How to Hire Veterans

Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA-PA

Every time a business hires someone, it has a specific need it is trying to fill. In most cases, when the new hire is a veteran, the business receives intrinsic values and benefits the HR department may not have even considered.

Service members are good at following instructions and enjoy being on a team. They have been taught to provide feedback, both positive and negative; they would call it “giving ups and downs.”

“Every service member earns and learns leadership skills during a military career which can greatly benefit any employer,” says Brig. Gen. Michael L. Cunniff, The Adjutant General, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

With this list of positive attributes, it is bewildering to some that the veterans’ unemployment rate continues to be higher than the rest of the population.

For businesses, getting the job announcement to the right people is step one. That first step could be the One-Stop Career Centers run by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD). There are 29 One Stop centers across the state, and most offices are staffed with a veteran.

According to Harold J. Wirths, commissioner, LWD, “My department is also committed to connecting New Jersey’s veterans with employment opportunities through our veteran representatives. We help transition their military skills to jobs that will help them reach their career goals and support their families.”

Each year, approximately 12,000 veterans take advantage of the varied services offered by One-Stop centers. “We have business reps who go out to employers to encourage hiring of veterans,” says O. Wayne Smith, state veterans program coordinator, LWD. “They write job orders and then try to match the requirements with similar skills of veterans that have visited the One-Stop center.”

Businesses can use the “On Ramp” at the LWD’s Job4Jersey website to post openings, and job seekers can post resumes. This is one of several websites that target veterans in the job hunt.

The Hero2Hired website transitioned to the federal Veterans Administration hiring portal, which supports the White House Joining Forces initiatives to combine federal efforts to hire veterans under one web portal, and strengthens interagency collaboration among the VA, Department of Defense and Department of Labor.

The change has helped to coordinate the volume of job fairs that were being conducted statewide, numbering two to three per month these past several years.

“The job fair market was being saturated, so now we collaborate with the US Chamber of Commerce, Veterans of Foreign Wars and US Department of Labor to focus our efforts,” says Janice Livanos, employment coordinator, New Jersey Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

This network of state and federal offices and websites gives any business the ability to get a job posting to the veterans community statewide.

About the Author: Kryn P. Westhoven is a public affairs officer for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He recently retired from the New Jersey Army National Guard as First Sergeant, completing 40 years of uniformed service.

Helpful Links for Veterans & Businesses

List of One-Stop Career Centers

Incentive for hiring veterans

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development “On Ramp”

Veterans Administration hiring portal

ESGR Employment Coordinator – NJ
Janice Livanos

Chamber of Commerce
Guide to GI Bill Benefits and Eligibility

State Approving Agency (SAA) for veteran training

JobPath Leads the Charge to End Veteran Unemployment

HR directors are learning that hiring a veteran might be the best decision a company can make.

By Jack Fanous

With the help of JobPath, the only job posting, training and mentoring site for veterans, HR directors are learning that hiring a veteran might be the best decision a company can make.

Many of our nation’s military veterans returned from serving their country during the course of the Great Recession, and consequently, the percentage of out-of-work veterans had reached astronomical rates as high as 30 percent. Today, veteran unemployment is decreasing. This past May, only 4.5 percent of veterans were unemployed, continuing a year-long trend of declining unemployment for this population.

This downturn in unemployment is a welcomed success to myself and other veteran advocates who have worked long and hard to help our veterans find work. We have been preaching the good word of veterans in the workplace for nearly a decade, talking about the true benefit and value hiring a veteran has beyond the sense of patriotism. Companies are starting to learn that hiring veterans is not only a good show of support for the military, but that it is good for the bottom line.

Much of the success is due to the work of private-sector partners committed to helping veterans find work. Perhaps one of the most promising efforts is from the fast-growing JobPath, a site that veterans from across the country are joining every day, which is changing the game for veteran employment.

Through the JobPath site, veterans can sign up and develop their specialized resumes by completing their online profile, which will translate all the skills they learned in the military into civilian language so employers can better understand the depth of their knowledge and expertise.

After matching their particular Military Occupational Specialty using JobPath’s custom built MOS Translator, a veteran is able to search the countless jobs available and connect with the company position they feel is the best fit for him or her.

In addition, if veterans do not have the requisite skills for the jobs they want, they can simply click “Start Training” and they will be taken to an online training program selected by a company from our intricate training library. This will give veterans the skills that they need for the position.

Perhaps the most valuable component of the JobPath site is the mentoring interface. Through this platform, veterans can directly connect with fellow veterans and business leaders who can help them through the job hunting process as well as provide assistance with other challenges they may be facing as they transition back to civilian life.

Companies from Panasonic to Fed-Ex to PSEG and hundreds more have discovered that, through JobPath, veterans are qualified for any position. This has led to more of our military veterans finding work. Now, it is up to other hiring managers from companies across the country to discover what they can obtain from signing up with JobPath, and what they can gain from filling their open positions with a military veteran.

About the Author: Jack Fanous is the CEO of JobPath. He has been a leader in veteran advocacy for more than 10 years, and is the founder and executive director of the GI Go Fund, a national non-profit organization that assists military veterans and their families in finding employment.


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