13 Sep Charlotte Works, Charlotte Bridge Home: Serving veterans better
Charlotte Works has formed an important partnership with Charlotte Bridge Home, a veterans-focused nonprofit that serves honorably discharged service members who reside in Mecklenburg County.
Charlotte Bridge Home clients receive support during major life transitions. The organization links veterans to community resources for health, housing, benefits, education and employment. Each client’s individual needs are addressed in a caring and professional manner by a staff comprised mostly of veterans.
In 2011, Charlotte Bridge Home founder Tommy E. Norman recognized a need for greater veterans’ support in the Charlotte area. “We train our folks from six months to two years going into the military, but we don’t train them for 24 hours to go back to their communities,” he explains.
Veterans have so many skills and talents to offer the workforce when they discharge from active duty, but do not have the community connections. And military life differs so drastically from the corporate world that writing a resume in civilian terms can be difficult, while navigating interviews and networking events are often new experiences for veterans.
Clearly, the need for employment support is crucial.
“Veterans are WIA [Workforce Investment Act] priority clients, and they’ve been a special emphasis of the White House for a couple of years,” notes Steve Partridge, president and CEO of Charlotte Works. “In our effort to reach out to vets, we realized they had a special focus of getting to employment. Charlotte Bridge Home was ripe for a unique partnership in Charlotte.”
Partridge and Paul Passaro, program director of Charlotte Bridge Home, collaborated to create a new position to serve the two organizations: a training and employment specialist who would be devoted to veterans’ issues.
I joined the staff in May after working for a major Charlotte outplacement firm and teaching English for 10 years. I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in organizational development at the McColl School of Business at Queens University and have completed graduate coursework in coaching.
I consult with veteran clients at both Charlotte Bridge Home and Charlotte Works. We’ve already established a job-search team exclusively for veterans and their spouses that meets on Wednesday evenings at Charlotte Works. We’ll soon launch two new workshops: a veterans’ resume class and a course on study skills for the adult learner. Any veteran or spouse who has attended Charlotte Works’ orientation is welcome to register for these veterans’ classes, which will be posted on the events calendar on NCWorks Online with Charlotte Works’ other workshops.
Charlotte Works’ veteran clients who are interested in receiving services from Charlotte Bridge Home can learn more here.
If you have specific veteran-related questions, leave them in the comments section below and I’ll respond as soon as possible. I look forward to working with you!