Question: Now that I'm getting out of the Armed Forces, how can I convert my military experience toward a civilian career?

There are over 700 different types of occupations within the Department of Defense. To find information on military to civilian occupation comparisons, there is a great "Skills Translator" tool that can help you locate jobs similar to your military occupation. This user-friendly "Skills Translator" tool also provides salary levels and information on future employment outlook and can be found at the military.com website.

To also help in your search, you may want to obtain a copy of your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD From 2586). This document contains education and training data on skills you acquired while serving on active duty. The primary purpose of the document is to assist you with your civilian job search by cross-walking military skills into civilian job fields. Information about this document can be found hereand here.

There is also vet staff available at all One Stop Career Centers throughout the nation to provide assistance in translating military experience to civilian occupations.  

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Question: How can I find out what kind of veterans' preference I have?

The Department of Labor's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Veterans' Employment and Training Service has an "expert system" to help veterans assess the preferences to which they are entitled. Two versions of this system are currently available, both of which help the disabled veterans determine the type of preference to which they are entitled, and the benefits associated with the preference.

Question: What is USAJOBS?

USAJOBS provides worldwide job vacancy information for all Federal agencies, employment information fact sheets, job applications and forms on-line. Job seekers can apply for many positions on-line. USAJOBS is convenient, accessible through the computer or telephone and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can contact USAJOBS through an Interactive Voice Response Telephone System at (703) 724-1850 or TDD (978) 461-8404.

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Question: How do I find out what GI Bill I have and how much I have on it?

You could actually have two GI Bills, depending if you signed up for the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and made your $1,200 contribution or you signed a declination stating you did not want it. Due to your dates of service, you have secured the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 90% tier.

While you have 36 months of entitlements under each GI Bill, you can only use one GI Bill at a time. Under the Rule of 48, you get a maximum of 48 combined total months of benefits.

If you still have 36 months of unused benefits from the MGIB, you could transfer to the Post 9/11 GI Bill after you have used up all 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you would get your $1,200 MGIB contribution back.

If you stay with the MGIB , use up all 36 months of your MGIB benefits and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you can get an additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. So it comes down to if you want the money back or extra months of entitlement. To start using your GI Bill, you need a Certificate of Eligibility which you get by submitting VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. The form is the same regardless of which GI Bill you have. If you are sure you don’t have MGIB , check block 9A in Part II of the form. If you are sure you have the MGIB, then check block 9F in Part II and fill in the rest of the requested information.

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Question: I would like to start cosmetology school and have no idea where to start! I got out of the service in 2010. Can I use the New GI Bill or am I stuck with the Montgomery GI Bill?

Because you have waited to start school, you now can use your Post 9/11 GI Bill for a cosmetology course. One of the changes from the GI Bill 2.0 that took effect on October 1st now allows the New GI Bill to pay for vocational-type courses regardless of where they are taught. Previous to that date, the Post 9/11 GI Bill would only pay for some nondegree granting courses if they were taught at a school also granting degrees.

So if you had a full three years of service, you should have 36 months of benefits that you can use for your school. The VA will pay your tuition and eligible fees and you will get a monthly housing allowance based on the zip code of your school and paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents. Because vocational-type schools normally don’t run on a school credit basis like colleges do, you would get a book stipend of $83 per month instead of the $41.67 per credit as you would in a degree-granting program.

Cosmetology is a good career choice. According to the Bureau of Labor, it is a field projected to grow at a rate of 20% or more out through 2018. While the hourly pay isn’t much ($10.94 per hour on average), tips more than make up for the low hourly pay.

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Question: What services may be available to help get me back to work?

There are three types of services that are potentially available to you at no cost:

All workers have access to core services like those listed below through a local One-Stop Career Center in West Virginia you would go to www.workforcewv.org You may have received information on these services through your Rapid Response team if you were part of a larger layoff. This is the first step in obtaining information such as:

  Unemployment Insurance
Pension Benefits & Health Insurance Coverage
Job Search Assistance
Job Referral
Local Area Job Openings
Resume Assistance
Job Training

If the core services do not produce results, you may be eligible for one-on-one assistance, group career workshops, and other assistance such as:

  Assessment of your Skills and Abilities
Resume Writing Classes
Help in Planning how to get back to work
Stress and Financial Management Workshops
One-on-One Job Counseling

Training Services, like those listed below, may be available to help you get a good job. If you qualify for help you will have access to a broad range of training services. Your One-Stop Career Center will have a list of training programs, descriptions and costs to help guide you in the decision-making process.

