Need a job? Vets Ready2Work is with you at each step

Lauren Warner
August 16, 2018 - 5:03 pm

Photo courtesy of Melwood Veterans Services


A small group of the veteran community gathered at the Hay-Adams today for The Academy of United States Veterans (AUSV)’s quarterly Power of Collaboration event. The Academy works to highlight the work of veteran service organizations in the DC Metro area.

“We want the civilian community today to know that veterans today are innovators, scholars, pioneers, and entrepreneurs,” says Assal Ravandi, founder and CEO of AUSV, “and whatever it is they do, they possess qualities and skills that they can contribute and are beneficial to the community.”

Ravandi continued, “[o]ur community is often not recognized for the work that they do and the values we bring to the communities. Sometimes we are under-served, and some veterans feel invisible in the eyes of the government, society or even their families.” The Academy’s focus on highlighting VSO’s, paired with understanding the importance of assisting the veteran community from all angles is why AUSV decided that Melwood Veterans Services LLC was chosen to lead the event this quarter.

Melwood itself has been around for 55 years, with a mission of helping people with differing abilities lead fulfilling lives. The Veterans Services organization within Melwood was developed into a non-profit LLC in 2014 with the goal of helping veterans seeking assistance with employment, career development, and community reintegration. Additionally, Melwood just recently earned their PsychArmor Institute certification placing them alongside organizations such as EasterSeals and Wounded Warrior Project, showcasing their commitment to more effectively engage with veterans, service members, and their families.

(Photo courtesy of Melwood Veterans Services)

Their newest program, Vets Ready2Work (VR2W) is aimed at helping veterans looking for employment, whether currently transitioning from the military or years out of the service. “Our case managers specialize in identifying and translating skill sets from the military in order to help the veteran population gain meaningful employment,” says David Blackledge, executive vice president of Melwood Veterans Services.  “Veterans struggling with service-related trauma are often stuck. They’re either ruminating about the past or worrying about the future, and our goal is to help them move forward.”

Essentially VR2W operates on a three-tier system; often times there are veterans who get out, have a resume developed and just need help finding a job, these are tier-1. Then there are veterans who have transitioned out of the service, aren’t entirely sure how to translate their military skill sets and haven’t ever had to do a job interview. These tier-2 veterans are given the opportunity to take advantage of an annual boot camp hosted by Boeing, during which they work on resume building, a series of mock interviews and networking. Tier-3 veterans are in need of more basic resources; so, before helping them job-hunt, Melwood case managers assist these veterans in finding a place to live, transportation and any other quality of life necessities. Once the veterans are stable and supported, then the case managers move them to tier-2.

Melwood also has a partnership with a Richmond, VA, non-profit, Tech for Troops whose sole mission is to provide veterans in need with technology and job skills to rejoin the workforce and boost the economy. This partnership allows the veterans in the VR2W program to receive refurbished computers, free of charge and helps to connect them back into society.

“We don’t need to become technical experts on computers, we partner with someone who already is,” says Blackledge, “we maximize our reach by partnering with organizations in the area that already fulfill niche needs in the community.”

The beauty of an organization such as Melwood’s Vets Ready2Work, is that they know what their strengths are, as well as when to reach out and source help from other resources. Knowing when to reach out for help is a skill that most veterans aren’t always keen on utilizing, so it’s encouraging to see Melwood acting as a role model for the veterans that they assist.

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