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Veterans’ Preference Hiring Program

The-Veterans-Preference-Point-System

By Debbie Gregory.

Veterans’ Preference gives those who are disabled, served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns preference over others in hiring for virtually all federal government jobs for veterans. While veterans’ preference does not guarantee jobs for military veterans, it does show our nation’s gratitude by giving them a leg up.

Veterans’ Preference was enacted at the end of the Civil War to aid disabled veterans. It was greatly expanded after World War I, allowing able-bodied, honorably discharged veterans, widows of deceased veterans and wives of severely disabled ones to take advantage of the assistance. Under the Obama administration, federal agencies established hiring goals that has resulted in one-third of new federal hires being veterans.

The program works on a point system, with 100 being the highest score. Typically, applicants receive points by either taking a test or through an evaluation of their education and experience. Disabled veterans got extra 10 points added to that score, while other former soldiers received 5 points. In the case of a tie, veterans are placed ahead of non-veterans. In addition, veterans with more serious service-related disabilities are placed at the top of the list, as long as they achieved a passing grade of 70 points.

Hiring officials cannot pass over veterans in the top category to hire more qualified non-veterans.

Younger veterans born since 1980 are about 15 times more likely than non-veterans of the same age to hold federal jobs.

Veterans’ Preference is a powerful hiring tool that can help veterans reach the veteran employers of the federal workforce.

Although it only directly benefited about one-tenth of veterans in the past, nearly one-third of recent veterans have federal jobs, many more than would have them in the absence of preferential hiring.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

How Employers Can Retain Veteran Employees

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By Debbie Gregory.

Despite a push to increase jobs for military veterans, statistics reveal that almost half of all veterans leave their first post-military position within a year, and only 20-40% of veterans will see their second work anniversary.

It would be naive to conclude that these vets are leaving for better veteran jobs. Most of these first jobs are vacated due to a lack of familiar work culture, career development/advancement, meaning, or professional development opportunities.

What can veteran employers do to help retain their veteran employees?

The first step would be integrate new veteran employees into the workforce by overcoming language differences. Military terminology is quite a bit different from civilian terminology. Even the job descriptions may need to go through a skills translator. Veterans that aren’t familiar with corporate language may be perceived as less competent or cooperative, and may have trouble connecting with their superiors. A simple remedy is to educate managers, recruiters, and leaders about military culture and language. If the company already employs veterans, they should be called upon to help close the divide.

Preparing an orientation program for veteran students has shown great success at colleges and universities. Perhaps a similar program for new veteran employees would assist them in navigating the organization.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the rules in the military are often very different than in the corporate world, so clarity is key. Make sure the unwritten rules are as clear as the written ones.

Buddy up: giving veteran employees a connection with someone who is already well-established in the organization with a similar military background can give a new employee the insight and connection they need to succeed at your company.

Help your veteran employees understand their role within the company. Remember that those who have served are purpose, vision, mission, and value motivated.

Through small, meaningful actions, employers can get great results in retention by integrating veterans into corporate life.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Veteran Employment Stats Reveal Jobless Rate for Post 9/11 Veterans on the Rise

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By Debbie Gregory.

While the average 2016 unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans is on schedule to be approximately 5 per cent, November’s rate jumped to 6.5 percent. This increase brought the veteran employment rate to its lowest level of 2016.

While the November unemployment statistic for post-9/11 veterans might not look good, there is still plenty of reason for optimism.

The unemployment rate spike from October, when the rate charted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 4.7 percent for post-9/11 veterans, is large. But such spikes are far from rare and are often followed by similarly large drops. For example, the rate jumped from 4.7 percent this February to 6.3 percent in March and then tumbled to 4.1 percent in April.

Jackie Maffucci, research director for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, has said that because the post-9/11 unemployment data is based on a very small sample size, such volatility is common.

Economists advise not to pay too much attention to any one month’s results but rather to look at multi-month trends.

Those trends have been toward lower post-9/11 veteran unemployment for years, with unemployment dropping lower in 2016 than it has ever been before. A single month’s rate spike cannot change that.

To view the Bureau of Labor Statistics full report regarding the unemployment status of all veterans, which was updated on December 2, 2016, go to https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t05.htm.

NOTE: Veterans who served in more than one wartime period are classified only in the most recent one. Veterans who served during one of the selected wartime periods and another period are classified only in the wartime period.

If you are job hunting, make sure to check out the MilitaryConnection.com Job Board, as well as the Virtual Job Fair, where you’ll find jobs for military veterans as well as employers who are hiring military veterans.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Pay For Success Veterans Employment Program Launched By VA

pay for success

By Debbie Gregory.