  Occupational Skills Training
On-the-Job Training
Skills Improvement
GED Preparation
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Math and Reading Training

Your local One-Stop Career Center can help you identify sources of financial assistance to help pay for training.

Some services for dislocated workers have eligibility requirements. Please check with your State Dislocated Worker/Rapid Response Team or One-Stop Career Center for details.

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Question: What can I do if I think my employer or supervisor is discriminating against me because of my disability?

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has a helpful fact sheet, Employment Rights, Who Has Them and Who Enforces Them, which summarizes the federal laws that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities and provides contact information for further information and assistance.

There may also be applicable laws in your state. Contact your state Department of Labor office for more information.

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Question: Where can I obtain a loan or a grant to help start or grow my small business?

The Small Business Administration has a number of programs to financially and technically assist developing small businesses. The SBA may be reached by phone at 202-205-6600, or toll-free at 1-800-UASKSBA. The Department of Commerce also has programs to assist small businesses (phone 202-482-2000).

While the Department of Labor cannot provide financial assistance to small businesses, the Department does have Compliance Assistance Programs to help small businesses learn of applicable labor laws and regulations. Compliance Assistance information is available by phone toll-free at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365.

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Question: Can I be punished or discriminated against for exercising my rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?

No. The OSH Act protects workers who complain to their employer, OSHA or other government agencies about unsafe or unhealthful working conditions in the workplace or environmental problems. You cannot be transferred, denied a raise, have your hours reduced, be fired, or punished in any other way because you used any right afforded to you under the OSHA Act. Help is available from OSHA for whistleblowers.

See OSHA’s Worker Page for more information: http://www.osha.gov/workers.html.

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Question: What is the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)?

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) supersedes the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) and amends the Wagner-Peyser Act. WIA also contains the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (title II) and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 (title IV). WIA reforms federal job training programs and creates a new, comprehensive workforce investment system. The reformed system is intended to be customer-focused, to help Americans access the tools they need to manage their careers through information and high quality services, and to help U.S. companies find skilled workers. This new law embodies seven key principles. The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a Final Rule implementing provisions of titles I, III and V of the Workforce Investment Act. For further information click here.

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Question: I think I didn’t get a job because the employer didn’t want to hire veterans. Is there anything I can do?

Yes. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits all employers from discriminating against any veteran, reservists, or National Guard members because of his or her past, present, or future military obligation. The law also requires that employers provide reemployment rights after a period of active duty or training. If you think your rights have been violated contact your state director of veterans’ employment and training on this Web site.

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Question: Does the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) apply to very small employers?

Yes. USERRA applies to all public and private employers in the United States, regardless of size. It also applies in overseas workplaces that are owned or controlled by U.S. employers.

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Question: Are there any employment programs designed specifically for older persons?

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) authorized under title V of the Older Americans Act is the only Federally funded employment program for lowincome persons 55 or older.

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Question: How can I get my resume to employers who may want to hire veterans?

Contact your local One Stop Career Center to speak to a representative about getting your resume to employers looking for someone with your job skills or interests.

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Question: I will be discharged from the service in a few months. How can I get ready for civilian life?

More than 111,000 transitioning service members take advantage of a 3-5 day Transition Assistance Program (TAP) workshop offered at 174 military installations nationwide. TAP workshops give information on finding jobs in the civilian labor force and benefits and services available to veterans and their families. Recently legislation was passed that allows military personnel within one year of separating from the military service and service members within two years of military retirement the opportunity to attend TAP workshops. For further information, contact your installation Family Support Center or military command. The e-VETS Resource Advisor is an online tool designed to help veterans preparing to enter the job market. It includes information on a broad range of topics, such as job search tools and tips, employment openings, career assessment, education and training, and benefits and special services available to veterans.

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Question: I am a single mother with no work skills. Where can I go for help?

We suggest you contact Women Work! The National Network for Women's Employment headquartered in Washington, D.C. They assist women with career counseling, job placement, job readiness, and life skills development, and have offices throughout the country. To find the office closest to you, call 202-467-6346.

You may also want to call the Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) tollfree service at 1-877-US-2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627) or use America's Service Locator to find the location of your nearest One-Stop Career Center, where you can go to learn about current job openings and training opportunities in your area.

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