American Job Centers: The Path to Veteran Employment Starts Here

A collage shows Jen Gollnick driving a truck, standing in front of a truck in fatigues, and receiving her certificate in civilian clothes.Jen Gollnick, an Army National Guard veteran, found herself in a challenging position in early 2023. After being laid off, she faced the decision of finding another job or starting her own company.  

Gollnick sought help from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and  they connected her with U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service resources at her local American Job Center. The center offered Gollnick a wealth of information as she conducted her job search. Gollnick appreciated the staff’s empathy – she felt that they sincerely wanted to help her find the best path for her and her family.

Most veterans only use American Job Centers for help with their job search. Gollnick was also considering starting her own accounting business. American Job Centers rarely provide assistance regarding entrepreneurship, but they accepted the challenge. They recommended that Gollnick use her Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits to obtain additional training and to reach out to the Wisconsin Veteran’s Chamber of Commerce for even more resources. She read about the Command Post Accelerator Program, which offers business coaching and leadership development, in the chamber’s newsletter and quickly enrolled.  

Everything started to fall into place for Gollnick – she was using the job center resources, enrolled in the Veteran Readiness and Employment program, and simultaneously started finding clients for her business. Gollnick said the job center was an unexpected source of kindness and respect.  The staff had a genuine interest in helping the veterans who use their resources. Sandra Gau, the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist who worked with Gollnick, even attended her accelerator program graduation.

Gollnick mentioned that the resources provided by the job center were also helpful post-job search. She found that the Command Post Accelerator Program was an extremely useful networking opportunity and it helped her secure some clients.

Today, Gollnick provides finance process improvement services to businesses, including support with financial infrastructure and strategic decision making. Recently, she reconnected with American Job Center specialists at a conference and began discussing how she could use their resources as a small business owner.

Gollnick encourages veterans who may be hesitate to seek assistance to fully embrace the resources they’ve earned through their dedicated service.

Visit CareerOneStop to  find an American Job Center near you.

David Seay is a Regional Veterans’ Employment Coordinator for the Chicago region of the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.