New Program Helps Veterans Reintegrate

GARDEN CITY, NY – The North Shore-LIJ Health System’s showed its continued commitment to veterans today by announcing the start of a new veteran-focused business employee resource group called Veterans and Allies: Liaisons of Reintegration (VALOR). In addition, North Shore-LIJ veterans recently gave advice to local college veterans about re-entering the civilian workforce.

The VALOR business employee resource group, established by the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy, brings employees together who have served or currently serve in the U.S. military, have family members in the armed forces or have a special interest in military and veterans’ affairs. Its goal is to give members of the military, veterans and their families an increased sense of community, and a chance to gain insight from each other and share their experiences. In addition, VALOR will help veterans with employment and getting adequate medical care. There will also be a mentoring component, which involves pairing veterans newly hired by North Shore-LIJ with another member of the health system to help transition into civilian employment and offer general career encouragement.

 VALOR will focus closely on the process of reintegration, which veterans such as Andy Roberts, administrative director of the North Shore-LIJ Office of Military and Veterans’ Services , recognizes as a sometimes tricky process.

 “Veterans sometimes have a hard time translating their experiences into things everyday people can understand, which can make hiring difficult,” said Mr. Roberts, a founding member of VALOR. “VALOR helps veterans use the experience they’ve gained during their own transitions out of the military to ensure newer veterans and their families have successful reintegration.”

 Relaying some of the lessons they have learned since returning from combat duty, North Shore-LIJ employees who served in the armed forces recently spoke to veterans from local colleges about how to transition their military experiences to the civilian workplace.

 David Serana, a former US Army combat medic in Iraq who is now a North Shore University Hospital registered nurse, encouraged the veterans to use all the resources available to them to help them get a job. “You need to realize that if you don’t ask about a service or if you do not ask for any assistance to get a job, it won’t come to you,” Mr. Serana told the approximately one dozen veterans/students at a career session, hosted by Adelphi University at its Garden City campus.

Air Force veteran Craig Washington, a patient support manager at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, said he was nervous at first about trying to explain to a civilian job recruiter the significance of his military experience managing millions of dollars of ammunition and weaponry. But with the help of both military higher ups and civilian friends, Mr. Washington said he was able to tailor his resume to focus on how his dedication to the military was an asset to future employers.

 Marine veteran Juan Serrano, practice office coordinator at the Queens World Trade Center Health Program at North Shore-LIJ, told veteran students at the event, sponsored by the Veteran Health Alliance of Long Island, to focus on some of the positive attributes and skills of military service, including attention to detail, the ability to adapt to changing situations and working well with people. He said that determination and the ability to think outside of the box also make service members valuable employees. 

North Shore-LIJ recruiters were on hand at the Adelphi event to speak to veteran students about their resumes and hiring opportunities. Working with the health system’s Office of Military and Veterans’ Liaison Services, North Shore-LIJ has hired more than 300 veterans since 2011. The Adelphi event also featured a presentation by John Javis, director of special projects at the Mental Health Association of Nassau County, Inc.

In addition to reaching out to students through career events such as the one at Adelphi, North Shore-LIJ is a member of Nassau County’s Welcome Back Warriors project, which gives returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan information on employment opportunities within the health system. Also, North Shore-LIJ has partnered with the Employer Partnership Program of the Armed Forces which provides job information to veterans.

 For North Shore-LIJ employees who are reservists, the health system participates in the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, so reservists keep their health system employment status while they are training or deployed. And in recognition of the financial strain facing veteran families, North Shore-LIJ pays employees on military leave from their jobs the difference between their health system salary and military pay. To date,North Shore-LIJ has paid more than $762,000 to the 19 health system employees who have served in the military.

 For more information about North Shore-LIJ’s veteran and military services, call 516-562-3235


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