Putting Veterans to Work

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Michael Dunford, Covidien senior vice president of human resources, speaks to veterans about translating military skills into civilian jobs.

Local employers hold program to help vets recognize skills

 

BY EMILY O’DONNELL SUN CHRONICLE STAFF

 
MANSFIELD – Forty-five percent of veterans need help finding a job, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports.
And, many vets say one of their biggest challenges is communicating to potential employers how their military skills might apply to civilian jobs.

Now, Covidien, the health care product provider headquartered in Mansfield, is trying to address the problem.
The company, which employs 1,500 workers and about 450 to 500 veterans, linked up with six other life science businesses in Massachusetts to host free career training workshops for veterans, the last of which ended on July 29.
Michael Dunford, Covidien’s senior vice president of human resources, organized a pilot program of Edge4Vets, a career development initiative run by the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University in New York City.
Dunford, who served as a reserve officer in the Marine Corps, said he learned how the workshop benefited veterans in New York and wanted to bring the program to Massachusetts, where life sciences is the state’s fastest growing job sector.
“Veterans have a number of skills that make them good candidates for jobs in life sciences,” Dunford said. “They’ve been trained to work hard to meet deadlines in extremely tough environments, and veterans have a deep sense about how to lead their peers.”
Human resources representatives from Biogen Idec, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Fresenius Medical Care, Pfizer and Haemonetics, along with Covidien, served as mentors for 31 veterans during three workshops once a week for three weeks from July 15 to July 29 at Biogen Idec in Cambridge.
Tom Murphy, director of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham and founder of Edge4Vets in 2011, explained the details of the workshops.

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