The VA Center for Innovation (VACI) and VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment teams are partnering with the Corporation for National Community Service to launch the Veterans Employment Pay for Success (VEPFS) Program.

Transitioning from military service to civilian life can be an uncertain time for Veterans. For Veterans returning home with complex PTSD symptoms, jobs for military veterans can be hard to maintain, and the lack of employment can have compounding consequences for their PTSD symptoms.

The idea behind Pay for Success is simple; instead of paying upfront for a social service that may or may not achieve the desired results, the government only pays once an intervention produces specific, measurable, and positive outcomes.

In Pay for Success programs, the payout occurs only after a rigorous evaluation determines that the pre-agreed-upon outcomes have been achieved due to the intervention. In other words, the VA is only paying for what works, what is successful.

While transitioning from military to civilian life is unique to each veteran and their circumstances, regular and supportive employment can provide the stability to tackle mental, physical and social challenges.

The Pay for Success program is the first of its kind to be attempted by the VA. This goal is consistent with the mission of VA, which is to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.

The VA’s Office of Economic Opportunity within the Veterans Benefits Administration has a further defined mission to “Help Veterans attain personal and economic success” through a variety of benefits, services, and activities including promoting employment opportunities for Veterans. The targeted veterans for this Pay for Success pilot will need to have Service-connected Disability of PTSD.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

When Job Hunting, Work Smarter, not Harder

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By Debbie Gregory.

Whether you are transitioning out of the military and looking for veteran friendly jobs, graduating from school, or simply looking for a new job, there a few steps that you can take that will help you work smarter, not harder.

First of all, you need to do your homework on any prospective employers. One of the best places to begin is on social media. Reach out and ask current and past employees about their experiences with the company. And don’t forget that prospective employers may be doing the same, so be careful what you post on your personal social media pages.

If you have been working with a recruiter, you can ask questions. But exercise caution so that you don’t jeopardize the interview if you say the wrong thing or make them feel like you aren’t serious about the job.

If you’re at the interview stage, you will learn a lot by actually going to the job interview. Remember as much as they are interviewing you, you are also interviewing them to see if they are a good fit for you. Ask the questions you have to ask to know whether it’s where you really want to work. Asking good questions also shows that you are interested in any veteran friendly jobs they have, and that you’re prepared. The answers to those questions should also help you decide whether or not you want to work for the employer.

Try not to ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. You want more information, and people will usually provide that if you ask “open-ended” questions

Important questions to ask include: What can you tell me about this job that isn’t in the description? What’s the day-to-day of the job actually like? What will I be doing, and how many hours are in a typical work week? What is the key to success in this job? Who will I be interacting with and in what capacity? How are performance reviews conducted, and how often? What is the turnover rate?

It’s best not to ask a question that could be answered by a quick visit to the employer’s website or a Google search.

Don’t forget to ask your interviewer questions about themselves, such as how long have you worked here, what do you enjoy most about working here, and to what they attribute their success at the company to.

Finally, make sure you know the final questions to ask: What happens next in your process? When will you be back in touch with me, and how (email, phone call?) When do you expect to make a decision? When do you anticipate the person in this job will start work? Who should I stay in touch with (get name, job title, and contact information)?

Companies Commit to Jobs for Military Veterans

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By Debbie Gregory.

Joining Forces, created in 2011 by first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, has resulted in jobs for military veterans, hiring/training more than 1.2 million veterans and military spouses.

Now, 40 companies pledged more than 110,000 jobs for military veterans and military spouses over the next five years, and more committed to training them.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon has committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years, training 10,000 veterans and spouses in cloud computing.

“We’re constantly looking for leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action, and who want to deliver for customers,” Bezos said. “Those principles look very familiar to the men and women who served our country in the armed forces. And also their spouses.”

The aerospace-defense sector pledged to hire a combined total of 30,000 veterans, and the telecommunications sector committed to hiring a combined total of 25,000.

“They made these commitments because time and again they saw for themselves that our veterans and military spouses are simply the best employees around,” Mrs. Obama said, reinforcing that these companies are doing the right thing.

As far as hiring for high tech jobs for veterans, she added, “If they can set up wireless networks in Baghdad or do satellite reconnaissance in the mountains of Afghanistan, I’m pretty confident that they can handle whatever’s happening in Silicon Valley.”

Mrs. Obama also stressed that she hoped the next administration would continue to make hiring veterans and military spouses a national priority

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Muster Assembles to Discuss Jobs For Military Veterans

muster

By Debbie Gregory.

