Veterans' Employment Services in Michigan: January 2021 Newsletter

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Veterans' Employment Services graphic, Priority of Service for Military Veterans, logos of U.S. military branches

January 2021

Veterans' Employment Services Newsletter


Message from Veterans’ Employment Services

VES logo

Welcome to the first edition of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Veterans’ Employment Services (VES) Newsletter.

Our mission is to assist you and your family secure meaningful careers in Michigan. The concept of veterans helping veterans is a trademark of the VES team and one of the keys to its success. Veterans face many challenges when transitioning out of the military – finding meaningful employment should not be one of them. The individualized, one-on-one career services provided are designed to assist veterans in reducing or eliminating identified barriers with maximum emphasis directed toward serving veterans who are economically or educationally disadvantaged, homeless, or are vocational rehabilitation clients. This is accomplished through advocacy, community outreach, engagement and encouragement.

Introducing your Veterans’ Career Advisors

Photo of Veterans' Career Advisors

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), in partnership with Michigan Works! agencies, has dedicated Veterans’ Career Advisors (VCA) who provide intensive and individualized employment services to eligible veterans and spouses by assisting them with overcoming significant barriers to employment. These services include, but are not limited to, guiding the program participant through the process of:

  • Comprehensive assessment interviews
  • Career guidance services
  • Individual Employment Plans
  • Staff-assisted job search activities
  • Labor Market Information
  • Basic staff-assisted career services

Other responsibilities of the VCA include case management, outreach services to veterans and group job counseling, which differs from licensed counseling.

To explore all training and employment options available to job seekers, simply identify as a veteran or eligible spouse at any Michigan Works! Service Center and request to speak with a Veteran Career Advisor.

Introducing your Local Veterans Employment Representatives

Photo of Veterans' Employment Representatives

LEO, through its Michigan Works!  partnership, has dedicated Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER) whose role is to build relationships with employers and engage in advocacy efforts with hiring executives and managers to increase employment opportunities for veterans. LVERs advocate for all veterans served by the Michigan Works! Agencies to business, industry and other community-based organizations by participating in appropriate activities such as:

  • Planning and participating in job and career fairs
  • Conducting employer outreach
  • In conjunction with employers, conducting job searches & workshops as well as, establishing job search groups
  • Coordinating with unions, apprenticeship programs, and businesses to promote and secure employment and training opportunities for veterans
  • Coordinating and participating with other business outreach efforts

Veterans in need of employment assistance should contact the nearest Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Center by calling 800-285-WORKS (9675), or visiting

More information about Veterans’ Employment Services is available at

Register today and start your job search at Pure Michigan Talent Connect at

Veterans Priority of Service versus Veteran Preference

Priority Veteran graphic image

It is common for veterans to use the phrase "Veteran’s Priority of Service" and "Veteran Preference" interchangeably – please know there is a difference. Each is based in law, with Veterans Priority of Service focusing on career readiness and Veteran Preference granting a preference to veterans in Federal hiring.


Veterans Priority of Service

Lead agency: US Department of Labor (DOL)

Legal authority: The Jobs for Veterans Act, PL 107‐288

Service: Career Readiness

Michigan Works! Services Centers ensure priority of service to veterans and their eligible spouses for all DOL-funded job training programs. Veterans' and eligible spouses’ priority of service means the right of veterans and eligible spouses to take precedence in obtaining all employment and training services. Depending on the type of service, this may mean veterans and eligible spouses receive services earlier in time or instead of non-covered persons. Job seeker services offered include:

  • Job Search
  • Job Training
  • Employment Workshops

To access Veteran’s Priority of Service, simply identify as a veteran or eligible spouse at any Michigan Works! Service Center, as well as when registering for employment on Pure Michigan Talent Connect.

For more information on Veterans Priority of Service, contact your local Michigan Works! Service Center.

