Our U.S. soldiers enter combat, are separated from family and friends, experience physical and mental trauma, and sometimes sacrifice their lives for our freedom, yet many can’t find a job to support themselves and their families when their tour is over. The veteran unemployment rate is 5.4 percent — and with an average of 200,000 men and women transitioning out of the military each year for the civilian workforce, that means thousands of veterans might not be able to put food on the table.
Organizations like the 100,000 Jobs Mission are looking to change that.
What is the 100,000 Jobs Mission?
The 100,000 Jobs Mission is a coalition of 196 different companies that aim to hire veterans and utilize the special skills they’ve acquired during their military service. The companies work together to share strategies for hiring veterans and ways to get the word out about the need to provide a secure place of employment for these men and women. They recognize that veterans bring unique and valuable skillsets into the civilian workforce that allow them to be great leaders in their fields.
The original goal of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, which was founded in 2011 by 11 companies, was to get 100,000 veterans hired by private sector companies by the year 2020. They’ve already hired nearly 250,000 veterans and are now aiming for 300,000.
What skills do veterans have?
Veterans are trained to become technical experts in their chosen fields and have invaluable hands-on experience that can take years to acquire outside the military. They use the skills they learn in training on a daily basis during their military careers, developing solid foundations that allow them to be ahead of the curve during their civilian careers.
Regular involvement in high-stress combat situations where every decision — and every second — matters means veterans make great leaders. They know how to make tough choices and can lead and inspire your team.
Because soldiers understand that every decision matters and how important teamwork is, they’ve also developed a deep sense of responsibility when it comes to their jobs. They know that their actions affect their entire team, and they bring that sense of responsibility into the civilian workforce. They’re adaptable and can evolve in any situation, providing a great example for the less experienced among your team.
Veterans are trained as IT specialists, engineers, operations managers, mechanics, clinical technologists, and more. They often finish their tenures in the armed forces with multiple classes and degrees under their belt that can be used to further the knowledge and skills within your company.
What can you do?
The flexibility, responsibility, and leadership qualities of our veterans make them an invaluable asset to every team. They bring a unique perspective to the workforce and skills that are hard to find anywhere else.
Private sector companies interested in hiring veterans should consider joining the 100,000 Jobs Mission and making a pledge to help these heroes get back on their feet. The organization provides resources to help employers seek out talent among returning veterans entering the job force, along with vets who have been seeking employment for far too long. By joining, you’ll get access to a large network of companies and resources that can guide you and your team while you put together a specific strategy for your company.
Post-9/11 veterans have struggled more to find work than troops from previous conflicts, with nine percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war vets unemployed as recently as 2013. With help from groups like the 100,000 Jobs Mission, that number is declining — but it still has a way to go. As Americans, we should be committed to making sure the people who fight for our freedom are able to live successful lives with gainful and meaningful employment.
If you need guidance on setting up a system to bring in more vets to your workforce, check out the 100,000 Jobs Mission today and see how they can help. And please share any experiences you have looking for employment or working with Veteran coworkers, in the comments below.
Image Credit: Flickr/Presidio of Monterey