OPE hosts Employer Training Event in Greenville

On July 20, 2017 Operation Palmetto Employment held an Employer Training Event for employers interested in becoming certified as a Palmetto Military Employer (PME) and to learn more about hiring veterans, service members and their families.

To become a certified PME, there are four steps:

  1. Fill out the initial assessment.
  2. Sign the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Statement of Support.
  3. Submit a letter of intent.
  4. Attend a training event.

The initial assessment and a statement of support were in the packets that each employer received when they arrived, and there was opportunity to complete them at the event., The event itself and other employer training events planned for the year can be counted as the needed training qualification in order to be certified, and the final step, submitting a letter of intent, can be completed after the event.

If an employer was not able to complete the paperwork at the event, they  walked away with at least one of the four steps completed, starting their process to become a PME, and the necessary paperwork and knowledge to complete the process later.

Of the 16 employers that attended the event, five walked away with all but the letter of intent completed. With that last step they will be certified. The five companies were:

  • Waffle House
  • Phillips Staffing
  • Bathfitters
  • Duke Foods
  • Eastside Transportation Services

Thanks to all the attendees for actively participating in an effort to find quality employment for South Carolina’s veterans.

Top five myths about hiring veterans DEBUNKED!

Frequently businesses are hesitant to hire veterans because of misconceptions about the individual’s character, leadership style and a perceived “baggage” that comes with an employee who is a veteran or service member. Below are five common myths and their facts.

Myth 1: Veterans that have a disability require special accommodations

Fact: Many people assume that a disability is visible like a prosthetic leg or blindness, but in reality there are so many disabilities that are unseen like hearing loss, PTSD, depression and even diabetes. A March 2003 Work Trends report found that the vast majority, 73 percent, of employers reported that their workers with disabilities did not require accommodations. Even if special accommodations were to be made, many fear that they will be expensive adjustments, but actually statistics show that 15 percent of accommodations cost nothing and 50 percent cost less than $500. Another way to think about accommodations is that employers give special accommodations to all employees. This may be a flexible work schedule, not making a person with a bad back lift a heavy box or even adjusting the display settings on a monitor to help a person with bad eyesight.

Myth 2: All veterans have PTSD and are unemployable

Fact: In all actuality, many Americans have this disability with no prior military experience. While some estimates show that 11 to 20 percent of service members potentially have PTSD after being deployed, you are looking at a sample of the entire population which estimates that about 8 percent of Americans have had PTSD at some point of their life. Many people don’t disclose having this disability because there is a negative stigma regarding psychological health care. However, the reality of PTSD is the challenge of managing an intense condition caused by traumatic events which change how the brain functions, and in turn how you react to the world. Many people assume that individuals with PTSD are unemployable. Because of this, people who suffer from it refuse to seek care, when in fact seeking care can actually strengthen and protect their career by minimizing the impact of the symptoms on their performance.

Myth 3: Training and deployments interrupt daily workflow

Fact: Often, training doesn’t require any leave of absence from the workplace. They are typically once a month during a weekend and depending on the branch there may be time during the summer. If an active service member is going to be deployed they will have ample notice to allow the workplace to find a replacement for the duration of the deployment if needed.

Myth 4: Military skills don’t translate into the civilian workforce

Fact: It is well known that veterans and service members bring a plethora of skills to the table, but many times employers believe that those skills don’t translate into a civilian job. In addition, people frequently think that if you are in the military you serve in combat, however, many military roles include finance, digital broadcasting and mechanical engineering to name a few. The 300,000 veterans that transition out of military service each year bring these workplace skills with them that could benefit a job within that industry.

Myth 5: Military leadership doesn’t create effective leadership in the civilian workforce

Fact: The assumption is that all military leadership is autocratic meaning a single individual makes all decisions with little input from group members. Contradicting this is the reality that military leadership is characteristic of any demonstrated leadership with qualities including ambition, drive and tenacity, self-confidence, psychological openness, and realism and appetite for learning, but with the addition of respecting rank and obeying orders.

Upcoming Job Fairs & Events | September 2016

There are several job fairs, workshops and other events this month to help you discover your next career path.

Mark your calendar, RSVP as needed, and please help spread the word! For one-on-one assistance, contact your local Employment Advisor.

Another great place to look for jobs is SC Works. For the first 24 hours that a job is posted the position is in a veteran’s hold; meaning only veterans have the ability to see the position and apply. If you do not already have a free SC Works account, and would like one, click here.

Click the link to view the job and career fair flyers.


Wednesday, September 14| Newberry
Military Career and Resource Fair
Newberry Armory, 10-1 p.m.


Tuesday, September 20| Rock Hill
Military Career and Resource Fair
Rock Hill Armory, 10-1 p.m.


Tuesday, September 27| West Columbia
Military Career and Resource Fair
West Columbia Armory, 10-2 p.m.

Upcoming Job Fairs & Events | March 2016

Spring is prime job hunting season! There are several job fairs, workshops and other events this month to help you discover your next career path.

