Veterans Day will be celebrated this year on Monday, November 11. As we do each year, we’ll show our appreciation for the sacrifices courageous Americans have made over the decades. We’ll join our neighbors to attend colorful parades of American military personnel, past and present, who committed years of their lives to defend and protect America and all its people. Those of us who lost loved ones in battles past will pay our respects at their resting places, and visit a veterans’ hospital to bring comfort and maybe even a smile to injured servicemen and women who may have no one else.
Maybe we can do more. Maybe we can hire a veteran.
The Department of Labor reported recently that in September 2019, the veteran unemployment rate dropped to 3.2 percent, down from 3.4 percent last month. The non-veteran unemployment rate for September 2019 was 3.4 percent. Utilizing the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, this is the 13th consecutive month when the veteran unemployment rate was lower than the non-veteran unemployment rate. That’s wonderful news.
But veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in August 2018, higher than the rate for veterans with no disability.
And there are still more than 300,000 veterans available for work. In 2018, 19.2 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about 8 percent of the civilian non-institutional population age 18 and over. About 10 percent of all veterans were women.
That’s a lot of very good talent out there! Let’s get to work, getting them to work.
What veterans can do for your organization
Why hire a vet? There are a 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 have learned 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 Syria 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 the achievement of every goal and objective.
Hire Veterans and You Could Even Qualify for Tax Benefits
Did you know hiring veterans can also help your business earn tax credits?
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is available for organizations that hire eligible unemployed veterans. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit offers up to $5,600 in incentives for hiring unemployed veterans. Plus, the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit doubles the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit to $9,600 for long-term unemployed veterans with service-related disabilities. Find out all the details on military.com.
How to reach them:
- State Job Bank is a great place to reach veterans by posting your job openings there.
- CareerOneStop Business Center, sponsored by the Department of Labor, is a great resource with information on job centers, job fairs, and other means to reach veterans.
- 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.
For the Transportation Industry
Last year, the 115th Congress passed Public Law 115-105, the Jobs for Our Heroes Act. Designed to streamline the process by which active duty military, reservists, and veterans receive commercial driver’s licenses. This bill amends the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act — the first federal law in over a decade to provide long-term funding certainty for surface transportation infrastructure planning and investment — to require the medical professional who may perform a medical examination and provide a medical certificate for purposes of compliance with requirements for operation by a veteran of a commercial motor vehicle to be a “qualified examiner” who is employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs as a medical professional; and is licensed, certified, or registered in a state to perform physical examinations.
The bill applies commercial driver’s license standards for former members of the Armed Forces or reserves to current members of the Armed Forces or reserves. It allows such covered individuals who have experience in driving vehicles similar to a commercial motor vehicle while serving in the Armed Forces or reserves to apply for an exemption from all or a portion of federal commercial motor vehicle driving test requirements.
This Veterans Day, honor the fallen and extend a hand to American veterans looking for employment – it’ll pay off for you and for our heroes who have given so much.