OPE summits demonstrate benefits of hiring veterans

Businesses learned about the benefits of hiring veterans at the first of three Operation Palmetto Employment (OPE) summits that are being held across the state.

Employers, hiring managers, veteran employment representatives and military service members attended the first summit, held in the Midlands on April 14, and received information and insight into recruiting and retaining military hires through OPE, South Carolina’s military employment initiative.

Launched by Gov. Nikki Haley as a statewide military employment initiative, OPE partners with various state agencies, educators, workforce development representatives and others to streamline and increase the efficiency of the employment process for South Carolina’s military community and reduce duplicated efforts of service providers.

“Through the collaborative work of its partner agencies and organizations, OPE is a tool that employers can use to access South Carolina’s military talent,” said Lieutenant Colonel David Gayle, representing the South Carolina Military Department and the South Carolina National Guard.

The OPE Midlands Summits include cabinet agency and military installation briefs, employer success stories, roundtable discussions and professional development sessions designed to further connect and inform private sector employers and hiring managers, employment service representatives and government officials on the true value of military hires. As a statewide partnership, OPE serves military job seekers and the employers who hire them — at no cost to either.

“South Carolina’s unemployment rate for veterans is 4.4 percent,” said Darrell Scott, Chief of Staff at the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. “This rate is below the national average of 4.9 percent, and below the state average of 5.5 percent.” Scott reported that more than 23,000 veterans received services in 2015, and more than 8,000 entered employment.”

OPE will host two more regional summits in May: the OPE Upstate Summit on Wednesday, May 4 at the Spartanburg Readiness Center at USC-Upstate, and the OPE Lowcountry Summit on Thursday, May 26 at Verizon Solutions Center in North Charleston. Seating is limited for both events; advance registration is required via Eventbrite.com.

Click here to watch a feature by reporter Sonia Gutierrez of WLTX-News 19 in Columbia.

To learn more about Operation Palmetto Employment and connect with OPE representatives in your area, email OperationPalmettoEmployment@gmail.com or call 803-299-4019.