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Department of Labor

Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor Peter M. Rivera, Commissioner

VIDEO: No Longer Jobless, Army Veteran Dale Burke Offers Some Hope for Unemployed Veterans in Western New York

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Albany, NY (November 11, 2010) -

Dale Burke

Dale Burke of Marilla served in the U.S. Army from 1979 to 1982.  Upon his discharge, he returned home, got married and raised a family.  Most recently, he worked at Curtis East, Inc. in Western New York.  The company closed its doors in early 2009, leaving Dale and many of his co-workers without employment.  Although he was  vigilant in his job search, he went on only four job interviews in over a year and a half. 

“It was a frustrating time,” Dale recalls.  “I looked in the paper every day, reached out to everyone I knew and still couldn’t find anything.”

In the summer of 2010, a career counselor at the Williamsville One-Stop Career Center told Dale about a potential job opening at SMG in Cheektowaga.  He helped Dale line up the interview, and Dale aced it. On September 23, 2010, Dale began work as a General Laborer at SMG.  Dale is wearing many hats at the company, serving as a driver, a laborer on the production floor and learning new skills such as welding. 

“It’s very interesting and I’m learning a lot of new things every day,” says Dale. 

Dale is part of the Department of Labor’s On-the-Job Training Program (OJT).  OJT allows businesses to apply for funds to train employees while they work.  The funds come to the State under the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 
Vito Casoni, co-owner of SMG, had this to say about the Labor Department’s OJT program.  “The monetary compensation allows companies like us to take a risk and hire people and hope that when the better times turn we’ve got a fully trained person on staff.  And that’s how we look at it.”

Greg Corral, an Employer Services Representative for the Department of Labor, has been keeping tabs on Dale since he started at the company just to see how he’s making out.

 “I contact Dale and SMG every 30 days just to see how they’re making out and if they need anything.  I even went out to see him one time.  Dale is learning a lot of new skills he didn’t have before.  I think he has a future with this company,” Greg says.

The Department of Labor offers special services to veterans like Dale at each of its 81 One-Stop Career Centers.  Each year, nearly 50,000 veterans in New York are served by Department of Labor programs.  Employers who hire veterans can also take advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and save thousands of dollars a year. 

Dale’s advice to job seekers in Western New York: “There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and I think employment is picking up a little bit and don’t be discouraged about it.”

For more information about the Department of Labor’s services for veterans, call 1-888-4-NYSDOL.  If you’re a small business interested in finding out more about OJT, please send an email to StateOJT@labor.ny.gov.

State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner said, “This is a story of how the Department of Labor helped a veteran get back to work and how we helped a business expand its workforce.  I congratulate Dale on his new job and SMG on their new hire.  To businesses and workers in Western New York: the Labor Department stands ready to help you too.”

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