19th ANNUAL JVS STRICTLY BUSINESS L.A. AWARDS LUNCHEON SPOTLIGHTS MILITARY VETERAN EMPLOYMENT ISSUES; CELEBRATES CORPORATE PARTNERS PUTTING VETERANS TO WORK
JVS partners and donors helped raise nearly $500,000 to support JVS programs
May 2016 (Los Angeles, CA) – Military veteran employment issues were front and center at the 19th Annual JVS Strictly Business L.A. Awards Luncheon that took place Thursday, May 12, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, as Dan Goldenberg, a highly regarded national advocate for veterans, addressed hundreds of business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs and philanthropists gathered to support a luncheon with a purpose. Award-winning NBC4 broadcaster Fritz Coleman returned for his 4th year as event host.
One of the city’s premiere networking events, JVS Strictly Business highlights the life-changing work of JVSLA, a nonprofit, non-sectarian agency dedicated to lifting people out of poverty by helping them overcome barriers and challenges to employment. Critical funds raised through Strictly Business help support the life-changing programs of JVS that give its many diverse clients the training, tools and resources they need to become economically self-sufficient.
This year’s event raised over $400,000, with $120,000 of that amount donated during an urgent appeal at the event.
Dan Goldenberg is executive director of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty Endowment, a leading funder of veteran employment-focused organizations nationwide, establishing best practices, promoting veteran hiring, and supporting organizations like JVS that are helping former service members transition into civilian careers.
Since 2009, Activision Blizzard, through the Call of Duty Endowment, has provided more than $18 million in grants to veteran organizations throughout the U.S. These gifts have helped place 22,752 veterans into high-quality careers.
The JVS Veterans First program is a multiple-year recipient of Call of Duty Endowment funding and a partner in the regional effort to place military veterans into high-quality jobs.
In his keynote address that provided insights into the state of veteran employment in L.A. and in the United States, Goldenberg cited a 2015 government report said that young, post-9/11 veterans are three times more likely to be unemployed than the average American, despite the fact that their military skills, experience, and accomplishments are sought after in the civilian job market.
Goldenberg pointed to a schism between statistics presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that says veteran unemployment is down and what veterans are actually experiencing regarding civilian employment.
“We know government unemployment numbers are off because our grantees from across the country—that serve upwards of 5,000 veterans each quarter—have seen a 15 percent increase in demand for their employment services compared to this time last year,” said Goldenberg, who has 24 years of active and reserve military service and over a decade of corporate experience. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Harvard Business School and the Air Command and Staff College.
“Something just doesn’t add up when the organizations on the ground are experiencing a significant uptick in demand for their employment services,” Goldenberg said.
Goldenberg said, however, that Call of Duty Endowment grantee partners, all of whom are carefully vetted to assure they are effective in their mission, are reporting tremendous success in their work: the six-month retention rate for vets placed by Call of Duty Endowment grantees is 89 percent, which outpaces the average, and starting salaries of the vets placed by its partners average above $50,000. “Considering that the national average starting salary for new college graduates is $45,000, it’s fair to say our grantees are doing a terrific job,” he said, adding, “JVS is one of the very special organizations we’ve worked with for some time that’s had great impact.”
During the luncheon JVS also honored Universal Protection Service, one of the largest American-owned security services providers, with its Corporate Partnership Award for its significant contributions to a public-private-nonprofit partnership that creates meaningful change in the community. A division of Universal Services of America, the Santa Ana-based company works closely with JVS to put veterans and other job seekers back to work.
A military-friendly employer, Universal Protection Service is committed to offering opportunities to job seekers in underserved communities as well as to hiring veterans who bring unique skills and training to the industry. They are partners in the national 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and locally in Mayor Garcetti’s 10,000 Strong Veterans Hiring Initiative.
Regional Recruiter Richard S. Lopez, Jr., representing the company, said: “The relationship between JVS and Universal Protection Service is grounded in our shared commitment to workforce development. Over the past eight years, we have come together to meet the changing staffing and employment needs throughout the greater Los Angeles Region.”
JVS presented its Inspiration Award to three JVS clients whose successes illustrate the mission of the agency to help lift people out of poverty and over significant barriers to employment. This year’s recipients included Roland Williams, a formerly homeless veteran now employed as an apartment maintenance technician; Deborah Smith, a survivor of domestic violence who now works for Wells Fargo, and James Acosta, a formerly out-of-school and unemployed youth now employed at Starbucks and working toward his high school diploma. A video about the honorees can be viewed here: www.jvsla.org/strictlybizla
In 2016 JVSLA marked a significant transition in its leadership as it installed new Board President Harris Smith and welcomed new CEO Alan S. Levey.
INFO ON JVS LOS ANGELES
JVS is a nonprofit, non-sectarian organization celebrating its 85th anniversary of service this year. www.jvsla.org.