hire veteransThe Memorial Day weekend serves as a time to honor our country’s veterans as well as marking the unofficial start of summer for everyone. Therefore, I want to thank all the men and women serving in the military currently as well as those who are veterans: your service, hard work and sacrifice is noted and appreciated so very much. In communities across the U.S. our veterans and military families will be honored with ceremonies and parades, and celebrated with BBQs and picnics. This is as it should be.

But there are other ways to recognize and say thank you: the families of those currently serving overseas often need help, with yard work and other chores as well as financial assistance; wounded warriors need the right support and medical services to return to full, productive lives; and all veterans need gainful employment. We can all play a part in making these things happen. If you are interested in directly helping military families in your neighborhood this article from the Huffington Post, this article from CNN, this list from Great Nonprofits, and finally this information from United We Serve can put you in touch with many different organizations and opportunities to help out. But in this post, I want to especially focus on employment and how we can help our returning soldiers succeed in the civilian workforce.

Not only is it the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. In a recent eGuide, we highlighted the importance of hiring people with the right attitude and the “soft skills” that can make an employee truly invaluable. Military veterans are very likely to have those skills – leadership, teamwork, problem solving skills and the ability to work well under pressure to name a few.  The discipline and work ethic necessary to succeed in the military can be a harbinger for a stellar civilian career. We just need to recognize this resource exists and make the effort to tap in and help them transition.

Years ago I had an eye opening experience when my company placed a veteran in an IT position at a local software company. The candidate was concerned about leaving the local convenience store he had been working at and insisted on giving a full month’s notice; a great example of loyalty and conscientiousness. The company that was willing to wait that month for him to start was amply rewarded for their patience too, as he quickly impressed and moved into a manager role within a year. The skills our veteran’s possess are a myriad, with many having significant IT and engineering experience, but whatever your company needs, it can always benefit from employees with a great “can do” attitude.

The American Staffing Association highlighted the organizations below as part of its ongoing support for career counseling and employment in recognition of Military Awareness Month (May) and I second their recommendations. And in addition to all the other reasons to hire a veteran, there is the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

Call of Duty Endowment – A nonprofit organization that helps soldiers transition to civilian careers, focusing its resources on assisting organizations that provide job placement and training to veterans. – offers employers access to résumés and job postings, drawing on alliances with veterans’ organizations and military agencies.

Hiring Our Heroes –The Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service to improve public–private sector coordination in the community.

America’s Heroes at work – A tool kit designed to assist and educate employers that want to include veterans and wounded warriors in their recruitment and hiring initiatives and  features a straightforward six-step process.  – VetJobs makes it easy to reach transitioning U.S. military, National Guard, and reserve members and is a leading source for candidates with security clearances.

It is so important that serving our country is a stepping stone to a good job, not a hindrance for those who answer the call. Connecting employers and employees has been my focus for nearly 25 years. I am committed to adding some of our military’s finest to my internal staff, as well as to connecting these talented, deserving individuals with positions at ATR client companies wherever possible. If you’ve wanted to do the same, but weren’t sure just how to start, I hope that the information provided herein is helpful. Better yet, give us a call. Recruiting is our specialty. Together, we can help America’s veterans! Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Jerry Brenholz
President and CEO
ATR International

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