hard work are critical, and a positive attitude, self-motivation and good time management skills are the key,” said Daniel. Mt. Carmel agrees. Congratulations Daniel, we wish you the very best!
Navy Veteran Rodney Dodson
Today we celebrate U.S. Navy Veteran Rodney Dodson! Working closely with our own Janet Farley and Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Rodney landed a full-time position and benefits at a national security firm with offices in Colorado Springs and Denver. The former submarine fire control technician had initially landed a call center opportunity through our partner, The Pikes Peak Workforce Center. Mt. Carmel and VA then provided additional resume, interview, and job search assistance ahead of a Mt. Carmel-hosted mock interview event. During interviews, Rodney was encouraged by his new employer to apply for his current position. “If a veteran is willing to put in the work, Mt. Carmel and its partners are a great resource,” said Rodney. “You elevated my skills to land a job by tailoring my resume, developing my interview technique, and more; you’ve improved my confidence and it made a big difference for me and my family.”
Air Force Veteran Melissa
Congratulations to Mt. Carmel client Melissa! The Air Force Veteran landed a position at USAFA Outdoor Recreation as a Travel Clerk coordinating vacations, adventures and more. Excited to support the military community as she completes her master’s in sports and health sciences, Melissa credited Mt. Carmel for recent success. “Employment Specialist Janet Farley offered great advice to best present my skillsets. This was crucial on my resume and in the interview.” Melissa applied the advice to her networking and learned of another opportunity: an internship to help student athletes — perfectly aligned to her future goals. We wish her the very best as she pursues this opportunity also!
NO PICTURE: Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center is excited to offer a hand-up to client Douglas! An Army veteran, he sought urgent assistance in the wake of a catastrophic vehicle failure this week. The timing couldn’t be worse as Douglas is in the midst of a successful climb from homelessness with help from our partners at the Colorado Veterans Resource Coalition – Crawford House. Through generous financial support from the Colorado Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation, his car was running before the weekend – crucial to attend urgent appointments related to housing and volunteer opportunities. Douglas, and those helping him, have been made aware of the additional employment, transition and behavioral health services offered at Mt. Carmel and we look forward to helping him in the future.
Marine Veteran Daniel Larson
Congratulations to Veteran Daniel Larson! Working closely with our community partner, The Pikes Peak Workforce Center, the Marine veteran landed a carpentry position with veteran-owned Maverick’s Construction and Repair. After a year of homelessness and unemployment, Daniel was referred to Mt. Carmel through a partner agency. Since then, Mt. Carmel provided the former infantryman temporary housing, job search networking, financial management training, and therapeutic yoga classes. Through PPWFC, he is receiving financial management counseling, workforce training, certifications, tools and work boots. “Mt. Carmel changed my world. You’ve provided a foundation to repair my story and start a new chapter,” said Daniel. “It’s difficult to do this alone from the street. Your team, community partners, encouragement and motivation gave me a launch pad to a new life. You helped me break tall barriers I’d established that delayed my own success.” Below, Daniel meets therapy dogs provided by Canine Defined Dog Training with owner Ciera Wilson.
Army Family Stephanie & Robert
We were proud to meet Stephanie and Robert today at the Pikes Peak Community College Community Resource Fair. The young couple has struggled to find the right resources for their family since Robert left the Army in 2014. “It feels suddenly like there’s hope – it’s been a rough few months,” said Stephanie. “I’m going to visit Mt. Carmel with my husband to move forward. I have tears of joy today- what a relief!” Learn more: VeteransCenter.org
Army Veteran Kemi
The Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center is excited for client Kemi McBeth! Today, Employment Specialist Janet is directly assisting her in pursuit of full-time career opportunities. Kemi is a U.S. Army Veteran highly- experienced in logistics. Her post-service experience includes customer service and sales with a national finance and insurance organization. In pursuit of new opportunities, our team and partners are providing Kemi no-cost career counseling, résumé assistance, networking opportunities, unemployment assistance and more. Today, she is signed up for Prep Connect 360, a premier 5-day course that builds on previous jobseeker skills. “My transition out of the service brought me to Mt. Carmel,” said Kemi. “It’s a trusting and warm environment, and the information your team constantly provides in person and over email is jobseeker gold. I’ve recommended the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center to many Veterans, and I’ll continue to do so.”
