Without veterans, we would not live in the home we call the United States. Veterans protect our freedom, maintain order, and keep us safe and free. The transition from military service to civilian life, however, is not always a smooth one. Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of unemployed veterans has more than doubled since 2019. According to SHRM, research shows that nearly one-third of veteran job seekers are underemployed. In addition, only 25% of veterans have civilian jobs lined up after they leave the military, and 45% believe they are not well-prepared for civilian life after leaving.
What can be done to ease this transition?
The Defense Department now requires service members to participate in programs designed to facilitate a smooth transition out of the military, and they must start at least a year before their scheduled departure date. Six years ago, the Defense Department launched the SkillBridge program, which allows active-duty military to attend specialized job-training classes or participate in internships or apprenticeships during the months immediately prior to their transition. The program is especially popular with companies because the military pays the service members’ salaries while the firms get labor and a chance to test out potential employees.
What is the employer’s responsibility for hiring veterans?
Some employers are required to hire veterans, and some do it by choice. The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) is a law that prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against protected veterans and requires employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. A veteran is a “protected veteran” under VEVRAA if he or she falls into one or more of the following categories: disabled veteran; recently separated veteran (within one year of discharge); active-duty wartime or campaign badge veteran; or Armed Forces service medal veteran. Affirmative action programs are not filed with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP); they are kept by the contractor and must be produced in case of an audit by the OFCCP.
What are the benefits of hiring veterans?
Many companies who aren’t federal contractors are still serious about hiring veterans due to the specialized skills and benefits veterans provide to employers. Employers can get a tax credit for hiring eligible veterans. Veterans bring specialized skills, such as technology and project management skills. They are trained to work cooperatively together and with great loyalty to their team. Lastly, many veterans have been trained in effective leadership skills.
Unfortunately, many veterans struggle to gain employment due to the culture gaps between civilian life and their military pasts. Their skills do not always translate well to jobs in civilian society. They may fall prey to negative stereotypes. Considering their service to our country, it is important for employers to seek to overcome these difficulties. By advertising open positions on veteran-specific job boards like Vetjobs, Military.com and GIjobs, employers can reach thousands of veterans to make a difference in veteran employment.
Employment applications often include a section to determine if the applicant is a protected veteran. Why is this information requested and how is it used? To see how much you know about this, answer the following question.
Which of the following is not a reason to ask veterans to identify themselves on employment applications?
- The information is used for hiring decisions.
- The data allows companies to measure the results of their veteran recruiting efforts.
- It is required for federal contractors and subcontractors.
- Some employers voluntarily adopt affirmative action programs to remedy past adverse impact.
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