Michigan Works! Service Centers locations:

Pure Michigan Talent Connect:

LEO Workforce Development:


Veterans Preference in Federal Hiring

Lead Agency: US Office of Personnel Management

Legal authority: 5 U.S.C. 2108

Service: Veterans Preference in Federal hiring

Veterans' Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over many other applicants. Veterans' preference applies to all new appointments in the competitive service and many in the excepted service. Veterans' preference does not guarantee veterans a job and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.

Understanding how veterans' preference works can be a challenge. Veterans' preference eligibility can be based on dates of active-duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, receipt of a Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability.

Only veterans discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions are eligible for veterans' preference. This means you must have been discharged under an honorable or general discharge. Under the VOW (Veterans Opportunity to Work) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, an individual who has reason to believe s/he will be entitled to veterans’ preference upon discharge may apply for a position in advance of the discharge, and receive consideration as a preference eligible, if the service member is able to provide a certification that s/he is expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions not later than 120 days from the date of the certification; the circumstances of the discharge are verified at the time of actual appointment.

If you are a "retired member of the armed forces", you are not included in the definition of preference eligible unless you are a disabled veteran OR retired below the rank of major or its equivalent.

For more information on Veterans Preference in Hiring, go to

Veterans Helping Veterans banner

A Veterans’ Employment Services Success Story: VES Team goes the extra mile to support family’s move to Michigan

Photo of Veterans' Career Advisor Ken Rapelje

Sometimes it just all comes together – and that is exactly what happened when a family that had relocated to Michigan found themselves without jobs or the resources to find them. Fortunately, they reached out to Veterans Employment Services (VES), and that started a team effort that concluded with all three family members securing employment.

Veteran James Hudson contacted VCA Ken Rapelje who did an initial assessment and coordinated activities with the rest of the team. Ken provided much-needed information, direction, and encouragement, assisting with interview preparation, and identifying potential employment options. In the end, James landed a job that was an excellent fit for his skills and interest.

At the same time, the VES team assisted with all the paperwork needed to enroll James in the veteran's financial assistance program. They also worked with James’ wife, Holly, assisting her with her resume and helping to schedule an interview with Great Wolf Lodge, where Holly was ultimately hired. The VES team also assisted James’ son, Austin, helping him get an interview and a job in his field of preference – the auto industry.

Ken and the VES team’s patience, understanding and commitment to their clients make a very real difference in the lives of veterans and their family members. And thanks to their efforts, James, Holly and Austin all have jobs, new hope, and enthusiasm to make their stay in Michigan the best it can be.

Click here to read more, including a “thank you letter” James wrote to express his appreciation for the services he and his family received from VES.

Virtual Job Fair Calendar banner

Check out these upcoming Virtual Job Fairs

West Michigan Works! Virtual Job Fair

West Michigan Works' Virtual Job Fair will be Wednesday, January 20, from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. The job fairs feature multiple employers in different industries, with a variety of job opportunities. Register for a phone call to speak directly to with hiring managers to learn more about their current openings and to discuss your skills and experience. More information is available at

Southfield-Oak Park Virtual Job Fair

The Southfield/Oak Park Virtual Job Fair will be Tuesday, January 26, from 1:00-4:00 PM. Beaumont Health is actively looking for Environmental Attendants, Nutrition Services Attendants, Phlebotomists, Medical Assistants, and Nursing Assistants. More information is available at

SEMCA Virtual Job Fair

The SEMCA Virtual Job Fair will be Friday, January 29, from 9:00 AM-12:00PM and 1:00-4:00 PM. More information is available at

To see the latest job and career events, please visit the Pure Michigan Talent Connect Career Events Calendar.


If you are a veteran looking for information concerning education, health care, benefits or quality of life programs, please visit the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for more information, or call the Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center at 800-MICH-VET. 

LEO and Workforce Development co-brand logo

Veterans' Employment Services is part of Workforce Development, within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's Office of Employment and Training.