The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of the end of 2016, the Veteran unemployment rate was 4.3 percent. This means that 460,000 of today's Veterans are living in the United States without jobs. Although this statistic has steadily decreased over the past several years, it's still a disheartening one.
As a former U.S. Marine and founder of HandyVets, Inc – a company that exclusively hires Veteran technicians – I have seen time and time again the myriad of challenges that those who dedicate their lives to our nation experience upon returning from duty. Among these challenges is the fact that our military men and women typically enroll after high school when many of their peers are going to college. That's why 75 percent of Veterans have less than a bachelor's degree.
In addition, one in 10 Veterans are disabled. When a military career is cut short due to a physical injury, Veterans often struggle to provide for themselves and their families. They can either choose to start over and go to college, go to trade school, or find a job paying minimum wage. But too often, individuals with Veterans Affairs (VA) issued VA disability status are considered a liability by companies.
It is because of these obstacles that I have made it my mission to provide a better option for my fellow Veterans, and I encourage all business owners to consider doing the same. At HandyVets, Inc., we hire those with military experience and help fill in skills gaps with on-the-job training and continuing education programs. By allowing Veterans to build on the invaluable skills they acquired while serving our country, we're able to help them create a viable post-military career path.
Aside from empowering them to create the future they deserve, here are five reasons to hire Veterans:
1. Quick mastery of skills
Members of the military are called upon to quickly learn and master new skills to be effective in their positions. Many become experts in a wide range of skills and concepts that can easily be transferred to a civilian work environment.
2. Flexibility in a myriad of situations
Members of the military must react quickly and accurately in a wide variety of situations. This flexibility proves beneficial in civilian work life as they adapt to new challenges, colleagues, and personalities.
3. Great leaders and team members
Military training teaches members to work effectively as leaders and as members of a team. Veterans understand how groups must work together to achieve a strategic objective. At the same time, military service also hones unparalleled leadership skills so that individuals can command the respect of their peers and perform at peak levels as individuals.
4. Globalized perspective
Our military branches are made up of women and men from all walks of life. Veterans have learned to work side-by-side with individuals with unique backgrounds and capabilities – from all over the world. This advanced perspective is a competitive advantage when working as a civilian in our increasingly globalized economy.
5. Strong personal integrity
Ethics and a sense of honor are ingrained in service members. An employee who stands by his/her word and can be held accountable is an asset to any organization.
It is my hope that more employers around the nation recognize the many benefits of hiring Veterans and make strides toward helping them create a sustainable post-military career path. After all, what kind of message does it send to potential recruits when today's Veterans are struggling to make a living? In order for our military to remain as great as it is, it is our duty as a nation to do more to improve the lives of those who sacrifice for us. Change must start with us.
This article also appears on Military.com