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Boots to BusinessJanuary is National Mentoring Month.

The Commonwealth has several unique and specialized mentoring programs, one of which is the The Boots to Business Veteran Mentorship Program. In partnership with the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS), the Labor and Workforce Development Division of Career Services, and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boots to Business connects veterans of all ages looking for employment with a mentor who can share insight into how to get and keep a job in the civilian world.

Most of our unemployed veterans are over the age of 40 and have a similar unemployment rate as their non-veteran counterparts.  However, the unemployment rate for veterans in their 20’s is higher than their non-veteran counterparts.

Veterans have a unique set of skills that set them apart from their counterparts. With military experience, they are dedicated, mission orientation, have strong core values, and know how to navigate even the most complex business processes.

Those who have served in the military are used to providing a social service, not consuming a social service.  In my experience as the veterans employment programs coordinator at DVS, this is one of the most common barriers to employment faced by our veterans.  It’s just hard for us to ask for help.  That is what makes Boots to Business distinctive; it allows successful veterans to pay it forward to others. And this experience is universal to veterans in their military lives. Someone showed them the ropes when they got to their first command,  and when those service members were getting ready to transfer, they show the new guy the ropes.

In this way, Boots to Business employs tactics veterans are already used to in helping with their successful transition to civilian life.  A mentor supports and advises an unemployed veteran with getting a job, and when that vet  settles into a job, they can come back and be a mentor to the next generation.

The Patrick has a longstanding commitment to connecting returning veterans with employment opportunities and providing nation-leading services to the Commonwealth’s 385,000 veterans and their families. On Tuesday January 28, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz joined the Department of Veterans’ Services and other Patrick Administration Cabinet secretaries to host a Statewide Veterans Career Fair in the State House. During the event, veterans and their families were able to connect with employment opportunities and resources and discuss how their skills and career aspirations match with the Commonwealth.

In 2012, Governor Deval Patrick called for the establishment of an Interagency Taskforce on Hiring Veterans, and last year signed an executive order to help small businesses owned by disabled veterans expand and grow in the Commonwealth. November was established as “Hire a Vet Month,” encouraging employers to help our military members use their vast talents to serve their communities in civilian life.

For more information on the Boots to Business program please contact Chris King at: chris.king@state.ma.us

Written By:


Communications Director, Executive Office of Health and Human Services


Veterans Employment Programs, Department of Veteran Services

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