Veterans' Employment Services in Michigan: May 2022 Newsletter

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

May 2022

Veterans' Employment Services Newsletter


About Veterans’ Employment Services

VES logo

Welcome to the 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.

  • 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

Honoring Service Members and Veterans During Military Appreciation Month

Military Appreciation Month banner

May was officially designated as Military Appreciation Month by Congress in 1999 to honor service members and recognize the freedom everyday Americans enjoy due to their service. Every year, the president issues an annual proclamation reminding Americans to celebrate this patriotic month that pays tribute to those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Although the entire month is designated to honoring past and present military members and their families, May is also home to other military-specific holidays, including Loyalty Day, VE Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day.

We want to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for your service. 

Employment Readiness Series: Salary Negotiation

June 6 Employment Readiness flyer

Join Veterans' Employment Representative Kendal Kettle for the next installment of the Employment Readiness Series on Monday, June 6 from 11 a.m to noon.

Kendal will give a presentation covering the do’s and don’ts of salary negotiation.

Register for the virtual event here.

The Michigan Veterans' Employment Services and the Michigan National Guard Family Programs teams have partnered to ignite the potential of our stakeholders through weekly tips and monthly presentations.

Whitmer Announced Grant to Connect Veterans with Registered Apprenticeships in the Construction Industry

person in construction vest

Earlier this month, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) awarded Helmets to Hardhats a $250,000 grant to support the Michigan Construction Apprenticeship post-Military Opportunity (MiCAMO) Program that will connect 225 Veterans with Registered Apprenticeships in Michigan’s construction industry.

“The MiCAMO Program offers active-duty and retired military Veterans meaningful career opportunities in Michigan’s construction industry,” said Governor Whitmer. “To continue fixing our roads and bridges so people can go to work or drop their kids off at school safely, we need high-quality construction completed by highly-skilled workers. The MiCAMO Program will empower those who served land a good-paying, high-skill, and in-demand job and help employers fill open positions. We will stay focused on growing our economy and turbocharging our progress to keep fixing our infrastructure.”

Read more about MiCAMO here

A Few Questions With...

Phil Lemieux

Phil Lemieux, VCA, Paw Paw

How has your military experience helped you in your position as a VCA?

Serving more than 25 years in the military has provided me with multiple tools to assist in my role as a VCA. First and foremost is the ability to maintain professionalism and actively listen without judgement when meeting with veterans. Additionally, the similar experience of service allows me to quickly connect and build trust with veterans and create a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities as we collaborate towards their career/employment goals.

What should veterans expect when they meet with a VCA?

Veterans should expect a superior level of customer service focused on addressing their barriers to employment. Through an interview,  we'll formulate a plan to address barriers which may include pre-vocational services as well as referrals to other entities within the community, state and federal government. Veterans should expect constructive feedback and accountability as we work together to overcome those barriers.

What resources do you recommend for veterans seeking employment?

I would recommend utilizing LinkedIn to network with friends and other veterans that are currently employed with a company or in a career field you're interested in. This can greatly increase your chances for obtaining an interview.  

I would also recommend visiting to assist in translating civilian and military skills. Remember to be creative when thinking about the duties and responsibilities of junior and senior leaders in the military. Often times veterans will focus on their military specialty and shortchange their management, administrative, human resources and logistics skills they utilized successfully in the past. 

Grand Traverse County Veterans Affairs at the Northern Michigan Veterans EXPO

Northern Michigan Veterans Expo banner

If you're in the Traverse City area, save the date for The Northern Michigan Veterans Expo on Friday, June 17. The EXPO is a large resource fair to educate veterans and their dependents on all benefits they are eligible for. Specialist will be on site to discuss with you:

  • Assistance in filing VA Claims
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Local Non-profits that help veterans

Attendees will also receive an event bag with swag and raffle tickets. Find out more information and register for the event here.

Explore Trades Careers During Professional Trades Month!

Professional Trades Month graphic

Many businesses require highly skilled workers to fill a multitude of trades jobs in the construction, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, mobility and service industries. With nearly 530,000 Michigan jobs and 47,000 annual openings in the professional trades projected by the year 2028, it has never been more important to make note of these critical fields.

In Michigan, professional trades careers pay about 30% higher than the statewide median for all occupations, with a median salary of nearly $59,000. Many of these high-demand, high-wage careers do not require a four-year degree and have pathways that focus on credentials, certificates, on-the-job training, registered apprenticeships and other preparation elements.

Explore training opportunities for these careers at

Veterans Helping Veterans banner

Veteran Success: Veteran Relocates, Get Help Finding Well-Paying Career

Alvin Colson

Army veteran Alvin Colson relocated to the Delta County area after losing his job in Milwaukee during the pandemic. Following his move, Alvin personally paid for and enrolled in Midwest Trucking Driving School to gain a CDL certification and heavy equipment operator licenses. Then in January 2022, Alvin visited Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! and began working with Veteran Career Advisor (VCA) Paul Burke.

