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Port Authority Closing in on Goal to Hire Military Veterans

As the country prepares to celebrate Veterans Day on Sunday to pay tribute to active and retired military personnel, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that it has nearly achieved a goal set by the agency’s Board of Commissioners last year of having veterans who served in the U.S. military comprise 5 percent of the agency’s work force by 2020.

The Port Authority currently employs 399 military veterans in various jobs throughout the agency, including 50 veterans hired so far in 2018.  The total agency veteran employment represents 4.9 percent of the 8,000 employee work force.  The Board’s goal will be achieved more than a year ahead of the 2020 deadline, and the agency will now reevaluate its commitment to see what levels of veteran hiring can be achieved in the immediate future.

To achieve this year’s level of hiring, the agency tripled the number of veteran recruitment events it attended compared to the previous year, including job fairs, military base visits and veterans’ affairs offices.  The recruitment efforts have resulted in more than 5,000 veterans in the Port Authority’s database, which is used to match available positions to those veterans who have the skills to perform the work.

In addition to the recruitment efforts done by the Human Resource Department, the Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management launched a Veteran’s Internship Program in September, which led to the hiring of three veteran students.

“As the son of a military veteran who served our country in the 1950s, I’m extremely proud of the aggressive efforts this agency has undertaken to nearly meet the goal well in advance of the deadline we set for the hiring of veterans into our work force,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole.  “It’s clear these veterans bring to the table a variety of extremely valuable skill sets that will assist us in carrying out our mission at all of the transportation facilities we operate.”

“Our intensive recruiting efforts have found hundreds of veterans who possess a wealth of skills that will be invaluable to us in filling jobs in a variety of disciplines,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.  “During the past decade, military veterans have been employed at the most senior levels of the agency, and we are confident this trend will continue well into the future given the extensive recruitment efforts we have under way.”

At the Port Authority, veterans can find a variety of career opportunities in Aviation, Port, Rail, Police and security, Technology and Engineering, among other areas.  As hiring managers fill positions, the agency pledges to ensure that diverse slates for certain roles include at least one qualified veteran.

Last year, the Port Authority launched an enhanced careers website, which includes upcoming career events for veterans, FAQs and testimonials from veterans working at the Port Authority.  The site is available at

The Port Authority’s commitment to veterans includes a commitment to supporting those already serving at the agency.  Last November, the agency launched an Employee Resource Group entitled PAVA (Port Authority Veterans’ Association), and efforts are ongoing to provide networking, coaching and mentoring opportunities for all members of the agency’s veteran population.

During its first year, PAVA worked to collaborate and grow relationships within the agency and with Port Authority stakeholders and organizations focused on veteran’s affairs.  During 2018, PAVA participated in numerous local events, including:

  •  Marching in the 2018 Vietnam Veteran’s Day Parade, which retraced the original 1985 Welcome Home Parade that celebrated the dedication of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial on Water Street;
  • Participated with the 2nd Infantry Battalion Association of Dublin during their honorary visit to New York;
  • Worked with New York Marine Terminal staff to facilitate a tour of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mitscher;
  • Will march in the 2018 New York City Veteran’s Day Parade, along with the Port Authority Police Department Pipes and Drums and Marine Organizations.

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