By Julie Davis, AEM Director of Workforce Development

VeteranAre you tired yet of pulling from the same employment pool? If the answer is yes, then you are ready to explore the new world of veteran recruitment. If you think that you’ve tried it, it doesn’t work for you, or there is no one to recruit in your area, then you simply aren’t up to date.

Why Recruit Veterans?

Many companies find veterans to be more productive employees with lower turnover rates when compared to their non-veteran counterparts. Additionally, their past military background can give veterans distinctive capabilities and perspectives that can add insight and diversity to your team’s problem solving. Employers can also qualify for up to $10,000 in federal tax credits per veteran. And certainly the public relations benefits of caring for our veterans builds goodwill in the community.

There are multiple state and federal organizations that exist to connect employers with veterans. Many of them work with veterans before they leave active duty to ensure they have skills that can plug immediately into the workforce. Furthermore, just because you may not have a military base located near you, that's no reason to exclude veterans from your search. Organizations looking to place veterans into employment, include working to get veterans back to their home states. Taking a few extra steps could mean providing a veteran with the opportunity to truly come home.

Check out AEM's Thinking Forward podcast to hear industry workforce development success stories. 

Veteran Retainment

Approximately 40 percent of veterans leave their first job out of the military within a year of being hired. The transition can be challenging, but there are some commonsense ways that you can position your company to retain your veterans.

1. First, define what your motivation is to hire veterans. Then identify what skills, attitudes and experience would benefit your organization the most. (If you're not sure, simply find your best current employee in that position and identify their skills, attitudes and experiences.)

2. Decide what a successful veteran hiring program for your organization looks like. Are you looking for just one, or is this going to become a regular program?

3. Identify the service branches, ranks and occupational specialties you might like to target. Don’t know? That’s okay because there are multiple ways to connect. You could reach out to your state or local veterans office and talk with someone, or here are some resources you can connect with:

While building your veterans program, don’t forget to tap into your secret weapon – any veterans you are currently employing. Get their thoughts about skills and areas of service that might be a good fit. Don’t forget to ask them what about working for your organization might appeal to a veteran. 

Several employment organizations are both willing and able to connect you with veterans. A few of my favorites include:

Lastly, don’t forget that to retain your veteran, you may want to consider having some supports in place to make their transition smooth. Connect them to existing veterans in your workplace, let them know about opportunities for professional growth and advancement, and consider engaging current veterans in creating the program to ensure its effectiveness.

Veterans who are coming out of service where they have worked with heavy equipment may be a perfect fit for the construction, agriculture, mining, utility or forestry industry sectors. Don’t let taking a few extra steps keep you from your next best hire.

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