On Dec. 30, Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi, joined by Retired Four-Star General of the United States Army and 31st Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army Richard A. Cody, announced Nassau County's Warriors to Work program. Warriors to Work is the first public-private program in the nation aimed at providing employment opportunities for our nation's returning war veterans. The initiative is expected to place hundreds of veterans in jobs upon their return from serving our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan and help them acclimate to civilian life at home. In fact, Glen Cove resident and Iraq veteran Robert Germino is now employed through the program.
In the photo with Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi are Legislators Judi Bosworth, Judy Jacobs, Dave Denenberg, Roger Corbin and Wayne Wink, the Honorable Judge Joseph Suozzi, a WWII veteran, Richard A. Cody and Robert Germino.
"Over 3,000 Nassau County residents have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 and there are still hundreds more fighting for our country today. Unemployment for returning veterans is twice the national average than for non-veterans of the same age and our Warriors to Work program will help veterans land that first job when they return home," said Suozzi. "We must never forget the veterans who answered our nation's call to duty and fought to defend America's freedom. Our soldiers risked their lives to protect us afar and we will protect them while they are home."
General Cody, who served as the 31st Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army from June 24, 2004 to July 31, 2008, said "County Executive Suozzi's Warriors to Work program is the type of program that our returning war veterans deserve. Employers, in return, will get highly dedicated, loyal and hard working Americans who know the price of freedom. Thanks to the innovative leadership and resourcefulness of County Executive Suozzi, finding jobs for the men and women who have dedicated the last few years of their lives to protecting our country will be that much easier. I want to commend the County Executive for this significant effort and for never forgetting our veterans." General Cody retired from the Army on August 1, 2008.
Suozzi has received commitments from a coalition of labor unions and businesses across Long Island, including the Building & Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties, the Long Island Federation of Labor, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Bethpage Federal Credit Union and Adecco Staffing. These organizations and others will place more than 200 returning veterans in jobs throughout the course of 2009. Suozzi is encouraging other businesses and agencies across Long Island to show their support for our troops and pledge to hire veterans.
"I thank and commend our trade unions and businesses who have committed to providing over 200 jobs for Nassau County's returning veterans," said Suozzi. "Our Veterans Service Agency is always striving to keep veterans apprised of their rights and benefits and helping returning soldiers find suitable jobs is just one more way we can help our soldiers settle into civilian life again."
Jim Castellane, president of the Building & Construction Trades Council and a Vietnam veteran said, "This is a great program that will help transition the men and women who proudly served our country back into the workforce here at home. I only wish that we had programs like this when I returned home."
John Durso, president, Long Island Federation of Labor said, "This is a perfect opportunity for the government and unions to work together and support our veterans who fought for us in Iraq and Afghanistan. They served us and now it is our turn to serve them."
Michael Dowling, president and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health Systems said, "As Long Island's largest employer, the North Shore-LIJ Health System is proud to partner with Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi on the Warriors to Work initiative. North Shore-LIJ has a deep commitment to the men and women who preserve our nation's freedom, as evidenced by the health system's creation of the Rosen Family Wellness Center for military personnel and their families and North Shore-LIJ's presentation last week of paychecks totaling $182,000 to nine employees who returned from military leave, offsetting the difference between their military pay and their regular work salaries."
Francesca Seviroli Kaszuba, director of Employee and Public Relations, Seviroli Foods, Inc. said, "Seviroli Foods, Inc. looks forward to providing employment to our returning servicemen and women. These jobs will assist them in their transition back to civilian life. While many utter slogans and platitudes, we at Seviroli Foods Inc., feel it is necessary to do more for those who have made significant sacrifices so others may feel safe and free during these difficult times."
Rachelle Chapman, manager of Government Relations for Adecco Group North America said, "Adecco is extremely honored to be a part of Warriors to Work in Nassau County and we're really looking forward to partnering with County Executive Tom Suozzi on this important program to support our troops. We have been working closely with military veterans and their families for years, helping them to find meaningful careers across the U.S. and the Warriors to Work program is a tremendous asset to both the military and business communities of Long Island, helping to connect great talent with great job opportunities," she continued.
In January, a newsletter will be sent to all veterans in Nassau County, reminding them of the Warriors to Work program. All veterans and organizations interested in participating in the program should call the Nassau County Warriors to Work hotline at 572-8451. Any veteran who is a Nassau County resident will be eligible for the program.
The Warriors to Work Program has been initiated to assist veterans in finding employment on their return to civilian life.
Participating trade unions and companies include:
• Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties
• Long Island Federation of Labor
• Airstream Corporation
• Bethpage Federal Credit Union
• Clever Devices
• Interstate Brands (Wonder Bread, Hostess, Drakes Cakes)
• Johnson & Hoffman LLC
• King Kullen
• Kozy Shack
• Nassau County Veterans Coliseum
• North Shore-LIJ Health System
• Seviroli Foods