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February 2016
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The Public Manager

Nancy Glowacki

spotlight
Women veterans face unique challenges when joining the civilian workforce. To offer much-needed support to these women, the U.S. Department of Labor has Nancy Glowacki, the women veteran program manager of the Labor Department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), and a passionate advocate for women veterans.

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About Nancy Glowacki

Nancy Glowacki is program manager of the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS). She is responsible for monitoring the overlapping needs of working veterans and working women to ensure that DOL's employment services are meeting the needs of women veterans.

Prior to coming to VETS, Glowacki served as a subject matter expert on veterans' transition issues for the military and the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and as an independent consultant. Glowacki has worked on a variety of veterans' employment initiatives and programs, including Coming Home to Work, America's Heroes at Work, and Employment Workshops. She is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in both the enlisted and officer ranks. Glowacki has a doctorate of management in organizational leadership and a master's of business administration in human resource management.

What do you think is driving more women to join the military?

I believe that there are as many individual motivations to serve as there are veterans and service members. What is often forgotten is that women have always served in America's military—officially since 1901 and unofficially since the American Revolution. With the end of the draft in 1973, the population of women service members and veterans has been growing due in part to the increasing proportion of women entering and leaving an all-volunteer military.

What are some barriers to women veterans who are transitioning to the civilian workforce?

I wouldn't say "barriers," but there are certainly challenges. Let's face it—transitioning from one career to another can be difficult for anyone, and in addition to challenges commonly experienced by the general population, transitioning service members and veterans may experience culture shock, difficulty translating their skills for the civilian work environment, unfamiliarity with the civilian job search process, and more. On top of all that, women veterans also may experience challenges that are common among nonveteran working women. Generally speaking, women are still more likely than men to be concentrated in low-wage occupations, to earn the minimum wage, and to experience poverty.

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What attracted you to this cause?

I am an Army veteran myself, and my own military career ended prematurely due to injuries about 10 years ago. I know first-hand that it's not an easy transition, and that "transition" is not a one-time event. As veterans—and as working women—we must arm ourselves with job-seeking skills so that we can be economically secure, so that we can successfully transition again when it's time, and so that we have real career options. Women veterans typically do very well once they have these skills, but nobody is born with them and many of us did not leave the military with them.

If you could make one thing possible for women veterans who are embarking on civilian careers, what would that be?

Hands down, if I could change just one thing, it would be the lack of awareness of the free employment services available to them. For this reason, we've recently added the Employment Assistance for Women Veterans Webinar to our webpage. In this 31-minute video, women veterans can learn about free self-paced classes available online, free individualized services in their local community where veterans receive priority of service, and more intensive case management for veterans who have greater challenges with employment (again, a free service). The same content is also available as a downloadable slide presentation for those who want to follow the links to more information.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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