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Veteran Finds New Mission Through DOD SkillBridge and USDA’s MVAL Assistance

Posted by Melissa Blair, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Equity Initiatives
Sep 06, 2023
Gloria Cirulli with daughter swearing in

The transition from military to civilian life can be challenging, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Military Veteran Agricultural Liaison (MVAL) offers assistance to veterans that can lead to permanent employment or help in starting an agriculture-related business.

After 23 years in the Army, retired Major Gloria Cirulli, former Inspector General, found her new mission serving her country as a regional hiring coordinator with the U.S. Forest Service.

She learned about USDA opportunities through the Department of Defense (DOD) SkillBridge program, which allows service members to gain civilian work experience during their last 180 days of active duty. For potential employers, DOD SkillBridge creates opportunities to access and leverage the world's most highly trained and motivated workforce at no cost.

As a result of DOD SkillBridge, Cirulli reached out to several federal agencies about career opportunities, and one of the responses she received was from USDA MVAL Monshi “Ram” Ramdass.

The MVAL helps connect veterans with federal and civilian agricultural programs and information about how veterans’ education benefits can be used to start careers in agriculture. The MVAL also advocates on behalf of veterans in interactions with USDA staff to ensure that personnel understand the proper implementation of new veteran farmer programs.

“We discussed my resume and background over the phone, and Ram said he would share my resume with USDA agencies,” said Cirulli. “He called me back and let me know that Forest Service Program Manager Deborah Beighley would be in touch.”

Beighley, who works on the agency’s Recruitment and Talent Acquisition Management Team, has tapped into DOD SkillBridge to recruit and hire interns and new employees. “I’m a believer in the program’s potential benefits for both the interns and the agency,” she said. “We’ve already onboarded two additional interns and are in the process of onboarding one more!”

“We were looking for someone skilled in project management who could navigate and build connections, someone who would bring a fresh, outside perspective to the work we were doing,” she continued. “Gloria did all that and more. I’m looking forward to seeing where her new position with the Forest Service takes her!”

Are you ready for new challenge? Contact to learn about special hiring authorities for veterans and their family members, the veterans’ preference in applying for federal jobs, and how you can align your skills with USDA mission areas and staff offices.

Category/Topic: Equity Initiatives