For Air Force veteran Lane Dyer, giving back to the veteran community is more than just a job; it’s a passion.
“We have come so far in our efforts to support veterans and their families,” said Dyer, North Carolina state director of Veterans’ Employment and Training Services. “The transition and career services available to transitioning service members and veterans are vast and dynamic.”
Among those resources is the Off-Base Transition Training pilot program. OBTT is an opportunity for veterans, veterans currently in the National Guard and Reserve and their spouses to take control of their career through no-cost employment-focused workshops to help meet their career goals.
OBTT provides employment preparation, education and opportunities that allow attendees to maximize their career potential through 10 two-hour workshops, offered in-person at nine metropolitan areas and nationwide virtually.
“For many veterans who walk through our doors, it’s a second chance for them to harness their skills and find truly meaningful employment. They’re not getting a workshop full of check the boxes or dull PowerPoint slides; they are getting assistance from an employment resource coordinator who can connect participants with local resources for one-on-one support,” said Dyer.
Antoine Taylor, a 25-year Army veteran, is one of those employment resource coordinators. In this role, Antoine is responsible for supporting OBTT workshops in Cumberland and Wake County, North Carolina.
Like Dyer, after transitioning to civilian life, Taylor knew he wanted to serve his community purposefully, connect with his veteran peers and have a rewarding career.
“When I got out of the Army in 2018, I was fortunate enough to receive a lot of support and services throughout my transition,” said Taylor. “I know that’s not the case for all veterans, especially those who transitioned out 10, 15 or even 30 years ago. That’s what makes OBTT such a unique opportunity – almost every veteran or spouse that attends one or all the workshops walks away with a clear understanding of what they need to do to accomplish their career goals or take that next big career step.”
But veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserves and their spouses aren’t the only ones who benefit from OBTT.
“Employers also benefit from what OBTT offers,” said Dyer. “Employers are receiving competitive candidates that go through their application process, veteran candidates with a clear understanding of how to communicate their value and the skill sets picked up during their time in service and beyond to a hiring manager, because of what they learned through the workshops.”
Dyer and Taylor know from personal and professional experience that veterans transitioning to civilian life have many decisions to make, not the least of which is what career path to select. They also know that hiring veterans not only honors the incredibly talented Americans who have served our nation in uniform, but it is also a smart business decision.
Although Dyer and Taylor came to support the veteran community through their own unique journeys, their common bond of supporting veterans and their families in North Carolina has made them quite the dynamic duo.
Together, Dyer and Taylor work to raise awareness about VETS programs and services, including OBTT, to various veteran service organizations, state workforce agencies, employer outreach professionals and other organizations that support veterans.
“It’s really a team effort,” said Dyer. “The dedicated VETS team in North Carolina, and our partner agencies all strengthen this program and the many other services provided to veterans, service members and their spouses though these efforts.”
“We’re just getting started,” concluded the pair. Veterans and spouses interested in exploring and registering for OBTT workshops can do so online.