Organizations across America are being exhorted to provide career opportunities for the million plus war veterans who will be heading home over the next 3 years. The call has already been answered by companies like Walt Disney and GE and other organizations across America.
Research surveys show clear indications that the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan find the transition difficult with war-related trauma and stress disorders coupled with the current crises on the economic, housing and employment fronts. To offset this, employers who hire unemployed veterans are provided tax credits of $2400 all the way to $9600, depending on the hire. Employers with existing tax credits will also get enhancements if they hire veterans who were disabled in service.
In spite of such initiatives, over 10 million veterans are still seeking elusive jobs, as is evident from the data below, taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Table A-5. Employment status of the civilian population 18 years and over by veteran status, period of service, and sex, not seasonally adjusted
[numbers in thousands]
Having more veterans returning home to civilian life where they find jobs hard to come by is a situation that calls for strategic planning and quick resolution. It also requires a lot of support from corporate America of the sort offered by Walt Disney and GE who are committed to provide veterans with job-oriented re-training and employment, packaged together.
It is a Win-Win:
These veterans are young at 18 – 42 years; they bring disciplined approach, safety-consciousness and an ability to work in any shift in a day. They are technically adept and implicitly follow orders with willingness. They work well in teams, assume responsibility, and demonstrate leadership. They are scrupulously punctual and display other qualities valued in a work environment. But they may also have disabilities acquired in the line of duty along with psychological trauma and stress-related conditions. It is time to respect their sacrifices and recompense them in a reasonable manner.
Interested employers and HR managers could adopt these approaches to make a difference and be a part of the hiring initiative. Finding the right fit for a veteran is possible, if one evaluates and understands what constitutes military skill sets and abilities and matches them with the requirements of the role. It may not always be easy to draw a parallel between the skills and experience imparted while in the military, but it is also not a complete impossibility. While positions like transport, security, marine or aviation are an obvious fit, some employers need assistance in identifying suitable roles for veterans.
Guidance for Employers:
The regulatory authorities will not allow any employer to discriminate against a veteran. Employers need to be aware of the regulatory requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, recent veteran-related guidelines from ADA and the proposed leave under FMLA for the family of veterans, to avoid violations and help the veterans to transition smoothly to civil life and work:
The initiative to find employment for returning veterans will succeed with effective collaboration between non-profits, government initiatives and employers. As Senator Dan Lipinski said, “On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.”
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