Air Force Veteran Mike Nero
Congratulations to today’s 21 Prep Connect 360 graduates on completing the premier 5-day course building on previous jobseeker skills. Recent PC360 Alum Mike Nero spoke to the class earlier in the week. The retired Air Force chief master sergeant recently accepted a full time position with Colorado Springs Utilities as the Safety and Health Manager. “PC360 is a wonderful, one-of-a-kind, must-attend program for transitioning veterans,” said Nero. “The course provided valuable tools to help prepare competitive resumes and engage in successful interviews.” Learn more: veteranscenter.org
Air Force Veteran Brett Tudor
Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center is excited for client Brett Tedor! Peer Navigator Adam Baker, and our LeaderQuest community partner George Winn (at right), are directly assisting Brett (at left), as he begins his transition from the U.S. Air Force. Following a career in telecommunications, Brett is beginning his journey toward a post-service career. He has completed the Transition Assistance Program and visited Mt. Carmel to consider his next moves. “I learned about IT certification and employment opportunities through a partnership between LeaderQuest Colorado Springs and Mt. Carmel,” said Brett. “I’ve realized there are more open doors for me than I anticipated. I had no idea many of these opportunities existed, and it has really eased my anxiety about transitioning out of the military.”
WWII Army Veteran Hank Sheeks
The community joined us today to honor 92-year old Retired Army Master Sgt. Harlen L. “Hank” Sheeks. A veteran of WWII, the Korean War & Atomic Energy Commission nuclear tests, Hank was nuked eight times! Previously lost service awards, decorations & badges were re-issued & presented through efforts of the El Paso County, Colorado Veterans Service Office and his retirement flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol by Congressman Doug Lamborn. Special thanks to EPC VSO Carl McDaniel for leading the Pledge of Allegiance; Ret. Army CSM Terrance McWilliams for presenting career highlights; U.S. Army Fort Carson Garrison Commander Col. Ron Fitch, Garrison CSM David Burton, and EPC Associate VSO David Donohew for presenting the awards. Thank you for your service Hank!
Programs with our partners:
Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel chief operating officer, and Tony Archer of Wounded Warrior Project spoke with US Air Force Academy (Official) Class of 2022 cadets during a foundational honor lesson on USAF Core Value: Service Before Self. Through Mt. Carmel, veterans and leaders directly impacted 1,170 new cadets during a multi-day effort. Special thanks to the Class of 2022; Community Ambassador and Bronco legend Randy Gradishar; Veterans Mike Borrelli of Doss Aviation, Nikki Gibson of Operation TBI Freedom, Matt Haley of Wounded Warrior Project; and our own Nicole Holling and Dean Miller.
David Conley, VA Peer Support Specialist, prepares to moderate Veteran X, a scenario-based class at Mt. Carmel to help veterans experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress. Participating veterans are presented a scenario and then work together to find solutions. In the process, they learn of the best community resources to help themselves. Tonight, Veteran X learns the value of advocating for one’s own medical care. Veteran X is conducted Tuesdays, 4:30-6:30 pm
Colorado Springs Airport Transportation Security Agents Brenda, Sabrina & Ruthie delivered 200+ items of clothing & accessories for Mt. Carmel’s Hope Closet. The Clothe-A-Homeless-Hero Act requires TSA to donate clothing items abandoned at security checkpoints to veteran service organizations. Nationwide, TSA collects 500 to 1,000 items daily. Mt. Carmel provides the supplies as an immediate hand-up to homeless veterans & their families. #ThankYouTSA #FLYCOS
Fire Line Band
Happy 4th of July! Proud to celebrate with 1,170 members of US Air Force Academy (Official) Class of 2022! Our partners, hot local country show band Fire Line are leading the effort! To the Class of 2022, thank-you for your commitment to the profession of arms! #AirPower #USAFA #LongBlueLine #Strength&Sacrifice2022 #cadets
Regional Employers / 30 at our Job Fair
Mt. Carmel extends a sincere thank-you to more than 30 employers who attended our job fair for veterans, transitioning service members & their spouses today. For job seekers unable to attend, please visit our Employment & Transition team for tailored, personal assistance. Veteranscenter.org
With VA/Celebrating New Veteran Mothers
Mt. Carmel was proud to welcome nearly 20 expecting mothers today! The expecting mothers, all veterans, were celebrated at a Baby Shower hosted by our community partner, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System. Volunteers from Daughters of the American Revolution (Pueblo Chapter) and Disabled American Veterans (Colo Springs Annex) provided gift bags & refreshments. In addition to providing extensive medical care & benefits, VA celebrates new arrivals with veteran mothers, nationwide.
With VA/Community Veterans Engagement Board
Bob McLaughlin and Kate Hatten, MyVA Pikes Peak Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB) Co- Chairs, welcome VA representatives, local medical providers, and community members to the Veterans Choice Provider Meeting at El Paso County’s Centennial Hall on Monday. Bob is our Mt. Carmel Chief Operating Officer, and Kate is President & CEO of Peak Military Care Network (PMCN). The CVEB represents veterans, advocates, resources, and other stakeholders focused on improving outcomes for veterans, military, and their families.
