report released last month by the U.S. Department of Labor finds the unemployment rate among veterans in 2015 declined by 1.4 percentage points from the previous year.

Despite this downturn and the fact that nearly 200,000 men and women are deployed from military to civilian life annually, the supply and logistics arena is experiencing a significant worker shortage.

Industry experts predict this gap will expand as Baby Boomers retire and as at least 270,000 jobs need to be filled every year.

To help solve this problem, New England-based LEGACY Supply Chain Services and the national Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) is launching an awareness campaign.

VETS To WERC” will be showcased to 450 companies at the association’s 39th annual conference at the Rhode Island Convention Center, May 15-18. Presenters from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Army Soldier for Life program will describe the alignment of jobs in the supply chain field with the skill set of men and women who have served in the military.

“VETS To WERC” will be an annual program component of the conference, according to event organizers.

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gilman serves as the National Organizations Director in the Chairman’s Office of Reintegration in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The supply chain industry is a natural fit for veterans, who have done everything from battlefield logistics planning, to transporting cargo, to operating heavy machinery. Providing them with leadership opportunities and careers paths in the supply chain field enables companies to effectively leverage their experience in the military environment”

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gilman

Lt. Col. Gilman (pictured right) will be speaking to the 1,000+ conference attendees about why hiring military veterans makes sense.

He will also highlight best practices for recruiting and retaining veterans. A breakout session led by NE Deputy Director Master Sergeant Adam Martinez will address the nuts and bolts of deploying vets into the workforce.

Ron Cain is LEGACY’s CEO. He stated, “We are proud to shine a big spotlight on the link between logistics and military skills during one of the biggest trade events in our business.”

“The involvement of the U.S. Government, in this program, underscores its importance. At LEGACY, we take immense pride in our culture of giving back and making a difference and this campaign reinforces our commitment. We hope ‘VETS To WERC” provides an important piece of the ‘supply chain shortage’ puzzle in our industry.”

LEGACY, the founding partner of the campaign along with co-sponsors and WERC, will be joined by Wendy Lang, director of Operation College Promise, at Thomas Edison State University. She will be bringing student veterans who received “VETS To WERC” scholarships to the event, where they will learn about the wide range of careers in the business.

WERC Organization CEO Michael Mikitka said, “We are excited that LEGACY approached us to partner with them in this important initiative. We look forward to making ‘VETS to WERC’ a part of our annual conference programing.”

For information about the “VETS To WERC” campaign or the conference, visit the 2016 WERC Conference.

Related: The Next Person You Hire Should Be a Veteran
The Next Person You Hire Should Be a Veteran

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