For Immediate Release - October 02, 2012

National Association of State Workforce Agencies Honors Massachusetts One Stop Career Center in Plymouth for Exceptional Service and an Innovative Technology Operated by Veterans Seeking Employment

BOSTON - Tuesday, October 2, 2012 – The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development today announced that the Plymouth Career Center, one of the Commonwealth’s One-Stop Career Centers, has received the Mark Sanders Award for Exceptional Service to Disabled Veterans from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies. The prestigious award is given to a local office or a One-Stop Career Center for delivering exceptional services to veterans seeking employment assistance and for the establishment of an innovative program they created called VET NET.

“We are so proud of the Plymouth Career Center’s comprehensive services to disabled veterans. The Plymouth Career Center leads the Commonwealth with a 67% employment rate for disabled veterans who use the Center’s services. The Mark Sanders Award is well deserved and we salute the staff of the Plymouth Career Center for this extraordinary achievement,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Joanne F. Goldstein. “Our 34 Career Centers are well positioned to provide outstanding services to veterans to empower them to learn, grow and succeed in the civilian labor market.” At the Plymouth Career Center, staff members went beyond their impressive programming and created VET NET, an innovative service which utilizes a physical location at the Center, as well as a 24 hour virtual networking group through LinkedIn.”

VET NET Plymouth on LinkedIn currently has over 500 members from Massachusetts and across the nation, including many hiring managers and recruiters who are looking to recruit veterans. This Internet access allows veterans, and those with service-related disabilities to connect with other veterans and employers from across the country and around the globe, regardless of their physical limitations. VET NET Plymouth is also unique in that it is operated by both the Center and veteran jobseekers.

"Congratulations to the Plymouth Career Center on this well-deserved honor," Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. "For many service men and women, returning home serves as another battle in itself. Employment and housing are two of the most difficult challenges that veterans in Massachusetts, and nationwide, continue to face. Our veterans have already sacrificed so much to help keep our families and communities safe and it is our responsibility to help them overcome these challenges. Thank you to all the dedicated workers and volunteers at the Plymouth Career Center for your unwavering support and commitment to our veterans."

VET NET provides veterans the opportunity to learn to effectively use technology within their job search. It also provides veterans with the capacity to expand their portfolios to showcase the extraordinary talents and skills veterans bring to the business sector. Since its establishment in 2010, VET NET tirelessly assists veterans with finding employment and upgrading their skills, and in this time-frame, over 1,300 veterans have been served by the Plymouth Career Center.

Congressman William Keating recently recognized 25 of the VET NET volunteer instructors, half of whom are now employed. “Through their unique and challenging service experience, veterans bring an extraordinary breadth of knowledge and skill to the workforce. Any roadblock to the future employment of these exceptional men and women will subsequently hold our communities back. I congratulate the Plymouth Career Center for recognizing this fact and creating a system, VET NET, to assist veterans with finding employment and training opportunities. The Center has truly come through for our veterans and our communities and has undoubtedly earned the recognition that they are receiving through the Mark Sanders Award from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.”'

“The Plymouth Career Center has been a tremendous resource for all job seekers, but its VET NET Program spearheaded by Mike Kelley, Veterans Service Representative at the Career Center is unmatched,” State Rep. Tom Calter said. “Like Mark Sanders, for whom the award is named, Mike Kelley and his staff are untiring in their efforts to promote excellence in service to veterans and the Plymouth Career Center truly deserves this award for excellence.”

“I’m not surprised that Plymouth’s One Stop Career Center has been chosen for this prestigious award. Their commitment to assisting our heroes who have come back from war is amazing. The Career Center is committed to making sure our veterans are given all the tools they deserve to make sure their transition back to civilian life is as seamless as possible. Congratulations to Mike Kelley and his team,” said Representative Viriato (Vinny) deMacedo

“The Plymouth Career Center has demonstrated itself as the conduit where veterans, volunteers, and specifically disabled veterans, can empower themselves with the tools they need to succeed not only in the job search process, but in learning new skills and instilling in them the confidence to try new avenues, such as teaching, public speaking, entrepreneurship and more,” said Plymouth Career Center’s Local Veterans Employment Representative Mike Kelley.

Massachusetts offers a fully integrated and inter-connected Workforce Investment System comprised of 16 Workforce Investment Areas operating over 30 One-Stop Career Centers. All of the Centers take pride in the provision of Priority of Service to veteran customers.

The Disabled Veteran Outreach Program and Local Veteran Employment Representative staff provide guidance to the One-Stop Career Centers in developing best practice strategies to help our veteran customers obtain the services and benefits they require.

Massachusetts has also developed new initiatives focused on translating military skills to civilian skills, and the Patrick- Murray Administration looks forward to continuing to support innovative efforts for the state’s veterans. The Veteran Representative staff from the One-Stop Career Centers participate in every yellow ribbon event held by the Massachusetts National Guard. In addition, the Department of Career Services and the Massachusetts National Guard launched Operation Jump Start. This program links the One- Stop Career Centers and Veteran Representative staff to Guard and Reserve units who have demobilized and returned home, as well as units still deployed in Afghanistan to work together to prepare soldiers to transition and find employment.

Join VET NET Plymouth Group onwww.LinkedIn.com To find a one-stop career center near you, please visit: www.mass.gov/careercenters

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