A college professor once explained to me that millennials (and yes I am a millennial!), would change not just jobs, but entire careers an estimated seven times in a lifetime. When he made that comment, it seemed like a formidable number. However, I’ve stayed in touch with my classmates over the years and I’ve seen the shifts taking place from various industries and careers. Yet, I’ve remained baffled at how many of us in the civilian world have the freedom to change our minds all the while building our resumes, when our colleagues who have served in the military struggle to translate world class leadership skills into meaningful secondary career paths.
After speaking to my friends and family who have served, or are serving in the military, I understand that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) has no shortage of resources including training, transition programs, educational funding, internships, and even tax breaks for employers. So why then, are civilian employers not taking advantage of these resources?
In many cases, I think it’s simply because they’re not aware that they exist, or aren’t properly informed on what a candidate with a military background could lend to their workforce. There’s wonderful information available, but many companies and individuals don’t know where to look or how to connect these programs to their own organization in an impactful way.
After conducting some research, I’ve realized that there are some exceptional resources for employers and so I want to raise awareness. You can find a roundup of some of the resources below.
US Army Warrior Care and Transition (WTU) Internship program
The program provides transitioning soldiers with the opportunity to reinforce skills needed for the civilian world. Two internship options are offered and both are unpaid - so they cost the employer nothing! Squad Leaders, Occupational Therapists and Transition Coordinators are at the ready to help soldiers succeed in their internships. The Army will continue to pay the soldier’s salary during the time of the internship period too.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
VA offers a wealth of knowledge and benefits to employers seeking to hire vets. For example, through the Special Employer Incentives (SEI) program, employers are reimbursed for up to half of the veteran’s salary to cover certain supplies and equipment, additional instruction expenses, and any loss of production. The VA also offers assistive technologies for Vets who may require assistance. There’s more info on the the VA website.
The US Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETs)
VETs has a host of information for employers about attracting, hiring and supporting veterans and transitioning service members, including the allocation of GI Bill Benefits, which are monthly payments to Registered Apprenticeship programs.
Economic business benefits
Last but not least, aside from the obvious perks of hiring skilled candidates with outstanding critical thinking abilities, there are also economic incentives to hiring vets. Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides employers with up to $5,600 per hire if they recruit unemployed veterans. The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit doubles the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities and this could be up to $9,600 per employee. Military.com has lots of useful articles that break down information for employers, and of course, the US Department for Veteran Affairs has a wealth of information on its website.
The resources that I’ve mentioned in this blog post are designed to initiate dialogue, and there are many, many more available. If you’re an employer who needs additional information about the value that vets bring to your workforce, please check out WilsonHCG’s Operation Transition homepage. There’s a compelling collection of articles and thought leadership about engaging a veteran workforce, as well as a dedicated team of recruitment specialists who can answer questions and can help to create a recruitment plan for your organization.
This blog post was originally published on LinkedIn.