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Brigadier General Shares How Hiring Veterans Can Help Close Skills Gap

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Brigadier General Maureen Weigl

The Manufacturer & Business Association, in conjunction with the MBA Business Magazine, will host its annual IMPACT Luncheon and Nonprofit Fair on July 19. This year, the event will showcase our area nonprofits but also recognize the many contributions of our region’s servicemen and women. Here, keynote speaker Brigadier General Maureen Weigl, deputy adjutant general for the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, shares why employers and HR managers should attend this special presentation.

Brigadier General Weigl, you continue to serve your country after 25 years of military service. Tell us about your decision to serve.

I absolutely loved serving in the military for 25 years. In retirement, I knew I wanted to help veterans, so I began working on adjustable clothing options for service members who lost limbs. Around that same time, I also co-founded the nonprofit Vets2Set where we helped connect veterans to the production industry all over the United States. I learned a great deal about veterans particularly related to the gaps in care that existed, as well as the job skills that are needed for a successful transition to civilian life.

When I was offered this job at the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, I jumped at it, knowing this would be an incredible opportunity to serve Pennsylvania’s veterans. My team is making a difference in the lives of so many veterans.

What are some of the highlights of your military career?

In 1994, I deployed to Haiti with the 10th Mountain Division Infantry for the peacekeeping mission Operation Uphold Democracy. In 2008, I deployed to Kuwait and Iraq where I conducted research and built a database to document traumatic brain injuries. I also earned my airborne wings, completed two master’s degrees, and attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, National and International Security, where I met so many wonderful allies from around the world.

You have served as deputy adjutant general for Veterans Affairs since April 2021. Tell us what this role entails.

I oversee six long-term care veterans homes, as well as the management of programs, reintegration, and outreach for more than 700,000 veterans and their dependents in Pennsylvania — the fourth largest veteran population in the nation. My job is to ensure veterans receive the benefits they have earned in service to our nation.

As a guest speaker at the MBA’s IMPACT Luncheon and Nonprofit Fair on July 19, you will be discussing the advantages of hiring veterans to address the growing skills gap. Tell us more.

We are so fortunate to have more than 700,000 veterans living and working here in Pennsylvania. Military service is valuable experience and instills a variety of attributes such as: discipline, the military values of Honor, Courage and Commitment, punctuality, world experiences, adaptability, education, leadership, dedication and most importantly pride in themselves, their country, and the organization they’ll serve.

Veterans and their families also have opportunities to continue with professional certification programs at no cost such as: Project Management Professional, Society for Human Resource Management, Lean Six Sigma, Commercial & Industrial Security Corporation/ Organization courses, etc. Programs like these are a value-add for companies looking to hire quality candidates.

DMVA is committed to sharing notices from employers who are interested in hiring veterans as well as sharing information about veteran or military-oriented events being held in Pennsylvania. Learn how to submit a job, or apply to a job opening, at dmva.pa.gov/ veterans.

You also plan to discuss the Department of Defense SkillBridge Program. Please explain.

The SkillBridge program is an opportunity for service members to work at a civilian employer during their last six months of service while still receiving their salary and benefits from the Department of Defense. It’s a wonderful program that helps service members make a smooth transition out of the military and into civilian careers. This program is also a win for employers who have the opportunity to hire our hard-working service members.

What are some other topics that you’ll address during your presentation?

I will highlight our award-winning program PA VETConnect, the expansion of the PACT Act, employment and education programs, benefits, Veterans’ Trust Fund grants and how we are focused on building community partnerships that benefit Pennsylvania’s veterans.

For more information, visit DMVA.pa.gov. To register for the MBA’s IMPACT Luncheon & Nonprofit Fair on July 19 in Erie, visit mbausa.org.