Mark your calendar, RSVP as needed, and please help spread the word! For one-on-one assistance, contact your local Employment Advisor.

Thursday, March 3 | COLUMBIA
Boots to Business Vetrepreneur Workshop
Bluff Road Armory, 8am-4pm
RSVP: 803-299-4019

Thursday, March 3 | GREENVILLE
Boots to Business Vetrepreneur Workshop
SC Works Greenville, 8:30am-4:30pm
RSVP: 803-299-4019

Tuesday, March 8 | EDGEFIELD
Military Career & Resource Fair
Edgefield Armory, 10am-2pm
POC: 803-299-2911

Tuesday, March 8 | WEST COLUMBIA
Congressman Joe Wilson’s Veterans Fair
Brookland Baptist Church, 10am-2pm
POC: 803-939-0041

Thursday, March 10 | GRANITEVILLE
Military Career & Resource Fair
In conjunction with Congressman Joe Wilson’s Veterans Fair
Graniteville Armory, 10am-2pm
POC: 803-299-2911

Thursday, March 10 | BEAUFORT
Lowcountry Job Fair
Technical College of the Lowcountry, 10am-1pm
POC: 843-525-8224

Monday, March 13 | WEST COLUMBIA
Boots to Business Vetrepreneur Workshop
SC Works Lexington, 8am-4pm
RSVP: 803-299-4019

Wednesday, March 16 | SUMTER
Resume Writing Workshop (9am-10am)
Military Career & Resource Fair (10am-1pm)
Sumter Armory
POC: 803-493-9104

Thursday, March 17 | CHARLESTON
Boots to Business Vetrepreneur Workshop
Charleston Readiness Center, 8am-4pm
RSVP: 803-299-4019

Wednesday, March 23 | GAFFNEY
Military Career & Resource Fair
Gaffney Armory, 10am-1pm
POC: 803-288-2635

Tuesday, March 29 | ROCK HILL
Military Career & Resource Fair, 12-2pm
Vietnam War 50th Commemoration Ceremony, 1-1:30pm
VA Listening Forum & Claims Workshop, 1:30-4pm
Rock Hill Armory
POC: 803-487-5757

OPE Midlands Summit – April 14, 2016

OPE Summit - PME Employers (Feb 2015)South Carolina’s military population represents one of the most technically trained talent pools to be found, and we want to keep this highly skilled workforce in our state. To that end, Operation Palmetto Employment (OPE) seeks to further educate civilian employers on the value of military hires and helps them tap into this desirable human resource.

CEOs, business owners, recruiters and hiring managers are invited to attend the 2016 OPE Midlands Summit at Sysco of Columbia on Thursday, April 14 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., preceded by an outdoor military equipment display from 8:15-8:45 a.m. Seating is limited. Online RSVP required; first come, first served until all seats are reserved. Limit two representatives per company or organization. Regional events are also planned this spring for employers in the Upstate and Lowcountry.

Attendees will learn how to implement a successful military hiring strategy, take advantage of military hiring incentives, and connect with OPE representatives and military-friendly employers to share best practices. Agenda highlights include the following:

  • Outdoor military equipment display staffed by on-duty Service Members (8:15-8:45 a.m.)
  • Presentations to include Military 101: Speaking the Same Language, ROI of Military + Technical College Training, and Results-Oriented Leadership
  • Facilitated roundtable discussions on immediate and projected hiring needs, requirements and expectations
  • Briefs from local military base commanders
  • Certified Palmetto Military Employer awards and recognition
  • Networking lunch


RSVP now and join us!

Are You PME Certified?

Is your company PME certified?

Is your company PME certified?

When Operation Palmetto Employment launched in February 2014, we set out to train, connect and support military job seekers and civilian employers in South Carolina. Last October, we introduced the certified Palmetto Military Employer (PME) program to recognize companies willing to go the extra mile to learn how best to recruit and retain military hires.

In the past 11 months we’ve awarded 32 PME certificates to a wide variety of South Carolina employers, large and small. We’ve hosted seven regional training events and received more than 60 applications. It’s exciting to be part of a team approach that includes representatives from state government, all branches of the military community, workforce and economic development, education and much more!

As outreach efforts continue to South Carolina’s employers and hiring managers, we’re encouraged by comments like these:

Thanks so much for putting together this group of professionals. I’ve been hiring and managing since the 80s, and haven’t seen anything like this come around before. Nothing is free, but where our taxes are spent is very important. This is what taxes should be used for. The building up of the workforce, encouraging, training, and increasing the faith that success is possible through working together. I hope to make this an integral part of our hiring and training process. Appreciate all that you do, and compliment you on this effort. Well done!

