Colonel Larry Phelps Finds Employment After Service to Our Nation

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When the lights click on at the Contract Professionals, Inc. (CPI) offices long before 8 a.m., the CPI staff sets to work with one goal in mind; to put veterans to work. A global staffing top secret cleared technical solution company founded by Steve York in 1982, and headquartered in Waterford, Michigan; CPI has spent more than 34 years partnering with companies to provide work to veterans after they have been discharged from the military.

“As a veteran and the CEO of CPI, I feel a deep obligation to ensure that my fellow veterans are given the opportunity to thrive long after their military careers have ended,” said York. “When they succeed in the civilian marketplace, then CPI has done its job.”

Of particular note is the successful placement and career advancement of Colonel Larry Phelps. One of ABC’s Persons’ of the Week 2006, Colonel Phelps has made a career out of making a difference.

Responsible for notifying, comforting and working with families when a soldier loses their life in the line of duty or if they are lost in battle, Colonel Larry Phelps was the commander of the Army’s 1st Cavalry Rear Detachment. In short, he was responsible for the 18,000 families left behind as the troops went over seas to Iraq. Part of his job was to manage the process for those who made the supreme sacrifice. But more than the bearer of bad news, Colonel Phelps cared for every family member, attending to every possible need.

Colonel Phelps handled everything from getting lawns mowed to managing financial issues. He was also the last person to see every soldier before their deployment. “We really thought it was very important for each soldier to see the rear detachment commander as they boarded the plane. It was a tangible sign that we were taking care of them and their families. We took it all very seriously,” said Colonel Phelps. “We wanted to be there and give reassurance and shake their hands. If there was uncertainty in their eyes, we wanted them to know that we were standing watch.”

Colonel Phelps’s position was created after the first Gulf War. Before then, all of the care giving was the responsibility of the wives and husbands left behind.

Colonel Phelps enlisted in the Army in 1978. For the next 32 years, he would develop a highly advanced skill set, which would ultimately position him as an extremely desirable candidate for employment in the business sector.

As a Commander of a Sustainment Brigade, his last position in the Army, Phelps honed his skills in supply, maintenance, transportation, human resources, finances, health services, field services, and the entire process at it relates to the contracting and procurement of business.

Colonel Phelps also commanded various units throughout his Army career, which sharpened his leadership and personnel management skills. I rely on my leadership skills on a regular basis, now that I’m in the business community. I learned a great deal about planning, resourcing and directing large groups of people, in order to accomplish a common mission,” said Colonel Phelps. “The Army is a team. And team building is an important skill set, which you acquire and refine as you progress up the ranks in the Army. These leadership and team building skills are every bit as necessary in the business community.”

During his tenure in the Army, Colonel Phelps was also deployed on several combat tours. He reflects now on his time in the line of fire as an opportunity to differentiate between the important and the critical. “That sense of urgency and my ability to prioritize has certainly served me very well.”

Now retired from the United States Army, Phelps understands the power and synchronicity of finding and developing the right relationships at the right time. After all, he had spent part of his military career managing the lives of those who really needed his support. He was a friend, confident, brother, father, and the all around “go to” person rolled into one.

After completing his service in the Army, Phelps found himself in the unlikely position of looking for his own mentor; someone who could help him transition back into a civilian job. More specifically, he was looking for a way to put the expertise he had gained in the Army to good use. “As a veteran, it’s sometimes difficult to just get your foot in the door in the very competitive marketplace,” said Colonel Phelps. “I think that’s exactly what CPI can do. They can open doors and connect you to great companies.”

When Colonel Phelps got in touch with CPI, they knew he was uniquely qualified to take the skills and discipline he developed during his years of service, and apply it to the civilian workplace. Because CPI understands how to help veterans make a smooth transition from active duty to civilian employment, CPI’s team of recruiters set to work to find him the perfect fit.

Although smaller in scale, CPI is joining Fortune 500 companies across America in a concerted effort to employ veterans. The 100,000 Jobs Mission will hire an additional 100,000 U.S. military veterans by 2020. The coalition consists of companies from every industry including Detroit-based GM, BAE Systems, IBM, Aetna, Coca-Cola, Hershey, Halliburton, Western Union, Bridgestone, Merck, Grainger and several more. And there’s more. Companies like Disney, Starbucks and Capital One Financial all have their own programs that seek to target, train and employ veterans. CPI is proud to share the same vision of some of the best-known companies in the world.