VA/National Community Clergy Training Program
Mt. Carmel Chief Operating Officer, retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, welcomes faith community leaders for VA’s National Community Clergy Training Program. Conducted on the anniversary of the 1944 D-Day invasion, the program focuses on faith leaders in their effort to support veterans, military members and families with post-traumatic stress and other veteran-specific needs, during and after military service. Discussion included partner roles of veteran service organizations like Mt. Carmel and others. The Pikes Peak region is home to five military installations and the nation’s largest veteran population. Eighty percent of local uniformed military members with a faith affiliation attend services in our community.
Local Bases / Workshops for Transitioning Soldiers
Team members Adam Baker and Jessica Griser conduct a networking workshop at Fort Carson emphasizing the importance of a professional network during a post-service job search and career. The workshop is offered to Soldiers leaving military service in partnership with Fort Carson Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program. Discussion covers networking protocols, potential impact, and local networking opportunities.
UTHealth (Stand4Heroes, Bob Woodruff Foundation)
Mt. Carmel Chief Operating Officer, Ret. Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, welcomes behavioral and mental healthcare providers from across the nation who treat veterans and families. The counselors were at Mt. Carmel for two-day Strong Star Training in evidence-based treatments for PTSD and Cognitive Processing Therapy. The nationally-acclaimed training is affiliated with San Antonio-based UTHealth and funded by Stand4Heroes with the Bob Woodruff Foundation
VA Voc Rehab/Employment
Rob Robinson, VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Coordinator, teaches job seekers to be more competitive for employment during a no-cost employment orientation class at Mt. Carmel. Army Veteran Brian Kotzot learned how his agricultural start-up could be more successful and how a passion for photography could lead to a related career advertised on the USAJobs.gov federal employment website. The class is one of many offered by Mt. Carmel and our community partners. Learn more: veteranscenter.org and https://tinyurl.com/VAVocRehab
Military, Veterans & Spouses Coalition
Our Peer Navigators are in-place at MVEE.org (Chapel Hills Mall/old Gordmans/JC Penny) w/125+ employers/1,500+ jobs!! We provide Career Transition, Behavioral Health & Supportive Services to Veterans, Military & their Families! Learn more: veteranscenter.org #mvee
DIRECT ASSISTANCE TO OUR CLIENTS:
Our team is conducting resume reviews, mock interviews and more to prepare veterans, spouses, and transitioning military for MVEE.org We’re available at Mt. Carmel, at our Ft. Carson SFL-TAP satellite office, and the Pikes Peak Community College MVEE event site. We can help!
Prep Connect 360 & Red Leg Brewing Company
Director of Employment & Transition, Daniel Martinez, introduces our Peer Navigators at the hottest networking event in Colorado Springs! The Peer Navigator event, hosted by our friend & community partner, Red Leg Brewing Company, allows veterans, transitioning military & spouses to connect (and gain feedback on those skills) in a fun environment — offering amazing beer made by an incredible team!
American Job Center / Pikes Peak Workforce Center
Peer Navigators Adam and Jessica provided interview training and feedback today for current Prep Connect 360 students in partnership with The Pikes Peak Workforce Center. Our team is helping veterans, transitioning military and spouses across the region prepare for the MVEE.org event April 15-17. Are you ready? We can help!
Conducting Mock Interviews
Our Peer Navigator team conducts interview prep for Jason Dryden, left, an Army veteran. The effort follows Jason’s completion of Prep Connect 360, an advanced career transition course for service members, veterans and military spouses. Jason sought feedback on his resume and interview technique ahead of a specific opportunity. We’re preparing clients for the largest Job Fairs of the year: Military Spouse Employment Forum May 9/Peterson AFB at hiringourheroes.org/events *and* MVEE.org May 15-17/PPCC & Chapel Hills Mall. Like, share & visit for resume/interview prep & more! Veteranscenter.org
Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center is excited to provide a hand-up to Army Veteran Monique! After a devastating car accident, doctor’s orders ended Monique’s part time employment and college classes, stopping veteran’s education benefits covering rent, utilities and groceries. That’s when she was referred to Mt. Carmel. Through partnerships with Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary – Department of Colorado, The Home Front Cares, Salute Inc., Point Man Outpost of Colorado Springs, and Rocky Mountain Human Services, her rent, utilities, a car payment, and auto insurance were covered. Gas and grocery gift cards were provided, and help with a deposit and first month’s rent allowed her to settle into a new apartment. The El Paso County, Colorado Veterans Service Office at Mt. Carmel is also assisting with veteran’s benefits and she’s been cleared to return to school this fall. “It’s nice to know this type of support exists,” said Monique. “So many veterans don’t realize there is this level of help in our community – often just a phone call away. I’m so grateful and I will pay it forward.”