On Saturday, November 11, America will once again celebrate Veterans Day. As we do each year, we’ll flock to parades of American military personnel, past and present, who committed years of their lives to defend and protect the Constitution and the American people. Thousands may pay a visit to a nearby veterans hospital, bringing comfort and brightening the day for elderly and injured servicemen and women. And many of us will show our appreciation by laying flowers on the graves of those who bravely sacrificed their very lives to defend our nation.
There’s something else you may also want to do this year: Hire a veteran.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of 20.9 million living American veterans, approximately 453,000 were unemployed as of 2016. That’s a huge and unusually-qualified labor pool, 40 percent of whom are between 18 and 44.
Why hire a vet? There are a whole lot of good reasons.
- Having served in the military, vets are highly disciplined, with great respect for authority, policies, and procedures. They understand accountability, and are comfortable working within an organized framework and hierarchy.
- But they’ve also been trained on how to be flexible and independent. Vets know how to work on their own, hit the ground running (and may have literally and repeatedly done so!), and have been taught how to improvise to produce results. Those may prove to be extremely valuable assets in smaller and more fluid organizations.
- Need team players? Ex-military personnel define well-coordinated teamwork. They can produce individually and, more than most, understand the value and benefits of working together. It can be – and for them, may very well have been – a lifesaver.
- Mission Possible. Those who have served have worked toward objectives. It’s second nature to them to start, follow and execute a plan until it’s achieved. Military personnel have been shaped and taught how to achieve missions, and may find creative ways to reach your goals in ways that non-vets may not have imagined or considered attainable. “Can-do” attitude personified.
- They offer leadership values. As they progressed through the ranks, veterans earned and took on more responsibilities, including effectively managing others. Teamwork. Respect. Honor. Veterans come to the job with these qualities built-in.
- Pressure? Bring it on. Need to fill a stressful opening, something with tight deadlines and constantly-shifting priorities? Former military personnel may have served in actual combat, where their very lives and the lives of the comrades they led were in jeopardy. Tell a combat-hardened veteran, someone who’s served in Afghanistan, Iraq or Vietnam, that the job may at times be stressful and be prepared for a respectful chuckle. Oh, and keep in mind that most of these veterans weren’t conscripted but volunteered to serve.
- Vets are a good bet when it comes to keeping sensitive information secure. Military personnel may have been privy to highly-classified materials at the most sensitive levels. While you’ll naturally run a background check on candidates who are veterans, just as you would all other new employees, ex-military personnel generally come with an ingrained respect for security. Hire with the confidence that they’ll keep your most top secret materials secure.
- They bring experience and are comfortable working with diversity. Veterans served with people of all races, religions, gender identification, ethnicities, and economic status. They know it’s important to get along with everyone, no matter what the differences. A cooperative attitude of this caliber may stimulate a more inclusive atmosphere in your workforce, enhancing teamwork and accelerating achievement of every goal and objective.
Now that you more fully consider how veterans may significantly benefit your organization while giving them well-deserved opportunities, here are some places you can reach out to them:
- HireVets offers a simple dashboard for both veterans seeking employment and employers.
- RecruitMilitary reaches vets through virtual and on-site job fairs, job postings, recruiting services, military base events, targeted email, and many other communication media.
- MilitaryHire is an online resource for finding veterans looking for jobs, and offers articles to help organizations develop a strategy for hiring vets, and best practices for veterans transitioning into the private sector.
- The United States Department of Labor offers a site specifically to enable organizations to hire qualified veterans. You can directly contact a Veteran Employment Representative in your state via email from their site.
You may also want to check into an organization called Hire Heroes USA, an organization self-described as “a Charity Navigator 4-Star rated and GuideStar Platinum level nonprofit that provides consistently effective, individualized career coaching services to transitioning military members, veterans and military spouses with an uncompromising focus on results.” Hire Heroes states that their programs “are funded exclusively by private grants and public donations.”
- THIS JUST IN: Our valued clients in the transportation sector may be interested in following The Jobs for Our Heroes Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), that was passed in the Senate September 17, 2017. The legislation streamlines the process by which active-duty military, reservists and veterans apply for Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs). The Bill now will go to the House.
This Veterans Day, honor the fallen and extend a hand to American veterans looking for employment – qualified candidates who offer so much of what employers want.
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