“This didn’t happen by accident,” said Colonel Phelps. “CPI was instrumental in helping me find a company where I was given the room to lead and grow. My Army team refined my leadership and technical skills during my time in the service, and now my employer, a large, DOD Michigan supplier is honing those skills even further.”

After accepting a contract position with CPI, Colonel Phelps went on to receive a direct hire position as a Senior Logistics Analyst. “CPI made it just as simple to move on to the DOD supplier, as it did for me to hire on to CPI in the first place, said Colonel Phelps. “I was armed with the great training and the experiences I had while I was employed as a contractor. After that, I felt fully prepared to take a full time direct position with my employer.”

Phelps was honored to accept an offer of full time, direct employment. “I think there were several factors that played into that decision. My time with CPI was one of them.”

Because CPI has employed over 2000 veterans since the year 2000, the company has already been leading the way. It would follow that CPI would join the nation wide movement to educate, train and provide employment to veterans. CPI is working everyday to give our veterans the opportunities they require to thrive in the new economy.

“We have a real opportunity to help companies increase their productivity and profitability. Veterans like Colonel Phelps bring a strong work ethic and the ability to seek out and fix weaknesses,” said Jim Cowper Pesident, CPI. “We aren’t doing anyone any favors. Putting veterans to work makes our economy stronger.”

One of the biggest challenges veterans face is the ability to find work that maximizes their skill set. Many vets go back to work but report that they are being under utilized. They take the job because they need to, not because they’ve been given the proper pay or the ability to utilize their advanced skill sets.

“CPI already has strong history of putting veterans to work. It’s simply a matter of bringing it to scale,” said Cowper. “Colonel Phelps is a perfect example of where opportunity, skill and positioning meet. We worked extremely hard to ensure his transition to contract work at the DOD supplier went flawlessly. We are very proud of the outcome.” Find out more about CPI at their website www.cpijobs.com

Getting Ready to Re-enter the Workforce

LinkedIn

Working from home is an option to consider.

Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for a short while or it’s been a number of years, it can be challenging to re-enter that world. Work environments and culture can change quickly. Brushing up on the latest technological advancements employers are using is a great first step. Familiarizing yourself with technology will help ease the transition into the workforce and provide you with much more marketable skills.

Social media                                                  

Social media is a powerful business tool for companies and for job seekers as well. Get to know companies that interest you through various social media platforms.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all good ways to learn about a company’s culture.

Virtual workspaces
Be prepared to work in a virtual workspace where coworkers and clients meet without being in the same physical place.

To get more information and to view demonstrations on virtual meeting places, check out Go To Meeting, WebEx, Skype, Adobe Connect, and Google Hangouts.

Telework
Telework, or telecommuting, allows an employee to work from home and can be a way for companies to cut some expenses. Many industries offer part-time and full-time telework opportunities, like customer service and support, sales, editorial/creative and technology development.

The tools required for telework include:

  • computer
  • high-speed Internet connection
  • appropriate software
  • telephone
  • phone headset (suggested)

A virtual office is the space in which an employee who was hired to work remotely works from, usually in his/her own home. A number of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership employers offer spouses the opportunity to work from virtual offices 100 percent of the time.

Updating your skills

The entire hiring process may be carried out through the Internet (searching for and applying for a job online, interviewing virtually, scanning and submitting required documents and contracts via email), so you will want to be comfortable with basic Internet applications before you begin your job search. It is also important to be familiar with the current version of standard industry tools for word processing, email communication and spreadsheets.

If you’re interested in learning more about the technologies listed above, consider signing up for some classes. Many schools, libraries and other organizations offer free or low-cost training on computers and computer software applications. You can also take specialized courses to obtain certifications for many software applications.

If you have questions, would like additional information or personalized assistance with employment or education opportunities, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to talk with a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career counselor.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

15 Benefits of Hiring Military Veterans

LinkedIn

It’s tough to find good help these days. According to one recent survey by Silicon Valley Bank, four out of five US businesses are planning to increase their headcount over the course of 2017 — but 90 percent of executives say they’re finding it extremely challenging to track down the right talent to help their businesses grow.

One solution to that talent crunch could be for business owners to start thinking about veterans.

At present, there are nearly one million unemployed military veterans across the United States. Many of them are desperate for work — and from an employer’s perspective, the unique qualities veterans possess could make some ideal job candidates. The government has also made a point of introducing a variety of benefits and incentives for business owners willing to take a chance on out-of-work veterans.

But if you’re still in doubt, here are 15 reasons your business could benefit from hiring military veterans:

Veterans are Goal-oriented

Very few professions focus exclusively on goal completion — but one that does is the military. Veterans are trained in engineered environments that target nothing but mission achievement, and military personnel are taught to exercise collaboration, cooperation and personal development in order to achieve their targets.

