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Newly Formed Kansas City Veteran Coalition, Getting Veterans Hired

by Jessica Palm | Aug 18, 2016

More than 50 companies in Kansas City have partnered to develop The Kansas City Veteran Coalition to help the transitioning of service members leaving the military. TeamKC partner James Elliott, chairman of the Kansas City Veteran Coalition and president of Sprint's VETS Employee Resource Group, talks about KCVC and the valuable resources it offers to returning military members.

As budget cuts continue to loom over the U.S. Military, estimates suggest nearly 250,000 service members will be leaving the military by the end of 2016. Kansas City already has 155,000 Veterans, not including soldiers, airmen and sailors departing their branch from the nearby bases such as Ft. Leavenworth, Whiteman Air Force Base and Ft. Riley.  Given these unprecedented numbers, corporations from around Kansas City created an opportunity to enhance the Veteran hiring experience.

In early April, a team of Veteran Employees from Sprint and UMB Bank teamed up to create an innovative strategy focused on supporting the job hiring of our transitioning service members and Veterans. The Kansas City Veteran Coalition (KCVC) has created a partnership with more than 50 corporations to provide HR and leadership resources to assist with making our service members more competitive in the job hiring market.

The KCVC recognizes the opportunity to position Kansas City as a leading area for Veteran hiring. As a member of the KCVC, service members have the opportunity to receive resume reviews, mock interviews and mentoring from the corporations.

Since launching in April, the KCVC membership has grown to nearly 87 members. Two of our members have already been hired by area employers, while a third member had to decline a position due to a delayed transition date.

The success of the KCVC is predicated on skill set translation and professional network exposure. When members complete the “KCVC Cycle” (resume review, mock interview and mentoring), many are invited back for formal interviews or to learn more about the organization.

One example of how we train our service members to become more competitive, is by creating a mock phone interview. Most of us are used to phone interviews as an initial screening for a job. However, our service members are used to face-to-face interviews regardless of the location. By offering a mock phone interview, the KCVC creates a training opportunity for members to prepare for the first and most crucial step of interviewing.

The next phase of the KCVC is focusing on a “Boots in Cubes” tour, part of a “Bring Your Vet to Work Week”. Corporations from around KC will give members the opportunity to learn more about the corporate lifestyle. Presenting them with an operations overview, followed by an interactive work session where they provide real world challenges/examples of the day-to-day activities. The goal is to create synergies between the military and civilian skill sets.

Check out our recent coverage on Fox 4 News: Network Opportunities for Veterans, and visit the KCVC website for more information.

Contact James Elliott to get your company involved with Kansas City Veteran Coalition, and to learn more about TeamKC, contact Jessica Nelson

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