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Westmoreland

W.Pa. veterans employment summit planned

Renatta Signorini
| Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 10:36 p.m.

Organizers of an employment summit this month hope to connect military veterans with jobs while eliminating stigmas employers might have about hiring them.

“There's still a lot of misconceptions about hiring veterans,” said Bill Thompson, director of Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board.

“I think it's important to let employers know what veterans bring to the table,” said Matt Zamosky, director of Westmoreland County Veterans Affairs.

Skills learned in the military — such as leadership, discipline and team-building — can be transferred into the civilian workforce, said Kevin Lazor, administrator at the Pennsylvania Careerlink's Indiana County office.

The Nov. 15 summit at St. Vincent College will help veterans learn how to promote those skills.

More than 40 companies have registered to participate. The free event will connect veterans with prospective employers looking to fill positions within the next 90 days.

Morning sessions for veterans will focus on successes and hurdles in their job searches, while those for employers will address reasons they should consider veterans and any roadblocks they've encountered in past hiring, Lazor said.

A job fair will commence after a networking lunch.

Veterans of any age and location are welcome to attend. Registration is required by Tuesday.

Employers registered to participate include Cenveo, Kennametal, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, banks and health care providers.

The prospective employers are centered in the more rural counties in the region, including Westmoreland, Indiana, Butler, Armstrong and Fayette.

More than 900,000 veterans live in Pennsylvania, according to census figures. About 34,000 reside in Westmoreland County, Zamosky said.

“I think it has the potential to be a really good thing,” he said.

Exposing veterans to opportunities in civilian life is important, Thompson said.

“Every able body that we can connect to a good job is a good thing,” he said.

The summit, the first of its kind in the area, could lead to similar events, organizers said.“I think it's a good opportunity,” Lazor said. “It shows that counties can work together in a regional event.”

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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