Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why Employ a Veteran?

Nick Swaggert published a thoughtful piece in the Huffington Post regarding the upcoming changes to the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).   “This act requires covered federal government contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and promote veterans protected by the Act and prohibits discrimination against veterans. The new mandate becomes enforceable as part of a company's 2015 Affirmative Action plan and established a hiring benchmark commensurate with the national veteran population, or 7.2 percent.” 

The thought part of Mr. Swaggert’s piece is why America has arrived at the need for forced hiring of veterans in the first place?  Mr. Swaggert notes correctly that after WWII employers clamored to hire veterans.  Who wouldn’t want to? Veterans know how to show up at the right place, at the right time, and in the right uniform.  They are responsible, loyal, and work hard.  But, Mr. Swaggert also notes that recently hiring veterans has turned into a liability, not a bonus.  A 2011 Fortune magazine article suggests that many employers appear to fear that veterans may be suffering from PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury, which are seen as impediments to work.  Additionally, employers tend to believe that veterans today are too rigid or fear that veterans may be deployed in the future and miss work.  Veterans’ job skills are also often misunderstood by employers who are more and more likely not to be veterans themselves. 

With less than 1% of our population serving in the military, it’s obvious that more needs to be done to help veterans bridge the gap with civilian employers to negate these stereotypes.  Hopefully, more companies will voluntarily step up and welcome our military back home with jobs and not have to be forced into doing so.

For more information on VEVRAA see The Dept. of Labor’s VEVRAA site at:

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