The Key to Hiring America’s Young Veterans

Filed in Workforce Development by on November 23, 2010 3 Comments

In July of 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor hosted a “Young Veterans Think Tank.”  Though the phrase “Think Tank” doesn’t sound very engaging, this event was truly exhilarating!  More than 50 “boots-on-the-ground” experts made their way to Washington DC to discuss the state of education and employment for this new generation of returning Service Members – those who have served time overseas and in combat yet are between the ages of 18 and 24.

The discussions that ensued revolved around a number of topics, including the need for mentorship and networking opportunities, academic and career planning, clearly constructing valuable skills and credentials into a resume that employers understand, and the need for job placement/employment assistance.  Aside from translating military occupational codes (or military job descriptions) into civilian language, what we found was that there aren’t many differences in what our young Service Members need and what youth in general need as they enter education and employment.  These issues become more exaggerated for young Veterans, mainly because they bring to the table a multitude of  experiences many people, including employers, have a difficult time recognizing.

So, what can we do?  Part of the answer is continued education for the employer community on the skills, experiences, and talents our young Veterans possess.  These remarkable people have proven themselves to be able to work extraordinarily under pressure, exhibit great attention to detail, display a commitment to the task at hand, and possess an incredibly strong work ethic.  Isn’t’ that what employers say they are looking for?  A smart company will hire for attitude…and train for skill.

Recently, as an answer to help employers reach out to the Veterans’ community, the Department of Labor’s America’s Heroes at Work team developed a Veterans Hiring Toolkit.

Available for free on the America’s Heroes at Work website — — the toolkit offers a process for addressing many of the questions employers have when incorporating military Veterans – including wounded warriors – into their recruitment efforts.

Understanding that each business has unique needs and processes, the toolkit offers strategies, resources and additional information that employers can use to customize their own efforts.  The Hiring Toolkit’s six-steps include:

  1. Design a strategy for a successful Veterans hiring program;
  2. Create a welcoming and educated workplace for Veterans;
  3. Actively recruit Veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses;
  4. Hire qualified Veterans and learn how to accommodate wounded warriors;
  5. Promote an inclusive workplace to retain Veteran employees; and
  6. Keep helpful tools and resources at your fingertips (a final section providing a quick and efficient “go-to” reference guide).

Our team at VETS would like to hear about your successes including Veterans (of all ages) into your corporate culture.  Please feel free to contact us at

Ed. Note: Ray Jefferson is the Assistant Secretary for the Veterans’ Employment & Training Service.

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Comments (3)

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  2. Jesse Jones says:

    It is easy to design a strategy for hiring veterans but if it is not implemented in some areas how do you know? I am a veteran and have a Masters of Information Technology Management since 2009. I revised my resume several times. Have been applying for positions I know that am qualified for since December 2009. With 20 years experience in IT in the military, what the problem. Why won’t anyone hire me?

    I was told by a manager at Frank Tejeda that if I wanted to get in the VA system maybe I should take a job as a custodian. In that case why did VA Chapter 31 rehabilitated me in the IT field…to be a custodian?

  3. Walter G Smthe (USA Ret.) says:

    Dear Mr. Raymond Jefferson,
    I would like to convey my thanks to your office for your on-going support in our LVER-DVOP Training needs. I was at N.V.T.I. during May 2010 for “Promoting Partnerships for Employment” which has broadened my approaches from the days when I was a career Army Nurse Recruiter.
    In view of our current malaise in the job arena, I feel that our recently separating Veterans would value greatly if we had a National Apprentice Program to utilize their Military Skills (M.O.S.’s). The situation that has manifested itself during this time of protracted job opportunities causes our recently separating Veteran’s to be idle. I wonder if they were “entered” into such apprentice programs would that help to meet with a positive out-come in real job acquisition. The other area that has always concerned me was the lack of A.C.E. acknowledgement concerning M.O.S. accreditations from our colleges. There are “fees” from all aspects of government which indicates an example that fees are more important then the rehabilitation and the job acquisition. How about a Federal Skills Recognition Program that evaluates M.O.S.’s based on A.C.E. and could mandate those received college credits to be directly applied to all state colleges? Just some food for thought from an old sergeant.
    Sincerely yours,
    Walter G Smythe, LVER (USA Ret.)

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