Veterans

The Best Way to Honor Veterans Is to Hire One

Hiring veterans and helping them acquire the skills they need to accelerate their careers is patriotic and smart business.
The Best Way to Honor Veterans Is to Hire One
Image credit: CatLane | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Chief Content Officer, Skillsoft
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

U.S. military veterans, transitioning service members and their families represent an essential part of today’s multi-generational workforce, and we are eternally grateful for their service and selflessness. Veterans add unique value to today’s workforce because they embody disciplined leadership, maturity and unwavering loyalty to the pursuit of excellence in their personal and professional lives.

Each year, roughly 200,000 men and women transition out of the military and face the challenges of translating their military experience into civilian careers. Veteran unemployment is an emerging crisis as nearly one-third of veteran job seekers are underemployed, a rate more than 15 percent higher than non-veteran job seekers, according to research from ZipRecruiter. Too often, highly skilled veterans are slotted into simpler roles or trade professions even though they could operate at a higher level with proper training. To help reduce the rate of underemployment among veterans organizations must make a concerted effort to hire, upskill and reskill veterans to fully maximize the potential of these valuable resources.

Related: It's Time to Bust These 3 Myths About Hiring Veterans

There are several well-regarded initiatives in place that demonstrate corporate commitment to veteran success. GE, in particular, has a long history of hiring veterans and enriching their professional lives through the GE Veteran Network. To support this effort, GE piloted the Veterans Leadership Journey (VLJ), which provides opportunities for continued growth and development through mentorship, training and educational initiatives. VLJ, which offers a blueprint for corporate training programs, uses Skillsoft Leadership Channel and Books content to reskill and upskill 10,000 employees who are U.S. veterans. GE ensures that the learning material is specifically curated and geared toward the veteran community’s needs as they transition to and advance within corporate environments.

Another exemplary program is the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. IVMF delivers unique and innovative programs in career and employment education and training to post-9/11 veterans and active duty military spouses, as well as tailored programs for veterans of all generations. To help students prepare for their certification exams, Syracuse partnered with Skillsoft to curate an extensive eLearning library complete with online courses, practice tests and targeted mentorship tools aligned with 20 predefined learning pathways. While many veterans have foundational experience in HR, project management or IT as part of their military role, the program helps veterans become re-certified to remain competitive as a civilian employee. To date, 16,000 veterans have completed 19,000 courses and earned more than 1,700 industry certifications through the partnership.

Related: 10 Things Veterans Want Hiring Managers to Know About Them

Similarly, Hire Our Heroes is a nonprofit organization founded and operated by veterans with a goal to lower unemployment and help deliver an all-around talent acquisition and retention strategy for employers to attract veterans. The program provides 100,000 veterans and their spouses with training and resources to develop the most in-demand skill sets and prepare them for certification and other professional qualifications in the civilian workforce.

By leveraging Skillsoft’s Percipio intelligent learning experience platform, veterans and their spouses can choose to watch, read and/or listen to a large selection of content about business, management, leadership, productivity and collaboration, and technology and developer training. They can also prepare for over 100 business and IT certification exams. Veterans can use the platform and content to gain essential skills, including project management, cybersecurity, understanding of emerging technologies and digital skills, among many others.

Within your organization, it is important to remember that veterans have been responsible for the lives, safety and performance of dozens to hundreds of people, so do not hesitate to give them challenging assignments and the weight of being held accountable. Additionally, many veterans have strong leadership and managerial skills as they tend to be given more fiscal and people management responsibilities at younger ages than civilian workers.

Related: 24 Hours on the 'USS Stennis': Why I Committed to Hiring Veterans

Whether building a network internally or helping direct veterans to outside resources, organizations that provide these career skills programs will be able to more effectively and efficiently attract, retain and grow their veteran networks. By offering access to customized, curated content programs that promote career training, professional certifications and job placement support, veterans will have the skills needed to excel in the civilian workforce, contributing to the overall success of their organizations.

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