The Wisconsin Employment Resource Connection (WERC) and the Job Connection Education Program (JCEP) will hold the last of three community employment summits March 26 from 11 a.m. to noon, at the Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) in Madison, Wisconsin.
"The summit is important because it is the last of three events across Wisconsin," said Capt. Joseph Ledger, formerly the manager for the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs' WERC program and now the project officer for National Governors Association Veteran Employment initiative in Wisconsin. The first event was in Green Bay, and the second in Milwaukee. "It's also a celebration event for all of the hard work the programs involved have put forth."
The first two events were held at hotels, but this final summit will be in a military facility and that's important, Ledger said.
The AFRC is a multi-branch facility. Members of the Army, Navy and Marines work at the building with Air National Guard members from Wisconsin's 115th Fighter Wing a relatively short distance from the AFRC.
According to Ledger, the goal of the summit is to inform service members of the employment resources available to them, and to express the strong support from state, local employers and the Wisconsin National Guard.
"The summit is highlighting three civilian career fields — nursing, law enforcement and truck driving," Ledger said. "The processes and licensing requirements for those career fields have been streamlined for veterans and service members with similar military training."
WERC is a Wisconsin National Guard program and JCEP is a National Guard Bureau initiative. The WERC/JCEP team has established partnerships with the Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to ensure the veteran and service member population in Wisconsin is best-served.
Together they have helped more than 870 veterans and service members join the workforce. The program has also helped its customers write and update more than 1,200 resumes, and conducted more than 500 mock interviews.
"We as the Wisconsin National Guard, along with the WERC/JCEP team, have brought down the unemployment rate from 10.1 percent to 3.7 percent for the Army National Guard," Ledger said.
He added that although the summit is emphasizing the nursing, law enforcement and truck driving career fields, it shouldn't deter anyone interested in attending, as there are other employers from different career fields present that work with the WERC/JCEP team.
"It's really open to all service members," he said.