Paul wasted no time getting Alvin into case management and immediately referred him to the Veteran Service Officer in Delta County to begin the process for a disability rating increase.

Because Alvin was struggling to pay his bills and buy groceries, Paul facilitated a referral to Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency (MDSCAA) where they were able to provide financial assistance with Alvin’s monthly bills and helped Alvin obtain food assistance benefits. In addition, Paul coordinated assistance from Local Veteran Employment Representative Kendal Kettle to gain information on scheduling of an appointment at Ishpeming Michigan National Guard Armory to obtain a new military retirement ID card.

After Alvin filled out the Michigan Works! resume packet, Paul helped Alvin draft and format his resume. Paul also provided Alvin training on how to conduct online searches for employment opportunities in the area.

Once Alvin was job ready, Paul submitted the official referral to Kendal, and she provided Alvin with various employment opportunities in alignment with his employment goals. With Kendal's help, Alvin applied for and interviewed for a Heavy Equipment Operator position at Payne & Dolan, and a Construction Foreman position with CJR Construction. Alvin is now employed with CJR Construction making $20 per hour! 

Join the Michigan Women Veterans Conference in Lansing this June!

mvaa women veterans conference

This year, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency will host the first-ever statewide conference for the 43,000+ women veterans who live, work and play in Michigan on June 10-11. After two years of social distancing and pausing in-person interaction and events, it's time to come together in our community of women veterans and learn about advocacy — particularly self-advocacy and community advocacy.

Build friendships, sisterhood and learn how to get the benefits you have earned and deserve. You’ll learn:

  • How to advocate for your mental and physical health.
  • How to advocate for others by learning how to run for office in your local community or apply for a commission or board.
  • How to advocate for yourself in your job and get that raise or promotion.

This conference is jam packed with content, networking and tools to take your life up a notch! Register now!

Free Veterans National Park Access Pass

National Park Access pass with flying owl

The Access Pass, part of the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series, is available FREE for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.

The Access Pass may be issued to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of any age that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability (does not have to be a 100% disability) that severely limits one or more major life activities. Applicants must provide documentation of permanent disability and residency or citizenship.

Read more about the pass here.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Just like your physical health, you should prioritize taking care of your mental health.  

Take a look at the resources available from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at You’ll find behavioral health guides, mental health webinars, a free and anonymous counseling hotline, tips about coping for kids and adults and more!

Virtual Job Fair Calendar banner

Check Out these Upcoming Job and Career Events

An up-to-date list of upcoming job and career events is available on Pure Michigan Talent Connect’s Career Events Calendar.

PGK Services Hiring Event

June 2, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.  
Event Address:
GST Michigan Works! - 711 N. Saginaw St., Flint, MI 48503

PGK Services is hiring Warehouse Associates at $16 per hour for first shift in TK Global in Howell.


Penske In-Person Hiring Event

June 2, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.  
Event Address:
Livonia Michigan Works! - 30246 Plymouth Rd, Livonia, MI 48150

Penske has many openings across all shifts, including warehouse janitors, material handlers, forklift operators, inventory control clerks, shipping/receiving clerks and more!


MilitaryX Veterans Virtual Job Fair

June 10, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Event Link: Register using this link

Don't miss this opportunity to connect with more than 40 companies looking to hire service members in this three-hour event. 


Recruit Military Virtual Career Fair

June 21, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Event Link: Register using this link

This online recruiting event is open to all U.S. military job seekers an their spouses. Come meet employers looking to hire in central U.S.


Virtual Job Fairs Count as Work Search Activity in Michigan
Registering for and attending Virtual Job Fair events supported by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity count as official work search activities required by the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Check out upcoming Virtual Job Fairs by visiting Pure Michigan Talent Connect’s Career Events website.

Event Success Tips

  • Be Prepared: Charge your phone and practice your elevator pitch.
  • Keep an Open Mind: You never know which company has the perfect job for you.
  • Work the Room: Stop by every booth and share your QR code with every organization.
  • Rule of 3: Get at least three company follow-ups.
  • Apply as You Network: Apply to open positions while you network with recruiters.
  • Smile: Be confident. You've got this!

Health and Other Resources


Health Resources

Additional Resources

Health Benefits: 877-222-8387
Other VA Benefits: 800-827-1000

Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255
Homeless Services: 877-424-3838

Health Benefits

Veterans Crisis Line 

Mental Health

Homeless Services


Readjustment Counseling (Vet Centers) 

Disease Prevention

Compensated Work Therapy

Women Veterans Health Care

Substance Abuse Programs

Geriatrics and Extended Care

National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 
Rural Health 


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.