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The 19th annual Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) Strictly Business L.A. awards luncheon was on May 12 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Dan Goldenberg, a national advocate for veterans, spoke to hundreds of business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs and philanthropists about veteran employment issues.
The networking event highlighted the life-changing work of JVS Los Angeles, a nonprofit, non-sectarian agency dedicated to lifting people out of poverty by helping them overcome barriers and challenges to employment. Funds raised at the luncheon support JVS programs giving clients the training, tools and resources necessary to become economically self-sufficient. This year’s event raised over $400,000.
Goldenberg is executive director of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty Endowment, a funder of veteran employment-focused organizations nationwide. Since 2009, Activision Blizzard, through the Call of Duty Endowment, has provided more than $18 million in grants to veteran organizations throughout the U.S. These gifts have helped place 22,752 veterans in careers.
The JVS Veterans First program is a multiple-year recipient of Call of Duty Endowment funding and a partner in the regional effort to place military veterans in jobs. Goldenberg cited a 2015 government report that states young, post-9/11 veterans are three times more likely to be unemployed than civilians, despite the fact that their military skills, experience and accomplishments are sought-after in the civilian job market. Goldenberg also pointed to a discrepancy in statistics presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics stating veteran unemployment is down which does not align with what veterans are actually experiencing when seeking civilian employment.
“We know government unemployment numbers are off because our grantees from across the country – that serve upwards of 5,000 veterans each quarter – have seen a 15 percent increase in demand for their employment services compared to this time last year,” Goldenberg added. “Something just doesn’t add up when the organizations on the ground are experiencing a significant uptick in demand for their employment services.”
Goldenberg said that Call of Duty Endowment grantee partners are reporting success in their work. The six-month retention rate for veterans placed by Call of Duty Endowment grantees is 89 percent, which outpaces the average, and starting salaries average above $50,000.
“Considering that the national average starting salary for new college graduates is $45,000, it’s fair to say our grantees are doing a terrific job,” Goldenberg said. “JVS is one of the very special organizations we’ve worked with for some time that’s had great impact.”
JVS also honored Universal Protection Service, one of the largest American-owned security services providers, with its Corporate Partnership Award at the event. For information, visit www.jvsla.org.
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