Strengthen Your Workforce: Hire Veterans

Photo from a hiring fair of a civilian employer speaking with a service member

America’s military veterans comprise one of the most capable, disciplined and dedicated talent pools in the nation. Our all-volunteer force is filled with high-quality recruits; only 29% of young Americans meet the standards for entry into military service.

During Military Appreciation Month this May, it’s worth noting exactly why veterans make excellent employees in the civilian workforce.

“During their years of military service, veterans gain valuable hard and soft skills in a culture that encourages initiative, believes in accountability and develops some of the finest leaders in the world,” said Assistant Secretary of Veterans’ Employment and Training John Lowry. “These formative professional experiences enable multitudes of veterans to transition seamlessly into the civilian world and bring tremendous value to the businesses and organizations they choose to serve.”

Here at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), our goal is to help ensure service members and their spouses make a seamless transition to the civilian workforce. We also connect employers who are looking to hire with job-seeking veterans.

One tool employers can use is our newly updated Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans. It has tips and resources on recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans, from where to post jobs so that veterans will find them to best practices for creating a veteran-friendly work culture.

The guide also includes ways to recruit veterans before they leave active duty. Programs such as the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) SkillBridge enable employers to sponsor internship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities for transitioning service members up to 180 days before they are discharged. Additionally, the guide covers options for training veterans on the specific skills they need for your workplace, including information starting a registered apprenticeship.

When it comes to retaining veteran employees, the guide covers elements of a job that veterans have said are important to them. It also provides information on reporting requirements for federal contractors and explains how organizations of all sizes can apply for the only federal veteran hiring award, the HIRE Vets Medallion Award.

After browsing the guide, employers may want to connect with a Veteran Employment Representative. They are available via phone and email right now to help you craft a personalized strategy for hiring America’s heroes, and even refer job-ready veteran candidates. Supported by our Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program, these employment specialists work within the state workforce system to give businesses access to free resources on recruiting and training a skilled workforce.

This month, and every month, we say thank you to the members of our military, their families, and veterans for their service. Our vision in VETS is for all veterans to reach their full potential in the workplace, and tools like the Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans will help make that a reality.


Laurel Devine is the communications director in the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service. Follow VETS on Twitter as @VETS_DOL.