Veterans are Trained Leaders

If you’d like to foster in-house talent and hire genuine leadership candidates, veterans are a natural fit. Experts say the average Marine is recruited at age 19 and by age 20, is typically promoted to become a non-commissioned officer and placed in high-stress leadership roles.

Veterans Take Responsibility Seriously

From day one, military personnel are trained to take their jobs extremely seriously. They have it drilled into them that stupid mistakes, bad decisions or blatant oversights can get their comrades seriously hurt — or worse. You can’t unlearn that, and so veterans will usually bring that enviable level of precision into the workplace

Veterans Know How to Make Decisions

The military is strategically designed to create leaders — and in doing so, it forces all recruits to embrace their intuition. Veterans have been trained to absorb every single piece of information they can find before making a snap judgement, and so they can typically be relied upon to make the best choice available at any given time.

Veterans Speak Their Minds

Although they’ve been trained to obey orders, very few veterans are “yes men”. Because of their leadership experiences and intuition skills, as employees, veterans won’t shy away from flagging mistakes or asking the boss to think twice about a big decision.

Veterans Work Well Independently

 If you’re after an employee who you’ll be able to trust managing crucial processes in your business, you can’t do better than a veteran. Studies indicate military personnel are more likely to take major initiative than their co-workers — which is probably why U.S. veterans are also 45 percent more likely to start their own businesses.

Veterans Have a Great Work Ethic

When you’re in the military, slacking off isn’t an option. Every task you’ve been asked to do must be done for a reason, and veterans have been trained to understand that. As a result, you can expect veterans do understand the meaning of hard work.

Veterans Can Help You Organize

The military thrives on structure and organization. It’s their bread and butter, and all personnel are trained from day one to embrace that organization. If your business is in need of a bit of help in terms of structure, veterans have the skills needed to steer you in the right direction.

Veterans Receive Education Assistance

If you want employees who are always looking to learn new skills and enhance their personal development, veterans have got a leg up on the competition. Thanks to government-provided financial assistance, veterans are able to take advantage of accreditation opportunities and degree opportunities that could bolster your businesses talent pool.

Veterans Know Technology

Military personnel are typically trained to understand the ins and outs of complicated mechanisms and technological procedures — and as a result, they’re likely to track industrial trends and strive to keep your business up-to-date on those trends.

Veterans Understand Globalization

In this day and age, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a small business in America that isn’t touched by globalization in some shape or form — whether they’re outsourcing manufacturing, shipping to customers abroad or purchasing exotic commodities like coffee or cocoa. When you’re trying to develop a strategy that takes these international factors into consideration, it helps to have a military mind on standby. A lot of veterans will have overseas experience, language skills and intimate knowledge of global markets that make for a great business asset.

Veterans Understand Health and Safety

If you’re operating in an industry that must adhere to strict health and safety standards, hiring a veteran will save you a lot of time and energy in training. Veterans are trained to take health and safety protocols extremely seriously, and have a proven track record performing in a drug-free workforce guided by personal health and fitness.

Continue onto Small Biz Trends to read the complete article.

Why veterans can fill your company’s tech skills gap

LinkedIn

A new Amazon initiative to train veterans for technical roles sheds light on an untapped talent pool with an important skillset.

The US Department of Labor recently partnered with Amazon to create an apprenticeship program that trains veterans for technical roles at the online giant, shedding light on how other companies can access the large, untapped veteran workforce to fill tech skills gaps.

In May 2016, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos laid out the company’s goal of hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021, and training 10,000 more in cloud computing skills. The first cohort of a dozen apprentices under the new partnership will be trained as Amazon Web Services cloud support associates.

“Our hope is that with the experience we gain, the program will expand to additional technical roles and can continue to scale,” Ardine Williams, vice president of talent acquisition for Amazon Web Services, told TechRepublic. “Veterans provide an attractive candidate pool for fast-paced, innovative companies like Amazon, and tech roles offer both a competitive wage and, even more important, a career path.”

Amazon also announced a similar initiative in the UK.

“We’ve found that veterans flourish at our company,” Williams said. “Military service, either directly, or as a spouse, is a significant life experience that fosters focus, resiliency, collaboration, and leadership. Veterans and spouses who combine leading edge tech skills with that life experience are a strong addition to many companies.”

Continue onto TechRepublic to read the complete article.

