March 15, 2017
After getting discharged from service, veterans often face difficulties transitioning back into civilian life. Military life is full of hazards and it is very rare – almost impossible - for a person to get out of it completely unscathed: there are injuries, wounds both visible and invisible caused by their experiences while on active duty. When they retire from service, they often find that on top of these issues they have to face, there are other problems caused by misguided public perceptions.
These misconceptions contribute to one of the leading problems veterans are faced with – lack of employment.
When it comes to getting employed after offering their service to our nation, veterans need help. Many American businesses can start helping these heroes just by changing their perceptions and giving veterans a chance.
According to the Department of Labor, the veteran unemployment rate has gone down to 3.9% (as of February 2017).
However, there are still about half a million unemployed veterans right now and more than one million veterans are underemployed, this is according to Brian Stann, President and CEO of Hire Heroes USA.
There are a lot of reasons vets are unemployed.
Many young veterans who are trying to transition to civilian life find that they are competing against their peer group who have just graduated college. The problem is, many companies do not think that four or more years of military service is equal to four years of university education. Therefore, the majority of options they make available to vets are limited to lower positions. Positions that many civilians, due to economic difficulty, also vie for - making the competition stiff.
There is also the stigma of PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder causes flashbacks, night terrors and sleeping disorders and it is a serious issue among former servicemen and women which many civilians do not fully understand. Many employers automatically assume that every veteran has PTSD and do not understand that this disability goes away with time. This negative stereotype is one of the biggest reasons employers pass veteran jobseekers over.
Some employers simply don’t want to risk hiring a veteran because of the chance he or she will be recalled back to active duty and will be unable to decline. From a business person’s perspective, an employee is an asset that will give returns over time.
A lot of veterans who manage to find employment discover that there is a huge difference between corporate and military culture. In corporate culture, rules are not set in stone and are changed whenever necessary. This is not true in the military where protocol needs to be followed. The differences between these two environments can make it hard for a vet to adapt and be unable to stay.
With President Trump's federal hiring freeze, job seeking veterans have more things to be concerned about. Federal employment acts as a bridge towards civilian employment. Now, it’s up to businesses in the U.S. to create opportunities for veterans.
The predicament of veterans concerning employment is no secret and there are a growing number of organizations and companies working to make civilian transition easier for veterans.
General Dynamics is committed to hiring and assisting veterans and reservists. GD offers great opportunities for veterans who are looking for a job after leaving the service.
AT&T does not only help veterans, they also help active reservists and members of the National Guard who want to transition to the civilian life. They support military men and women by employing them with regards to the skills that these former service men possess. AT&T also has strong partnerships with many Veteran organizations.
Walmart’s Welcome Home Commitment program enables veterans that were honorably discharged from service within the first year of active duty to have a job at any Walmart branch in the country.
Prudential Foundation is committed to providing employment to former servicemen and women through special programs that provide access to education and job trainings for better employment opportunities.
Other American businesses that have stepped up to help ensure that our veterans are empowered through employment include NBCUniversal, JPMorgan Chase which has trained and hired 11,000 veterans in the past 5 years and Starbucks which has hired 8,000 veterans and family members to date.
But aside from big name companies, there are also small to medium businesses cropping up all over America trying to eliminate the veteran unemployment problem. In Colorado Springs, Colorado, Handmade By Heroes is helping empower local veterans by providing them employment and a solid support network to help them get back on their feet and ease their transition to civilian life as much as possible.
Employers often do not give veterans a chance to sell themselves or show that their experiences can translate to business success. And veterans fresh from the military are not used to being their own agents, having just come from a regimented, follow-the-leader environment. So Handmade by Heroes has taken the initiative to help veterans to break out of their shells and take back control of their lives.
The veteran operated business train and hire veterans to hand make products out of parachute cord or paracord. The veterans are provided with a stress-free environment where they can work alongside fellow vets.
The process of building the products is mentally and physically therapeutic to the vets. Working alongside fellow veterans is also beneficial because of the camaraderie and the support they give one another. The vets work at their own pace and can work from their home or from the business’s warehouse.
Aside from being employed by the business and receiving a steady income, the veterans are also given further training to learn new skills and trades which can help build their confidence and open more opportunities for them. About a hundred veterans have benefitted from Handmade by Heroes’ program since the business started in 2014.
"The reason I came to Handmade by Heroes is, I had to stop being a contractor due to health reasons. One of my soldiers that used to be in my squad told me about HBH. I am so grateful I found a place that allows me to work in a great environment at my own pace and is understanding to some of my disabilities I deal with as a Combat Veteran. I also am able to go to college to pursue my business degree. HBH also allowed me to do my internship there with them to complete my schooling." says Joseph Barela, who is now the business's general manager.
"I initially joined Handmade by Heroes just to have some sort of income; however, I now can’t even begin to express my gratitude for the care, support, and extreme dedication that Handmade by Heroes has given our Veterans." says Johnnie Robles, a former Army Sergeant who also works at the Colorado Springs based business.
Empowering a veteran can be as big a challenge as running and growing a business. But for companies like Handmade by Heroes, it is a simple way to give back to the men and women who have given so much for our Nation. The real reward is seeing how struggling veterans regain their independence and succeed in the civilian world just by giving them a chance to prove themselves.
March 17, 2017
Thank you for looking out for veterans. They deserve more support from the government and nation.
March 15, 2017
Very Well Done buy your organisation,
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!!
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