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Friday, 31 January 2014 11:12

A VOICE FOR VETERANS: Veterans Business Council

By Jackie Kingsland

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce is a tremendous resource in our area for obtaining a business referral, finding an entertainment venue, reading the blog on community happenings and selecting a chamber event to attend or support.

Additionally, it’s an excellent way for exposing your business to the area with mixers, meetings and events, and as a member of the chamber, there are many benefits and opportunities for leadership and growth in our community. Their website offers an online jobs list with members posting available positions for businesses in the county (www.saratoga.org).

With a friendly staff from the Director of First Impressions to the membership representatives and onto the CEO, they are an experienced and knowledgeable group who strive to provide the best methods and practices for developing businesses, answering questions and inquiries and acquiring gainful employment. 

One of the newest endeavors at the Saratoga County Chamber was the development of the Veterans Business Council in the fall of 2012. The idea for more veteran support began when the Saratoga County Veteran’s Service Agency presented an idea to collaborate with the Chamber and establish a full task force assisting veterans with their search for work.

Vice President of Membership Services Denise Romeo (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) concurred with their vision and developed the Veterans Business Council in partnership with the Saratoga County Veteran’s Service Agency, which assists vets in filing claims with the US Department of Veterans Affairs regarding disability, education, pension, surviving spouse, and more (visit www.saratogacountyny.gov for further details).

Ms. Romeo is a fervent advocate and supporter of our service members. Her father served in the military and currently her daughter is an intelligence analyst in the National Guard. Her daughter faced deployment overseas from January 2012 to December 2012, arriving back home in the states a few days before Christmas (the best gift that doesn’t fit under the tree).

“Having been home now for about a year, my daughter began having nightmares. Sometimes it takes a while…it doesn’t just end a few months or even a few years after they return,” Denise said. “Helping the community understand what they go through—that’s our job.”

Denise works diligently with the Council to create community awareness and provide resources to help veterans looking for work connect with businesses in the area; provide training and matching the veteran’s skill set with employment opportunities; business development as well as giving additional support for those in the armed forces (i.e. referring those to an agency who can assist with temporary financial relief of mortgage payments, etc.). 

“Some veterans don’t realize how their capabilities in the military are transferable,” said Denise. “We can translate those skills onto their resumes.”

For instance, transferring the skills necessary to maintain a weapon, work together successfully on a mission, often times under extreme circumstances and conditions, and utilizing those leadership roles toward civilian job placement. 

The Veterans Business Council consists of 25 Chamber members (all but one are veterans themselves and the one civilian is a veteran spouse) and connects veterans with the business community. They meet monthly, exploring ideas to assist veterans with their quest for employment, facilitating plans and events, bringing together the veteran employee with the ideal employer match within the community.

Also on the agenda is discussing initiatives for employers and prospective members to hire veterans. 

“All of our members in the Council have such passion for helping and embrace every opportunity to support and find a fit in the big picture,” Denise said with a smile and immense pride. “It has also successfully completed its 2nd Annual 5K run this past fall at Hudson Park in Schuylerville. Runners in this year’s event doubled the amount of participants from last year, raising $10,000 in proceeds, all of which are placed in the Veterans Trust Fund for the County.”

Increasing visibility throughout the county is another goal for the Council as it gears up for a Hiring Conference in March. For this conference, the Council has reached out to its membership, devising a data base resource that pairs the veteran to an available position.

The ideas, dedication and determination to support our veterans will continue as the Veterans Business Council meets and becomes a larger presence within the community. If you are a vet or know a veteran who may need assistance, work for an area business, would like to become a volunteer and play a part in this mission, please contact Denise Romeo at the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce at (518) 584-3255 or visit their website www.saratoga.org and look for the Veterans Business Council link, or email Denise directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

Our service members have sacrificed for us. Let’s help them to become and remain active, prosperous individuals in our community. Thank you, as always, to our veterans, their families and loved ones for all that you do.

 

See you next month here at Saratoga TODAY.

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