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, GE and many others.
Research shows clear indications that the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan find the transition to civilian careers difficult 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 up to $9600. 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.
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 commitment from corporate America to provide veterans with job-oriented re-training and employment, packaged together.
These veterans are young at 18 – 42 years; they bring a 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. It is time to respect their sacrifices and recompense them in a reasonable manner.
Interested employers and HR managers will benefit from being a part of this hiring initiative. At a time when the nation is facing a severe shortage of professionals with STEM skills or medical training, many veterans have developed these skills through their military experience. 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. While positions like transport, security, marine or aviation are an obvious fit, some employers need assistance in identifying suitable roles for veterans. Staffing agencies can contribute to this effort,
To avoid regulatory violations and help veterans to transition smoothly to civilian life and work, employers need to be aware of the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), recent veteran-related guidelines from ADA and the proposed leave under FMLA for the family of veterans,:
Efforts 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.”
To learn more about programs available to assist veterans in transitioning to the private sector or pursuing entrepreneurial goals, please check out the blog http://militaryonlinecolleges.org/veteran-entrepreneurship on the Military Online Colleges website.
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