Thursday, September 11, 2014

MTA Discovers it PaYS to Go Army; Helps Veterans Transition into Civilian Employment

by Tina M. Beller, U.S. Army Public Affairs Specialist

Fort Hamilton, N.Y. – A public benefit corporation chartered by the state of New York joined the U.S. Army’s Partnership for Youth Success Program recently in order to benefit from the value of Army veterans interviewing for jobs within the corporation.

Like Sony, and Sleepy’s, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is now one of 509 companies to have signed a memorandum of agreement joining the Army’s PaYS Program.

“Veterans are generally drug free, are physically fit, are loyal, understand safety and can work in a team environment while problem solving,” said Aleyda Meyers, the director of All-Agency Veteran Recruitment and Staff Initiatives at the MTA. “By hiring a veteran, the MTA is gaining an employee with a great work ethic and one with incredible integrity.”

The PaYS Program, which is a strategic partnership between the Army and a cross section of corporations, companies and public sector agencies, provides America’s youth with an opportunity to serve their country while they prepare for their future. PaYS Partners guarantee Soldiers an interview; it’s up to the veteran to perform well during the interview with the hiring official in order to secure a permanent position. This unique program is part of the Army’s effort to partner with America’s business community and reconnect America with its Army.

The PaYS Program offers private-sector companies and corporations a host of benefits, chief among them is the fact that human resources specialists enjoy a controlled flow of quality employment candidates who have established a positive work ethic, have entry-to-mid-level leadership skills, are tested free and clear of drugs and have honorably served or are serving their country. PaYS Partners also benefit from referrals to other Department of Defense Employment programs, giving private-sector companies access to a broad range of qualified veterans from all services.

Secondly, PaYS partners benefit from both public recognition as a veteran friendly employer and media coverage while participating in Army grassroots events.

Lastly, companies enjoy a sense of patriotic satisfaction that they are taking viable steps to help young men and women, who are quite willing to sacrifice their lives to protect America's freedoms.

One MTA employee who knows a lot about protecting America’s freedoms as a former Operation Iraqi Freedom infantryman who joined the Army to serve his country after 9/11, is 28-year-old Army veteran Jesse DeMino.

“The MTA is big on honoring safety, much like in the Army,” said DeMino, who proudly serves as a New York City Transit special inspector, providing safe transit for thousands of railroad commuters daily. “I like that my employer gives me a chance to continue building myself here. When I grow, they grow as an organization.”

Out on the Long Island Rail Road, 31-year old Chris Braxton, an oiler/laborer working on diesel locomotives, believes his MTA career closely parallels his time in the U.S. Air Force from 2007 through 2011, which makes him feel welcome and at ease.

“When I was in the Air Force, I wrote weather forecasts and made sure the airplanes got off the ground safely,” he began. “It’s the same thing here at the MTA. It’s hard to be complacent on my job as a laborer on the tracks when I have to be thinking about not stepping on the third rail [and getting electrocuted]. I’ve got my partner, and we both want to go home to see our families at the end of the day, so we really have our backs out here, much like in the military.”

And for Vietnam veteran, Lt. Nelson Perez, 60, who serves as a highway unit supervisor with the MTA’s Police Department, working for the MTA as a veteran allows him to enjoy being a public servant.

“Serving in the military taught me that what I was doing was part of something bigger than me, much like what I do here on the police department,” said Perez, who served the nation from 1975 to 1995 as a communications officer. “I do the same thing now, accomplishing the mission and taking care of people here, but I focus more on the community as opposed to national strategic objectives.”

“I would tell any veteran out there who wants to work for the MTA to not think twice about calling the MTA’s Veterans Representative Aleyda Meyers to help get the ball rolling,” said DeMino confidently. “The MTA really takes good care of us veterans [combat or noncombat] with medical and dental benefits and a pension. I feel appreciated here for my service. It really is wonderful to have an employer who understands and can work with us in the performance of our duties here.”

Metropolitan-area companies or corporations interested in becoming an Army PaYS Program partner should contact the Northeast Region Marketing Analyst Joe Crosby at or via telephone at 502-613-1692.

CUTLINE MTA PHOTO SHOOT: From left to right, Stephanie Martinez, veterans representative for Metro North Railroad, Jesse DeMino, special inspector, New York City Transit Department, Lt. Nelson Perez, highway unit supervisor for MTA’s police department, Chris Braxton, oiler/laborer, Long Island Rail Road, and Aleyda Meyers, director, All-Agency Veterans Recruitment and Staff Initiatives.

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