LFCC event to help veterans get jobs

Posted: May 18, 2013

The Winchester Star

MIDDLETOWN — An upcoming conference is designed to ease the transition of battle-ready veterans into work-ready civilians.

The Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center will present its second veterans conference June 19 at the Corron Community Development Center on the campus of Lord Fairfax Community College.

“We’re trying to prepare veterans for getting jobs out away from military life,” said SBDC Director Bill Sirbaugh.

The conference is also open to civilians, although they must pay a $25 registration fee, he said.  Golden Seal Enterprises will pay the registration fees for veterans.

Veteran Frank Phillips, who with his wife Marci Carter owns Golden Seal Enterprises, believes in helping the community and veterans.

“Whatever break we can give them for what they continue to do for us around the world is an obligation I don’t mind helping out with,” he said.

Sirbaugh said the event will have 12 sessions, separated into three tracks.

Veterans and civilians can attend sessions on resume writing, franchising and job training, Sirbaugh said, while business owners can learn about tax credits and other benefits that come with hiring vets.

Richard Smith will give the keynote address and will discuss the special challenges faced by veterans entering the workforce, Sirbaugh said.

Representatives from the federal Small Business Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will also be available.

Employers will also be in attendance, according to Sirbaugh. “We’ve got a bank of [seven] businesses in the area that are actively looking, that have jobs to fill.”

“This is open to the general public, too,” he said. “This would be something of interest to everybody.”

Veterans typically face several challenges when returning to non-military employment, Sirbaugh said.

“They’ve been in such a structured organization that sometimes they come off stiff,” he said. “They need to learn to relax more. They’re not standing in front of a commanding officer.

“Also, they’re so tuned in to the military-speak that they forget how to talk civilian. And this puts some hiring people off. They don’t know how to relate.”

Sirbaugh also noted another issue: Veterans sometimes don’t know how to translate their experience into the skills required for a civilian job opportunity.

To register for the conference, visit www.LFSBDC.org, or the center’s Facebook or LinkedIn pages, or call 540-868-7093.

— Contact Sally Voth atsvoth@winchesterstar.com