Last week we held an information session in which we explained a bit about the Warrior Gateway to those new to the project, and updated everyone on our progress. (If you missed the info session, you can check out the presentation here. Also we’ll be holding an info session every 4-5 weeks, so stay posted and tune in for the next one.)
The presentation by Devin was followed by a Q&A session in which we received some great questions and suggestions. Following are the questions we received, plus our answers.
[For the service provider directory]: Rating scale. Is 1 good or bad?
A rating of 1 is bad; a rating of 5 is good.
Since you are blueprinting Texas, how does your employment website differ from the services provided by the Texas Workforce Commission and the veteran case managers who are provided by the Texas veteran Commission?
We largely see the Warrior Gateway as a tool to complement services like the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Veterans Commission. A major innovation of our Jobs site is to allow veterans to see how their military skills translate into skills valued by employers in the civilian workforce (e.g., they can enter an MOS and return a list of jobs which utilize those skills, which then links to actual job postings for those jobs). Additionally, we offer a nationwide search area; veterans can seek jobs out-of-state if they prefer.
In short, we see the Warrior Gateway as an excellent tool in the toolbox of case workers at organizations like the Texas Veterans Commission. Our Jobs site helps veterans make forward-looking career choices based on their military skills and on projections of the future of the job market, so it will be a useful asset for caseworkers seeking to help veterans with employment decisions and finding a job.
[For the service provider directory]: How do you keep all your information up-to-date?
We have three ways to keep our information up-to-date: 1) If a service provider has ‘claimed’ its profile, it can edit the information on its profile so as to keep the info current. 2) If a service provider’s profile has not been claimed, the information on its profile can be edited by users, who can substitute updated information (e.g., a changed address) for outdated information. And 3) we will periodically share data for service providers with our strategic data partners (e.g., National Resource Directory, Network of Care); if their information is updated, it will enter our system and be updated there.
Does that include your database of customers (i.e. email addreses, etc.)?
Members of the military community who register on WarriorGateway.org will generally keep their own information (e.g., email address, location) up-to-date. We will occasionally send out correspondence via email asking members to verify that their information is active. We will also send out an email to inactive users (e.g., users who haven’t logged in in 6 months) to verify if the account is still active and valid.
Have the Services all agreed with this approach? They will be key to success.
We have spoken extensively with B.G. Cheek of the Army Warrior Transition Command, Capt. Watkins of Navy Safe Harbor, Paul Williamson at the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, and of course Admiral Mullen. Everyone we have spoken with has been very supportive and enthusiastic about the project. We are also working to speak with representatives from the Air Force and Coast Guard soon. We absolutely agree though – the support of all the Services will be very important.
You appear to be allowing ALL NGOs to self register. Will there be any pre-vetting of the groups before posting or will you just allow the metrics feature to weed out groups?
We will allow all NGOs to register. However, we will also validate which NGOs are registered 501(c)3 organizations, and those organizations’ profiles will bear some seal which denotes them as such. Also, any NGOs whose listings were provided to us by one of our strategic data partners who do their own vetting (such as the National Resource Directory) will have a notation stating that the organization was vetted by and listed on that strategic data partner’s site. Aside from that, you are correct that the metrics should weed out the fraudulent or negligent service providers.
You mentioned privacy and limiting who has access to information of veterans. Will the government only have access to military information (i.e., DD214s – NGOS frequently ask for that information before supporting them)?
We will not release any of our users’ personal information. We act only as a conduit between the military community and service providers or employers. Thus we do not contact service providers on behalf of specific Warrior Gateway users, as a caseworker might – a user can find the contact info for a service provider on the Warrior Gateway and must then contact the service provider him/herself. If a service provider requires that a veteran to provide his/her DD214 in order to be eligible for services, it is the veteran’s responsibility to provide the DD214 to the service provider when he/she contacts or visits the service provider.
How would Employers register to have their open jobs listed on the website?
Listing jobs will be a simple process – employers can register an account on the Warrior Gateway, then once logged in, there will be a button for them to post jobs. They will fill in the typical information about the job posting, pay the listing fee, then click ‘Post!’.
VetsMeetVets.org is gaining momentum quickly yet as a state non-profit, we do not yet have our Letter Of Determination (c)3 status, can we still be in the list of providers. Our focus is national.
Absolutely! Any service provider can register to be listed in the Warrior Gateway directory. There will, however, be a validation process which determines which service providers are registered 501(c)3 organizations, and the profiles for those organizations will note them as such. In this case where you haven’t yet received your letter of determination, you will be listed and once you receive your letter, your status on the Warrior Gateway will be updated.
How does a service disabled veteran owned small business register as a potential employer?
The Warrior Gateway homepage will have a button leading to a central registration page. Users will be able to choose which type of membership they want to register for – military community, employer, service provider, donor, etc. Selecting ‘employer’ upon registration will allow you to post jobs.
What has been done to run the website design by target groups for utility and complexity, such as focus groups and surveys? What are plans for publicizing the Gateway to target groups?
We aren’t quite at that stage yet, but we definitely plan to do user-end testing with different target groups and get feedback about how to improve the Gateway and make it more accessible to all users.
How you will be coordinating – combining the Gateway with the Network of Care site – currently available in Maryland and California. In process to be funded for national deployment.
The relationship of Network of Care to the Warrior Gateway will be one of strategic data partners. We will each provide data on service providers in our directory with one another, and we will also periodically share data on metrics that have been collected and/or any data that has changed for an service provider already existing in the database.
So as you can see, these questions were all great ones! If you have and additional questions, don’t hesitate to email us.