Getting Ready to Re-enter the Workforce

LinkedIn

Working from home is an option to consider

Whether you’ve been out of the workforce for a short while or it’s been a number of years, it can be challenging to re-enter that world. Work environments and culture can change quickly. Brushing up on the latest technological advancements employers are using is a great first step. Familiarizing yourself with technology will help ease the transition into the workforce and provide you with much more marketable skills.

Social media

Social media is a powerful business tool for companies and for job seekers as well. Get to know companies that interest you through various social media platforms.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all good ways to learn about a company’s culture.

Virtual workspaces

Be prepared to work in a virtual workspace where coworkers and clients meet without being in the same physical place.

To get more information and to view demonstrations on virtual meeting places, check out Go To Meeting, WebEx, Skype, Adobe Connect, and Google Hangouts.

Telework

Telework, or telecommuting, allows an employee to work from home and can be a way for companies to cut some expenses. Many industries offer part-time and full-time telework opportunities, like customer service and support, sales, editorial/creative and technology development.

The tools required for telework include:

  • computer
  • high-speed Internet connection
  • appropriate software
  • telephone
  • phone headset (suggested)

A virtual office is the space in which an employee who was hired to work remotely works from, usually in his/her own home. A number of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership employers offer spouses the opportunity to work from virtual offices 100 percent of the time.

Updating your skills

The entire hiring process may be carried out through the Internet (searching for and applying for a job online, interviewing virtually, scanning and submitting required documents and contracts via email), so you will want to be comfortable with basic Internet applications before you begin your job search. It is also important to be familiar with the current version of standard industry tools for word processing, email communication and spreadsheets.

If you’re interested in learning more about the technologies listed above, consider signing up for some classes. Many schools, libraries and other organizations offer free or low-cost training on computers and computer software applications. You can also take specialized courses to obtain certifications for many software applications.

If you have questions, would like additional information or personalized assistance with employment or education opportunities, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to talk with a Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career counselor.

Source: militaryonesource.mil

Common Challenges During Readjustment to Civilian Life

LinkedIn

Civilians may not be aware of the unique challenges that separating from military service and returning to civilian life can present. Here, we highlight some of these challenges. Veterans may find difficulty with the following:

Relating to people who do not know or understand what military personnel have experienced (and many civilians don’t know that they don’t know!).

Reconnecting with family and re-establishing a role in the family.

–Families may have created new routines during absences and both the family and the Veteran will have to adjust to changes.

Joining or creating a community.

–When moving to a new base or post, the military helps military personnel and families adjust. This structure is often not automatically in place when someone separates from the military. The Veteran and his or her family may have to find new ways to join or create a social community.

Preparing to enter the workforce.

–A Veteran may have never looked for, applied for, or interviewed for a civilian job, especially if he or she had a career in the military. These are new skills he or she will have to learn and master.

–In applying for a job, a Veteran will have to determine how to translate his or her military skills and duties into civilian terms and create a resume.

–A Veteran may have never created a resume. Instead of a resume, the military uses a Field Service Record to detail qualifications, training, and experience.

Returning to a job.

–If deployed with the National Guard or Reserve, a Service Member will have to adjust to resuming their previous job or another similar job at the same company. For some recently returning Service Members, they may find themselves behind a desk in as little as three days after leaving a combat zone.

–Returning to the job may include a period of catching up, learning new skills, or adjusting to a new position. It will also include adjusting to social changes that may have occurred in the workplace.

–During the transition back to work, some Veterans also experience worry and fear about possible job loss.

Creating structure.

–The military provides structure and has a clear chain of command. This does not naturally exist outside the military. A Veteran will have to create his or her own structure or adjust to living in an environment with more ambiguity.

Adjusting to providing basic necessities (e.g., food, clothing, housing).

–In the military, these things are not only provided, but there is often little choice (e.g., you eat at determined times in a certain place, duty station determines your dress).

–Given the lack of choices while in the military, the vast array of choices in the civilian world can sometimes be overwhelming.

Adjusting to a different pace of life and work.

–In the military, personnel do not leave until the mission is complete. In a private sector business, an employee might be expected to stop and go home at 5 p.m., whether the “mission” is complete or not. They may not be apparent to all Veterans.

–Civilian workplaces may be competitive environments, as opposed to the collaborative camaraderie of the military.

–Given the direct nature of communication in military settings, there may be subtle nuances in conversations and workplace lingo that are unfamiliar to Veterans.

Establishing services.

–A Veteran may have to learn how to get a doctor, dentist, life insurance, etc. These services were previously provided by the military.

–A Veteran may also need to navigate the paperwork and process of obtaining benefits and services from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Source: VA.gov

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