Although he was away from Austin for 26 years, Erric Davis is an Austin native, born and raised. For 24 of those years, Erric was a Boatswain’s Mate in the U.S. Navy, serving on five ships and three shore commands on the West Coast and in San Antonio. After retiring at the rank of Chief Petty Officer, Erric and his family moved to Austin.
Now a veteran, Erric began pursuing his postsecondary education. As a veteran with service-connected disabilities, Erric received Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment services from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This included paid training and a monthly living expense stipend.
With this support, Erric earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Concordia University Texas where he graduated magna cum laude.
“While I was in school, I took coursework on project management and connected the dots—this is very similar to what I did in the Navy,” said Erric. “l asked around for where a veteran can go for help to ‘plain talk’ what I did as a service member so that civilian employers would better understand my role in the service.”
Erric’s search led him to WorkinTexas.com, the state’s premier job site with features designed to improve talent and job matching for job seekers and employers alike. Erric found information for veterans on WorkinTexas and connected with Sean Jevning with the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC).
“Sean gave me a lot of information and helped me to get hired on at the Texas Department of Public Safety in 2016. I finished my education while I was there and transitioned to project management through the help of TVC,” Erric said.
During this time, Erric began visiting Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s North Career Center, where he met with Michelle Gilbert, a Veterans Career Advisor and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist with TVC.
“Michelle took my resume and polished it, and she also helped me transfer my resume to my WorkinTexas account,” Erric said. “She helped me with job seeking and she continued to track my education and made sure I was on par.”
“Michelle shared all types of useful, helpful resources, including YouTube channels for interviews, a mock job interview, job-search strategies, and tips on how to dress. The amount of assistance she gave me was immeasurable,” said Erric.
“I realized as someone who is doing job interviews to just go out there and do it—you may not get the job, but it’s an opportunity to interview and get comfortable doing it. I was a willing participant, which is most important,” he said.
For Erric, the service he received from the career center staff contributed to making his job search experience a positive one: “I felt like I was receiving white glove service. When the front desk staff realized I was a veteran, they would thank me for my service and reach out to Michelle. I felt welcomed, I felt important. My accomplishments in the service weren’t looked down upon,” he said.
“Erric has expressed his appreciation to me for the employment services he received from the Texas Veterans Commission and additional information he received regarding the veteran’s benefits he is entitled to that he didn’t know about,” said Michelle.
In early 2019, Erric joined the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) as a project manager.
“TDLR issues and regulates 39 license types in Texas. I have created a process to update our approximate 1,000 applications for those different license types so that our constituents are able to fill them out online via a fillable PDF,” Erric said.
“I also manage several other projects, including software upgrades and other technological advancements for internal stakeholders. We are seeking to change some of our manual processes to automated processes and I am fortunate to be involved in those discussions and changes,” he added.
“Michelle linked me up with the most awesome state agency. TDLR loves veterans and we are recognized for the number of veterans we have here,” said Erric.
“Erric is an advocate for all veterans, and for the employment services offered at the Workforce Solutions career centers and the Texas Veterans Commission,” said Michelle.
For others who are following in Erric’s footsteps, and transitioning from uniformed service to Austin’s workforce, Erric offers this advice: “Be prepared and know what you want to do. Take advantage of the services that the State of Texas offers to veterans, and especially, the employment services offered by the Texas Veterans Commission.
“I don’t know of any other state that is so supportive to veterans. This is the second state I’ve lived in since retiring and Texas is absolutely welcoming and supportive to those of us who have fulfilled the commitment to serve our country,” he said.
“Use your benefits. As veterans, we have a lot to offer in the workforce and it is important that you take advantage of the benefits available through the State of Texas,” Erric said.
“Also, educate other veterans on the services available. You’d be surprised how many veterans are not aware of the benefits that are available. Be the testimonial they need to witness, so they too can take advantage of all the services and benefits available to veterans in Texas.”