More than 300 representatives of veteran employers attended a Starbucks’ hosted muster to discuss jobs for military veterans.

Starbucks and the Schultz Family Foundation brought participants together for their second muster, an Old English military term for the process of accounting for members of a unit, generally after a battle — to help with the transition from military service to civilian careers.

“Last time, we had about 150 people in attendance and one of the suggestions that we heard that resonated was that we need to broaden the conversation,” said Daniel Pitasky, executive director of the Schultz Family Foundation. “The idea was that each person who came to the last Muster would bring someone new to the conversation.”

The effort is a continuation of Starbucks’ commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2018.

Hiring veterans makes good business sense. Veterans have attributes that employers look for. They are leaders, committed to something greater than themselves. They understand diversity. They are able to accomplish a mission under the hardest of conditions.

Retired Army Gen. Ray Odierno said that while veterans are quick learners, they need assistance from their employers to close the military-civilian gap.

“We need the long-term civilian expertise within a company mentoring and helping veterans,” Odierno said.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who’s on the Starbucks board of directors, agreed that civilians and veterans need to get to know one another so that they can better understand each others culture.

In addition to addressing employing veterans, the subject of retention was at the top of the list.

JPMorgan Chase commissioned a study with the Center for a New American Security to survey companies about veteran retention. The results should be published around Veterans Day.

Another topic of discussion focused on employing military spouses.

Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families, said,“The very best thing you can give a transitioning veteran is a spouse with a job.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

SunShot Initiative Creates Jobs for Military Veterans

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By Debbie Gregory.

In the first workforce training partnership between a civilian federal agency, the Department of Defense and individual military branches, the SunShot Initiative’s Solar Ready Vets program is training our nation’s transitioning servicemembers for careers in the solar energy industry. Upon completion of the program, these veterans are ready for careers as solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related occupations, great jobs for military veterans.

In the U.S., employment in the solar industry has steadily increased 123% over the past five years. Veterans are strong candidates to fill these positions because they are disciplined, motivated, and technically savvy.

Solar energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States and a major source of new jobs. Employment in the solar industry is expected to grow by nearly 15% in 2016, continuing into 2020 – with rising demand for more highly-trained, skilled workers. With at least 190,000 veterans leaving the U.S. military each year for the next several years, the Solar Ready Vets program matches highly qualified individuals with growing industry demand.

The Energy Department has secured commitments from some of the largest U.S. solar companies to interview graduating military trainees for employment, a step that will help place qualified trainees in the high-paying jobs for which they received training. So far, the program has been hugely successful, with, every graduate of the program having received at least one job offer from a solar company.

During the pilot phase, the program has been tested and designed  at three military installations: Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Carson in Colorado, and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.  The Energy Department is working with the Department of Defense to expand the program to a total of ten military bases by late spring 2016.

Future locations will be evaluated based on the number of exiting military personnel, the strength of the surrounding solar market, and the training capacity of nearby DOE-supported training institutions.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Jobs for Military Veterans Remains a Top Priority

veterans resources

By Debbie Gregory.

Jobs for military veterans is one of the main issues facing today’s veterans, with the unemployment rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan remaining the highest among all American veterans.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the 2014 unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans, although down nearly 2 percent from the previous year, was at 7.2 percent. This was the highest amongst all veteran groups.

But the news isn’t all bad. The Department of Veteran Affairs reports that veteran school benefits, such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, have impacted the unemployment figures as many veterans have decided to pursue an education instead of a getting a job right away. Additionally, female veterans have a completion rate 5 percent higher than female students in the general population.

So while women veterans have a higher unemployment rate, those who attend school and/or secure an employment opportunity are faring better than their non-veteran counterparts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

When it comes to finding jobs for military veterans, Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities.

To date, the initiative has found jobs for more than 27,000 veterans and military spouses. The listing of Veteran Job Fairs on MilitaryConnection.com includes Hiring Our Heroes on-site events that connect veterans directly with employers, as well as many other resources for employment and education including Post 9/11 GI Bill information, the Annual Stipend for books & supplies , a Job Board with thousands of openings, and our Virtual Job Fair.

But finding a job and staying at that job long term can be a challenge for many veterans. In order to avoid attrition, one of the best veteran job tips is to begin planning for a civilian job anywhere from 10 to 12 months before transitioning out of the military.

When looking for veteran jobs, don’t rule out working for the federal government. According to the President’s Council on Veterans Employment, in 2014, the percentage of veteran new hires hit a new high of 33.2 percent, surpassing the previous mark set in FY 2013, when 31 percent of all new Federal civilian hires were veterans.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.