Veterans in The Work Force

Assisting veterans find work in the work-force of the United States can sometimes be a much harder task than one would imagine. Yet, our country’s recovering economy could use such a highly trained and skilled set of workers.

Though it may seem a common sense question for anyone who is a veteran or anyone who knows one, the question is still asked, why should we spend government money on helping veterans find work? Here’s a reason: as stated by, there are credits available to businesses that hire one or more of the 900,000 unemployed veterans in the United States as provided by the 2011 VOW to Hire Heroes Act. Some of those credits include a sum of $2,400 for businesses that hire veterans who are unemployed between four weeks and six months after active duty. Also, a sum of $5,600 is available to employers who hire veterans that have been out of active duty for six months or more. In addition to that, businesses that hire injured veterans who have been unemployed for more than six months can receive a credit of up to $9,600.

Yet if money isn’t an issue for companies, they can look at qualifications. A veteran of the Iraq conflict could be trained in complicated computer systems and multiple languages (which would demonstrate his ability to learn even more languages). Many veterans have discipline that a recruiter wouldn’t be able find anywhere else. Coupled with a respect for authority, this is a winning combination. And those are just a few of the benefits of hiring veterans.

Yet, some companies are reluctant to hire veterans. One of the principle reasons for this is called “skills translation”. When applying in the private sector, a veteran has to translate his military skills into civilian terms. Acronyms, positions, and military terminology are not widely known, and civilians are not likely to take the time to learn. So sometimes it can be hard for an employer to feel the value of the great training that the armed forces provides. A quick solution to this is to seek out someone from the desired industry and have them review your resume; this should be someone who also understands the jargon of your division of the armed forces.

Another common issue that employers have with hiring veterans is negative stereotypes. some of these can include a fear of anger management, Post traumatic Stress Disorder, or even that a veteran can sometimes come across as rigid and formal in an employment setting where that isn’t desired. These are issues that will only be resolved as Veterans keep applying to jobs and stay active in the workforce. If they are facing issues with PTSD or other mental health issues, they can be seeking appropriate treatment. A former member of the armed forces can also conquer the stereotype of rigidness and formality by preparing for the interview. While practicing with someone they trust the interviewee can record themselves and have the interviewed friend make suggestions where needed to improve their general approach (this is good advice for anyone applying for a job).

An employer also has to worry about all of the members on his team, including the veterans, and their long-term dependability. Future deployment possibility can be a deterrent for some businesses. A veteran may bring great skills to the team, or be driven to succeed in any situation, but if they are going to disappear for six to 10 months at a time after only being around for two or three, the investments of an employer into that veteran can sometimes be overshadowed by the cost of losing them for such long periods of time.

While there are some risks inherent with hiring veterans, the same thing could be said of hiring any employee, and when an employer hires a veteran, they can expect a disciplined, responsible employee. But the benefits of veterans in the workplace are not limited to whichever company chooses to hire them; they affect the entire nation. One can not deny that in post-world-war-II America the returning veterans who had great skill sets and discipline were a great cause for the economic boom of the 1950’s. A similar effect is expected with the veterans of the war on terror.

Another great benefit of hiring veterans is shown in these numbers: as of 2009, 643,000 people were estimated to be homeless in the United States. Approximately one-fifth of those people are veterans. Programs are in place to assist homeless veterans in finding both homes and work, and cooperative employers are an essential part of that. The value of these veterans is too great to give up.

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