The government is responding to the return of our military service members with various initiatives to increase veterans’ employment opportunities in the civilian workforce. One initiative that will directly affect the federal contractor community is the proposed revisions to the Affirmative Action regulations for Veterans (i.e. Section 4212).
DCI Consulting invited Ron Drach, the President of Drach Consulting, to provide DCI’s clients with guidance on best practices and resources for transitioning and recruiting military service members into the civilian workplace. Mr. Drach is a service disabled veteran who has more than 40 years of experience working on veteran’s issues including employment, vocational rehabilitation, homelessness, transitioning service members, and disability issues.
Mr. Drach indicated that the successful recruitment and retention of qualified veteran applicants involves (1) creating a corporate image and environment that is friendly to veterans, (2) identifying sources that are relevant to your organization for the recruitment of veterans (a central system currently does not exist), (3) identifying resources to assist with translating military experience into civilian job related skills and (4) considering how to provide accommodations to wounded veterans.
The following is a list of recommended actions and resources presented by Mr. Drach:
- Use ONET (www.onetonline.org) to assist in translating the skills and abilities of military personnel to comparable skills and abilities for the position(s) your organization has posted.
- Work with the resources you have in your organization to assist with finding qualified candidates and supporting those candidates once they have become employees in your organization.
---It is highly probable your organization already has veteran employees. These employees can assist in translating corporate job descriptions or resumes submitted by veterans; they can assist with developing affinity groups in your organization to provide support for recently returned veterans; and they can assist with mentoring programs for newly hired veterans.
- Collaborate with employers in your industry to develop coalitions designed to train and recruit veterans.
-- Northrop Grumman established Operation IMPACT (Injured Military Pursuing Assisted Career Transition) with a network of other companies to provide services that will assist injured returning service members and their families with career transition support and job placement.
- Develop partnerships with DOL, non-profits like Wounded Warrior, or Universities to increase the pool of qualified candidates.
-- Microsoft has partnered with the DOL to provide technology training and certification packages to 10,000 U.S. military veterans.
-- Cisco Systems and Wounded Warrior partnered with the DOL/VETS to develop the Transition Training Academy to assist members of the military with learning new career skills in IT.
-- JP Morgan Chase has committed funds to the creation and launch of an Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
- Many returning military service men and women are returning with injuries; in particular, the soldiers of today are more likely to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) than soldiers of past generations. Part of the challenge for employers is overcoming the stigma associated with these injuries.
-- Educate yourself about the spectrum of PTSD and TBI. People with these diagnoses are capable of working and having successful careers. The key is being aware of how these diagnoses can affect behavior and the types of accommodations that are required to assist individuals with these injuries (e.g. a pair of headphones may help an individual with PTSD by blocking out startling noises).
-- Two sources of information include https://www.dol.gov/vets/ahaw/ and www.woundedwarriorproject.org
- Sources of information regarding accommodations:
-- Job Accommodations Network (JAN) – www.askjan.org. This organization provides free guidance on workplace accommodations.
-- America’s Heroes at Work – https://www.dol.gov/vets/ahaw/. This organization provides guidance on the unique employment challenges faced by service members who have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
-- Computer Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) - http://www.cap.mil/wsm. This program provides free assistive technology and support services to wounded service members that they may keep after separation from the armed forces. The implication is that many veterans may be bringing their accommodation with them.
Additional questions regarding the recommendations and resources listed should be directed to Mr. Drach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Eileen Curtayne, Ph.D., DCI Consulting Group