November is Veterans and Military Families Month, a chance to celebrate the men and women who have served their country and the families that have been there to support them through their journey.
Here at WorkingNation, we are marking the month by taking a look at an important issue to veterans — finding and keeping a good job once they leave the military.
There are currently more than 18 million American veterans, and each year 200,000 men and women make the transition from military life to civilian life.
The rewards and challenges in the veteran workforce
Veterans have many soft skills that make them valuable employees in businesses big and small. Because military life is tightly structured, veterans generally excel at teamwork and leadership. The dynamic and tactical nature of the military makes them excellent critical thinkers and strategists. They are good communicators because of the need to quickly and efficiently share their plans and outcomes to their colleagues.
But veteran employment is not a simple subject. While these skills — and an employer’s desire to now serve those men and women who have served us — make hiring veterans a priority in many businesses, there are challenges.
Often, it is hard for veterans to translate the hard skills and specific jobs they held in the military into an equivalent civilian position. Basically, the terms that a company or a hiring manager may use when advertising for a job might not match up with how the military describes a job, so there is a mismatch in that description and what a veteran may put on her or his resume.
Another big issue is the difficulty in retaining a veteran in a position long-term, sometimes due to the fact that the veteran was hired in the “wrong” position right out of the service and hasn’t received the training to continue in that job.
There are also some stigmas surrounding hiring veterans, including fears by employers and a veteran’s potential workmates that all veterans suffer from PTS. While far from the truth, this stereotype can hurt a veteran’s hiring potential.
Families shouldn’t be forgotten when talking about employment issues. There are 687,000 military spouses — husbands and wives who have their own challenges finding a good job because of the nomadic nature of a military family. There can be gaps in their resumes and they may have to get new credentials or licenses in the state of their more recent station assignment.
To be sure, all of these are challenges are hurdles to finding a good and meaningful job. But, importantly, there are hundreds of wonderful veteran-serving organizations (VSOs) out there working to end these issues and assure that anyone wanting a good job can get one.
We’re going to tells these stories — about challenges and solutions — throughout the month of November through original articles, videos, and podcasts. We’ve interviewed many VSOs and companies committed to helping veterans and military spouses navigate this path to good employment.
Here’s a preview of some of what we’ll be talking about this month:
Navigating the Veterans Services Map with Dr. Lynda C. Davis, Chief Veterans Experience Officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Encouraging Employers to Take a Proactive Role in Hiring and Keeping Veterans with Carol Eggert, Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast
Creating a Welcoming Job Environment for Veterans with Jason Wright, Vice President of Military and Veterans Affairs for JPMorgan Chase
Preparing the Veteran for the Civilian Workforce with Maurice Wilson, President & National Executive Director of National Veterans Transition Services, aka REBOOT
Giving More Female Veterans Access to Start-Up Business Capital with Seda Goff, Director of the Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program at The PenFed Foundation
Removing the Stigma Around Hiring Military Spouses with Sue Hoppin, Founder of the National Military Spouse Network
This content was made possible by…
WorkingNation would like to thank The Clint Eastwood Family Foundation for their generous financial gift that made this month possible. We would also like to thank JPMorgan Chase and Apollo Management for their financial support of our veterans-related content.