By Tazanyia Mouton, USAG Natick Public AffairsJuly 20, 2016
NATICK, Mass. (July 20, 2016) -- Last season, the Boston Celtics teamed up with Southern New Hampshire University for a community program focused on supporting veterans as they transition between the military and civilian life.
"Scoring in Transition" began with a series of events involving Celtics' VIPs and veterans working side-by-side to learn career preparation skills such as resume writing, job search tips and interview training.
The Veterans Administration's National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics states that Massachusetts has nearly 368,000 veterans, of which, 4.4 percent were unemployed as of July 2015, according to Labor and Workforce Development.
While the unemployment percentage for veterans dropped by more than a half point in 2015, non-veteran unemployment dropped by nearly double that.
In 2014, the national veteran unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, down from 7.2 percent in 2013. Although the veteran unemployment rate continues to drop, it still outpaces the rest of the United States.
Each year, the military separates between 240,000 to 360,000 service members, according to a White House report from 2013.
More veterans are getting hired now due to a national focus on hiring our nation's heroes, and with this in mind, the Celtics' staff wanted to help.
"For veterans and civilians, it takes a wide range of professional-development experiences to prepare for the job market," said Sam Taub of the Celtics' community relations department. "Our approach was to provide education in three main areas we believed would be the most important to master in preparation for the career fair."
To promote the courses and increase the likelihood that students would retain the information, Taub said they integrated fun activities into each class.
"For example, our resume workshop concluded with B-I-N-G-O for Celtics prizes, our interview training was held at the arena before a Celtics' game, and our employment readiness presentation was followed by bowling," Taub said.
Taub said beyond professional-development experiences for veterans, the event served as a unique platform to display the military assets veterans bring to the private sector.
"We were tremendously pleased with the outcome of the 'Scoring in Transition' hiring event," said Taub. "Six of our corporate partners participated in the event, conducting a total of 43 interviews with 23 local military veterans from SNHU."
Taub said more importantly, the interviews led to follow-up conversations, meetings and job offers between employers and prospective employees.
Phase three of the "Scoring in Transition" program will include a basketball tournament between SNHU's military students and local service members and a back-to-school celebration set for early fall.
"We are grateful to work with SNHU and leverage their transition expertise for 'Scoring in Transition,'" said Taub. "We are excited by the progress we've made thus far and look forward to expanding the reach of this program next season."