On Thursday evenings, Jesse Riveron, senior vice president at Bank of America, leaves his day job to provide job coaching to Houston residents in need. He is a volunteer for SEARCH Homeless Services, which was established in 1989 in response to the growing number of homeless people in Houston and today serves 7,000 men, women and children annually. There, he leads a veteran reintegration program known as the Job Group.
Riveron started volunteering for SEARCH in 2011, through a referral from a colleague. He was assigned to a group of formerly homeless veterans in need of career assistance. Group discussions take the form of a roundtable, in which participants share their job sustainability challenges and seek advice from Riveron and their peers. Riveron guides each of the veterans in his group in applying the hard and soft skills they learned in the service to the current workforce.
“It’s tough for many of these guys to get back on their feet after serving, but these veterans are doing it.”
Bank of America
Job Group discussions often turn to the importance of education. Riveron frequently recommends that members pursue further education or training before making a career move. He remembers one veteran of the Gulf War, a man in his 50s, who went on to secure a stable position at a garden center in Houston. He trained as a truck driver and today is trusted with some of the company’s largest deliveries. Over time, the veteran regained financial responsibility and was able to provide for his family.
Riveron admires the men and women in the Job Group for their ability to take the negative experiences they have during reintegration into civilian life and channel them into positive ones. “It’s tough for many of these guys to get back on their feet after serving,” he explained. “But these veterans are doing it.”