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Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784

July 29, 2022
CONTACT: DWD Communications

Service Leads to Success with Employment Support for Veterans

DWD Office of Veteran Employment Services works with Companies To Hire Vets

By Shamane Mills

Matt Steeno and Derek Jablonicky
Retired Navy veteran Matt Steeno poses in May 2022 with Department of Workforce Development Veterans Business Consultant Derek Jablonicky at Fincantieri Marinette Marine. Jablonicky paved the way for Steeno to get a job as Class Design Services Manager at the northeastern Wisconsin ship building company.

MARINETTE – Matt Steeno joined the military to see the world – and he did. During his 23 years in the Navy, Steeno served in Iraq; Yokosuka, Japan; Monterey, California; London, England; the Horn of Africa; and Naples, Italy.

But when he retired from the military in July of 2019 he wanted to settle down with his wife and children where he grew up in Green Bay.

First, Steeno had to find a job nearby. And that's where the Department of Workforce Development's Office of Veteran Employment Services (OVES) entered the picture.

"If it weren't for DWD's Office of Veteran Employment Services I would not be working at Fincantieri Marinette Marine; I don’t know how long it would have taken me to find a job," Steeno said. "Their assistance was critical."

Steeno initially had difficulty finding a job before seeking the services of OVES, where a veteran career planner recommended he pare down a lengthy 10-page resume and remove terminology and skills unfamiliar to a civilian audience. Steeno was also advised to tailor his job search to match skills he already had.

"I left Navy thinking I was going to start a whole new career. That's part of why it was so challenging," he explained. "The barriers I faced were being older and the challenges I faced became even more pronounced when applying for jobs outside of the maritime sector."

Steeno had a desire to remain in public service but then serendipity steered him to the private sector in August 2020. Fincantieri Marinette Marine had recently landed a contract with the U.S. Navy to build up to 10 Constellation-Class Frigates.

The ship builder needed employees with a maritime background and Steeno fit the bill. Today, his job as a class design services manager provides assurance that the frigates get delivered to the Navy on time, on budget, and are seaworthy.

Local Veterans Employment Representative Derek Jablonicky met with Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corporation to provide a reference for Steeno, after also providing him with interview training and jobs assessment. The company recognized the potential Steeno offered and tailored a position that utilized his skills to the company's best advantage.

Matt Steeno
In July, 2019, Matt Steeno retired from the U.S. Navy after 23 years of service where he served in a variety of assignments in the United States and overseas. Steeno is currently employed at Fincantieri Marinette Marine as manager of Engineering and Class Services for the FFG(X) program.

This August will mark Steeno's second year with Fincantieri Marinette Marine, a company that values the dedication and experience of veterans.

“We have more than a hundred veterans in our Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard, and the benefits are easily seen," said Eric Dent, director of communication at Fincantieri Marine Group. "Veterans are typically mission-focused leaders who make great teammates and mentors. Many of our veterans consider their employment here building warships for the Navy as a way to continue serving and supporting the military.”

In 2021, Fincantieri Marinette Marine was awarded the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans Employer of the Year Award for the company's outstanding efforts to recruit veterans into the workforce.

The same year, DWD's Jablonicky was awarded the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans Local Veterans Employment Representative of the Year award for his efforts to promote veterans in the workforce.

From June 2021 to June 2022, DWD's Office of Veteran Employment Services (OVES) has connected 804 veterans in Wisconsin to jobs. During that same timeframe OVES has provided job development assistance such as mock interviews, individualized assessment, career planning, referral to training, and job placement assistance to 3,800 veterans.

For more information, visit: the Office of Veteran Employment Services


Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development efficiently delivers effective and inclusive services to meet Wisconsin's diverse workforce needs now and for the future. The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker's Compensation and Administrative Services. To keep up with DWD announcements and information, sign up for news releases and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.