Program geared to help veterans obtain jobs in the TV industry
Soldiers typically spend their time in service taking orders and relaying information down the chain of command while often in life threatening situations.
When they get home however they must face the transition back into a normal life and likely have a difficult time doing so, according to Matt Hillock, commander for the American Legion Truckee Chapter.
“Combat makes more sense than civilian life,” said Hillock. “Vets have an incredible skill set that isn’t always recognized as transferable.”
With this in mind Hillock is working to connect veterans in the Truckee area to a program in Grass Valley that offers free professional training on advanced television production equipment to those who served. Hillock said there’s a direct connection between the skills learned in the military and ones used in the communication industry.
“You have to keep your focus and be able to relay a message,” he said.
With training from Veterans-TV, Inc. veterans in the area now have a chance to transfer those skills into a successful career in the television industry.
The organization was established in September by Bob Lefcovich, a seasoned television professional who has worked in the industry for 53 years. Lefcovich said his encounter with a younger veteran who served in Afghanistan and was now homeless was what inspired him to start the program.
“He told me he’d love a job but he wasn’t given the opportunity,” said Lefcovich. He then utilized his resources and connections in the television industry to see what he could do to help veterans obtain careers in the industry.
First came the donation of a 53-foot Denali Gold mobile television truck from the NEP Group, one of the largest designers and operators of production trucks in the world, according to Lefcovich. From there he said the donations just kept coming. To date they’ve received over $3 million worth of equipment donations, most of which is new equipment current with the industry standards.
“People are going to come out of our organization and be trained on all the basics across the board,” he said.
Since September Lefcovich has been working to get the program off the ground. This week the group finally became a 501 3c nonprofit organization allowing them to apply for grant money. Now that they are a certified nonprofit, Lefcovich said a group of grant writers in Grass Valley have offered to write the program’s first grant requests for free.
In addition, Lefcovich is working towards contracting with production companies that will give veterans from the program employment opportunities. So far two Sacramento companies have signed on.
“Everybody has just been so good to us,” he said.
SUPPORTING THE EFFORT
As the program has developed, Lefcovich said they’ve made changes such as allowing veterans and their families to participate in the three month program.
“We want to make it a family thing. If you’re deployed for so long it affects a lot of people in your family,” he said.
They also brought a psychiatrist on board to help vet those participating and make sure they are emotionally and physically capable of doing the work.
Lefcovich said he has received overwhelming support from local professionals helping him to get the truck ready. He said they should have the mobile studio completely built out in a month with classes beginning in June.
“This business has been really good to me,” he said. “We’re trying to give those opportunities to veterans.”
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.