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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.

Army Offering a Variety of Perks to Attract New Recruits

sgtmaj dailey

By Debbie Gregory.

In order to meet the targeted active force end strength of 476,000 by October 1st, the U.S. Army is developing programs to attract new recruits. In addition to the active force increasing by 16,000, the Army National Guard will grow by 4,000 and the Army Reserve by 8,000.

The proposed benefits include bonuses and other monetary incentives as well as training that will into translate into future civilian employment credentials and college credits.

The Army’s Noncommissioned Officer Education System will also give soldiers an advantage that will directly transfer to universities the Army has partnered with to ensure courses transfer for college credit, according to Sgt. Major of the Army Daniel Dailey.

Coming into the job in January 2015 at age 42 — making him the youngest Sgt. Major in Army history — Dailey already had a long to-do list, focusing on professional military education, readiness, robust training, physical fitness, and helping soldiers transition smoothly into civilian life. The educational benefits the Army offers will be a key part of its effort to attract additional soldiers, Dailey said.

“The number one reason men and women join the military today is because of sacrifice and service, and the second one is because of our education benefits,” Daily said. He went on to say, “And we will fight to sustain those benefits. … We cannot erode benefits to our soldiers and their families or we will put the all-volunteer force at risk … we have to continue to invest in the soldier because that is an investment in the future.”

As soldiers advance through the ranks and attend the Advanced Leader Course and the Senior Leader Course, they will earn many of the requirements for an undergraduate degree, he said.

“That way, in the future, a senior noncommissioned officer should have an undergraduate degree before they go to the Sergeant Major Academy,” Dailey said.

“So I think that we have got tell America: One, we need your sons and daughters to continue to sacrifice and serve because it is the right thing to do for their nation, but two — when we send them home, they are going to be better than when we received them, and that’s our commitment to the American soldier.”

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.

Jobless Rate Rises for Post 9/11 Veterans in January

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By Debbie Gregory.

In 2011, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a program giving employers tax credits to encourage veteran employment. Other programs also have encouraged companies and government agencies to hire veterans.

In spite of those efforts, the unemployment rate for the youngest generation of veterans jumped to 6.3 percent in January, the fourth time in the last seven months that group’s figure has been substantially higher than the overall veteran rate.

The figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reflect the last month of President Barack Obama’s time in office, represent about 211,000 Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans looking for work. That’s almost 46 percent of the total of all U.S. veterans filing for unemployment benefits in January.

Young veterans, the ones between the ages of 18 and 34, face challenges in the employment marketplace that non-veterans never have to face and that older veterans have already overcome.

In many cases, it is hard to translate the work that was done in the service to a civilian equivalence. There are also few calls for riflemen, artillery spotters, missile technicians and many other military positions.

The January 2017 veteran unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, compared to the non-veteran rate of 5.0 percent. In December, the Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans’ rate was 5.7 percent.

With additional training and responsibility, the unemployment rate of young veterans should be lower than the rest of the population. That’s why the higher number of unemployed younger veterans does raise concerns.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics officials estimate that nearly 9.8 million veterans are in the U.S. workforce today, with roughly 32 percent of them having served in the military after 2001.

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

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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.

Military Connection: Why Hire Veterans? By Debbie Gregory

Hiring vetsVeteran employees are among the most skilled, trainable and dedicated group of individuals in the workforce. Hiring Veterans can greatly contribute to turning our economy around. Therefore, it is vital that employers understand their Veteran employees and the potential Veteran employees have to elevate the success of the company they work for. When civilian hiring managers are given the tools to understand the Veteran workforce, they will be more likely to recruit these workers and leaders into their ranks.

Military Connection has compiled the following list of general facts about Veterans that can assist hiring managers and Veteran employers:

Many Veterans weren’t properly prepared for the transition– Millions of Veterans have left the military during the past decade. Often times, while still in uniform, Veterans were promised employment solely based on their service. It is only in the last couple of years that service branches have taught their separating members how to market themselves to civilian hiring managers. Most Veterans weren’t taught how to translate their vast military skills to a civilian employer.

Company values are important– Most employees, especially Veteran employees, want to work for a company with values and visions of a cause that is greater than profits. Veterans seek out companies that believe in teamwork, strong leadership and supporting the community. Veterans have been seasoned to support and promote the values of their organization. The “hoo-rah” attitude that Veterans used to fight wars could be utilized in supporting your company’s goals.

Veterans don’t want a handout– Veterans don’t want to be hired solely based on their Veteran status. Through extensive military training and benefits, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Veterans have training, knowledge and experience to offer your company. The biggest obstacle that Veteran employment seekers have to overcome is hiring managers who do not recognize military service as employment experience.

Veterans are problem solvers– While serving, Veterans wore many hats and took on varied duties. Veterans received extensive experience in executing orders, improvising when necessary, and crisis management. Veterans also possess the leadership skill set in order to carry out necessary responsibilities and accomplish the company’s missions, such as inter-squad coordination, motivating subordinates, and team building.

Veterans continue to serve– Many Veteran employees may still be serving in the National Guard or Reserves. As a rule, the Veteran workforce is a patriotic and community conscious group. Many Veterans belong to service organizations and clubs, and want to make their communities better places for their families.

When a hiring manager is able to recognize the experience, skills and personality that a Veteran employee can bring to their company, then perhaps the Veteran unemployment rate will go down, and company success can sky-rocket.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Why Hire Veterans?   By Debbie Gregory