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I don’t sympathize with you, I empathize with you

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Veteran Reintegration Program Launches in Jacksonville

 

The solutions lie in the gray area. The intangibles. The soft skills.

 

That’s the approach Jacksonville-based ACCCOLPH, , applies to preparing unemployed veterans for a successful and sustainable career as a civilian.

 

According to the latest employment report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans across the country, while slowly declining, is still above 10 percent. Fortunately, for unemployed veterans in Jacksonville, ACCCOLPH exists to help catapult them into a career path that will not only help them economically, but also socially.

 

ACCCOLPH’s founder, a 22-year US Air Force veteran, Arthur Bendolph, stated that while its programming allows veterans to find their professional niche as civilians, it also enhances their interpersonal skills and provides networking opportunities. These soft skills are what Bendolph, a human resources director, states are crucial to helping veterans adjust to the professional and social demands of civilian life.

 

“Often times, veterans aren’t trained to know that corporate America does not just look for a job candidate with a strong skill set and years of experience. They also look for interpersonal skills in order to ensure their next employee is not only compatible with co-workers, but also to ensure their relationship skills are mature and stable enough to fit inside their industry’s organizational culture,” said Bendolph. “That, coupled with the fact that hiring managers sometimes perceive veterans as being rigid, makes it much more difficult for those lacking soft skills to get hired.”

According to Bendolph, this dilemma occurs too often, and routinely results in qualified veterans not getting a job, promotion or sustaining a meaningful career.

 

“Whether it be in the interview, or later during employment, the lack of honed soft skills poses a threat to the advancement of a veteran’s employment,” Bendolph said. “This void is what we refer to as a ‘blind spot.'”

 

However, this is where ACCCOLPH, aims to bridge the gap with their Veteran Business Development Academy.

 

The ACCCOLPH Leadership Academy Foundation (ALA)  training program configured to address a veteran’s “blind spot.” The academy is designed to accommodate between 20 and 25 veterans

 

who served in Operations Desert Thunder, Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom. In addition to the opportunity to connect with fellow veterans, each ALA student receives a scholarship, provided by community partners and sponsors, which covers all instructional expenses.

 

Specifically, the classes cover topics such as business etiquette, entrepreneurship, multigenerational communication, interviewing skills, resume writing and social networking; and each four-hour class is tailored to help veterans overcome barriers that have thus far hindered an effective reentry into the civilian workforce. This is accomplished through interactive components such as the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, and other training and assessment methods from proven professional development programs, such as Franklin Covey’s “Speed of Trust” and “7 Habits.”

 

“This organization was founded on the old proverb that states, ‘if you give a person a fish, he or she will eat for a day; but if you teach a person to fish, he or she can eat for a lifetime.’ We want to give our fellow veterans the tools to prosper throughout their lives while benefiting the businesses they join or create,” Bendolph said. “Our veterans made admirable sacrifices while serving our country, and they deserve the opportunity to gain the skills needed to capture their dreams alongside the millions of Americans they once protected.”

 

ACCCOLPH is a nonprofit organization founded by veterans, for veterans. For more information, or to provide scholarship support for veterans in enrolling in the ACCCOLPH Leadership Academy Foundation (ALA) , visit www.acccolph.com or call (904) 762-8760.