David Ard 
VP/GM, Gerald’s Tires & Brakes
Charleston, SC
David hires for all six Lowcountry locations of Gerald’s Tires & Brakes, and attended a recent PME training in Columbia (see pics below). To learn more about the PME credentialing process and what OPE can do for you, contact us today! Email OperationPalmettoEmployment [at] gmail.com.
Photos by Michael Ericson Photography

Introducing new Palmetto Military Employers!

We’re proud to announce the newest batch of certified Palmetto Military Employers through OPE. Presentations were made last week in Columbia and Charleston to the following employers:

These employers have pledged their commitment to hire veterans by signing an ESGR Statement of Support and submitting a PME application and Letter of Intent (find both forms here). We’ll continue to work directly with HR staff and recruiters for direct referrals, job fairs and hiring events, hiring incentives and other resources available through various OPE program partners.

Want to join them? Contact us today!

Success Story | STEM Internships at SRR

SRR We love hearing about successful career programs for transitioning service members, like this one from Savannah River Remediation (SRR), one of our certified Palmetto Military Employers.

To quote veteran and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) intern Harry Zane: “My family considers serving in the military a patriotic duty, which is steeped in tradition, helping to shape our family’s integrity,” Zane said. “We hold integrity true, and view it as something not to sell or compromise, and I have found everyone here in the Savannah River Remediation family closely aligns with that concept.”

In addition to the link above, learn more about SRR’s STEM internship program here.

OPE Career Edge | Sonoco Products Company

sonoco-logo-low-res-rgbIn an attempt to help military job seekers transition to a meaningful civilian career, we’ve asked South Carolina hiring managers to share what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate.

Sonoco Products Company in Hartsville is one of several certified Palmetto Military Employers. Thanks to Corporate Recruiter Erica Ballenger for taking time to answer our questions!

Q: As an HR professional: what’s the number one soft skill you’re looking for, and why?
Interpersonal communication skills. Individually or as part of a group, knowing how to effectively communicate with others is key to professional and personal success.

Q: What do you wish potential candidates understood about the hiring process? 

Make your resume presentable, and ensure it is accurate and correct. Review the job description and match your resume to relevant information on the job description. Use key words. We typically take 2-3 seconds to review a resume, and can narrow down the candidate pool pretty quickly if those key words are missing on paper.

 Q: Why are military hires important to you, and what value do they bring to the workplace?

Candidates with a military background typically have a strong work ethic, provide stability, excellent leadership skills and the ability to train and promote. They are able to jump in quickly due to their military training and technical skills. They bring increased accountability to our workforce.

 Q: What positions are you hiring for right now, and where?

Production Supervisors, Production Managers and Maintenance Managers throughout the United States. Review available positions and apply here.

 Q: What are your favorite interview questions, and what type of answers are you looking for?

What are your career goals? The answer depends on the job, but we want individuals striving to move forward in their careers, ready to pursue the next opportunity. Also: Why did you choose your career/education?

To nominate a South Carolina employer for an OPE Career Edge feature, please call (803) 299-4019.

OPE Career Edge | SC Highway Patrol

PatchIn an attempt to help military job seekers transition to a meaningful civilian career, we’ve asked several South Carolina hiring managers to share what makes an ideal candidate.

We’re kicking off what we hope will be a regular feature with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, a certified Palmetto Military Employer. Thanks to Corporal Michael Zang with SC Highway Patrol Employment and Recruiting for taking time to answer our questions!

Q: As an HR professional, what’s the number one soft skill you’re looking for and why?

Communication. In law enforcement, being able to speak with and listen to people out in the real world can help make a tense situation much easier to control. Being able to listen and answer a suspect, victim, coworker or supervisor can go a long way.

Q: What do you wish potential candidates understood about the hiring process?

Candidates need to understand that it takes time to examine one’s history. The process is not going to happen overnight. In today’s world of instant gratification, people sometimes forget that hiring processes must be diligent to ensure we make good hiring decisions. Most problems with employees can be eliminated before they start if the hiring process is successful.

With a proud history since 1930 and such recognizable characteristics as the wing and campaign hat, we’ve established a very recognizable brand. Each person is attracted to us individually, and it’s up to us to make sure that our agency is a good fit for that person.

Q: Why are military hires important to you, and what value do they bring to the workplace?

The military structure is similar to ours in law enforcement. They are used to the chain of command, being assigned a duty and carrying it out — it’s very much the same in law enforcement (LE). It’s a great transition from the military life to the LE life. Military experience also demonstrates a person’s ability to honor their commitments to an organization.

Q: What positions are you hiring for right now, and where?

We have 46 counties in South Carolina, and we currently have positions throughout the entire state. Please visit our website for career opportunities, including salary and benefits.

Q: What are your favorite interview questions, and what type of answers are you looking for?

What does a Trooper do? This lets us know if they have researched the position or have any firsthand knowledge of what the duties entail.

Why do you want to be a South Carolina State Trooper? This gives us a chance to hear what motivates or inspires a person, in their own words.

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To nominate a South Carolina employer for an OPE Career Edge feature, please call (803) 299-4019.