North Texas

Pentagon Official Backs Push to Hire Veterans in Collin County

Anywhere you look in Allen, there is growth – and the jobs that come with it.

Now, there is also a renewed push for companies to focus on hiring veterans from the Economic Development Corporation.

Lt. Col. Derwin Brown flew in to Allen from the Pentagon Thursday to speak to local business owners about the benefits of employing military veterans.

He is the director for the U.S. Army Soldier for Life program, providing employment resources for veterans.

"We're not looking for a handout as veterans. We're looking for a hand up," Brown said. "Just an open door, that receptiveness, when we come back and say, 'Hey, I have these skills, I'd like to contribute to your organization. Not asking for a favor. I just want to show you what I can do.'"

Brown said one of the biggest challenges for veterans searching for a job is selling themselves and explaining their diverse skill set. Leadership, discipline and teamwork are intangibles they sometimes fail to put on their resume.

"They're more than capable," he said. "We just have to do a better job of explaining that."

MonkeySports, a specialty athletic gear company, understands the value of veterans.

The company relocated its headquarters from California to Allen several years ago. This week, their new retail store is open on Bethany Drive. But behind all the athletic gear you see on the shelves are the gears working behind the scenes.

Joe Dooling and Brendan Baker run the company's information technology department. They are also both former military veterans – Dooling served in the Army, Baker in the Air Force.

"IT is the same, even in the military," said Baker, who spent 10 years working in information technology and satellite communications. But in addition to those skills, he said the Air Force taught him discipline.

"Once you get a veteran in your organization and just let them run with it, let them run with the ball, watch how they perform," Brown said.

In May, the U.S. Department of Labor announced plans to establish the HIRE Vets Medallion Program to recognize employers who recruit, retain and employ veterans.

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