Honoring Our Veterans and Those Who Hire Them

Secretary Scalia delivers opening remarks at the HIRE Vets Awards ceremony on Nov. 6, 2019.
Secretary Eugene Scalia delivers remarks at the HIRE Vets Medallion Award ceremony on Nov. 6, 2019.

Veterans Day is a time to honor the sacrifices of the men and women who have served our country in uniform. The U.S. Department of Labor honors these sacrifices by providing career and training services to veterans seeking employment at American Job Centers nationwide, and by ensuring that service members have the resources and tools necessary for a smooth transition to the civilian workforce.

The latest data is encouraging, though our work is far from done. The annual veteran unemployment rate declined to 3.5% in 2018 – the lowest level since 2000 – and the veteran unemployment rate has been lower than the nonveteran rate for 14 straight months.

Employers know that veterans bring proven skills and leadership experience to the workplace. As part of our role, the Department engages job creators and connects them with our network of over 2,400 American Job Centers nationwide, which served nearly 300,000 veterans in 2018.

The Department’s HIRE Vets Medallion Award Program, signed into law 2017, is the only federal program that recognizes employers that recruit, hire, and retain veterans. Employers who qualify for the stringent requirements and earn the HIRE Vets Medallion Award set an example for others to follow. It’s also a way for employers to signal their commitment to supporting our nation’s veterans to both potential veteran job applicants and customers as well.

This week, the Department announced 427 recipients of the 2019 HIRE Vets Medallion Award during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Honorees included small businesses, community-based nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies. You can view the full list of winners and find more information about the program at HireVets.gov.

In addition to recognizing job creators who demonstrate their dedication to hiring veterans, the Department is committed to helping others start that process. Employers can find relevant guidance, view additional hiring resources, and request personalized assistance to begin or enhance a hiring program via the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service website and Employer.gov.

Through our Office of Compliance Initiatives, we also provide up-to-date compliance assistance to businesses and other stakeholders. Our Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses (eLaws) Advisors address stakeholders’ rights and responsibilities under the law, including the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Veterans looking for employment or training information, including what benefits may be available following their military service, can visit their local American Job Center or find resources online.

On this Veterans Day, we honor those who have defended the American people and the freedoms we are privileged to enjoy. We also recognize those employers who have made the commitment to recruit, hire, and retain our veterans with family-sustaining careers.

Sam Shellenberger is the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Labor Department’s Veterans' Employment and Training Service. S. Marisela Douglass is the Director of the Department’s Office of Compliance Initiatives.