Friday Feature: Jamie Hennessy

What matters most
Jamie's story

Your name: Jamie Hennessy

Your role at Volunteers of America Michigan: Senior Veteran Employment Specialist

What brought you to this position? I was looking for an employer with excellent client services. A good friend of mine loved his position as an employment specialist with Volunteers of America Michigan’s veteran employment services program. It was hearing him talk passionately about the work he did that initially attracted me to the position. It’s a priority for me to work for an employer with strong values.

What is your biggest takeaway from working with Volunteers of America Michigan? How helpful a program like ours can be for a veteran experiencing homeless while looking for work. Every day is a challenge when your life is in transition, and it’s rare to find an agency that can provide financial supports in the job search. In addition to vocational guidance, coaching and resource referrals, it also provides transportation support to the interview, to the start of the job, assistance getting steel toe boots, uniform, work tools, etc. Affordable transportation is a huge barrier for so many that are experiencing homelessness, and often this is what our veterans are most grateful for.

What is your biggest challenge in this position? Staying abreast of demographic trends and evolving needs of the population we serve, and adapting our approach to ensure clients connect with the resources they need. It’s our goal to assist a veteran in remaining stably housed and employed. So it’s essential in this field to remain adaptable, and stay on top of changing needs and challenges.

Where is your dream vacation spot? Out in a cabin in the woods. Somewhere remote, quiet and close to nature.

What is your favorite book? Too many to count. Two author’s I’ve recently been into are Mo Yan, and Yu Hua.

How do you spend your time outside of the office? Training and working with my birds. I have two pacific parrotlets that are a lot of fun.