Helping Vets and Their Families in the Workplace

“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans out of work and that should be unacceptable to all Americans.”

That quote came from Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive of the 250,000-member Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, in a USA Today article that came out after the Department of Labor reported December’s unemployment rate Friday.

The jobless rate for Gulf War veterans who have served since September 2001 is still in double digits at 10.8 percent last month. While the number has declined from 13.1 percent a year ago, there is still a lot of work to do, as Rieckhoff pointed out.

Many employers have taken on these marching orders and focused their recruiting efforts on ex military men and women, and have also helped their families as they all readjust to civilian life.

Families and Work Institute started honoring employers who have done this last year with the creation of the Work Life Legacy Military Award, and applications for this year’s awards has just opened.

Last year’s winners included Bon Secours Virginia Health System, Citi, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and USAA. Recipients were singled out by a 14-member panel of judges for their outstanding efforts to hire and support transitioning service members and their families.

Here’s an overview of why these employers won:

Bon Secours Virginia Health System For their model training program (recognized by the Naval School of Health Sciences) of 1,500 military radiology students that could lead to job opportunities in the health system after completion of military service; for their implementation of workplace flexibility to meet the work and family needs of transitioning employees and their families; for their management training and EAP programs that educate and support managers on how to assist employees during the transition from the military to Bon Secours; and for their monthly employee newsletter (Good News) that frequently highlights how military employees are integrated into the staff in a welcoming way, focusing on their value.

Citi For creating Citi Salutes, a one-stop resource for the military community and workforce to access career opportunities, money management tools and financial capability resources; for the success of Citi’s North America Service Initiative, which has trained and mobilized more than 500 Citi employee volunteers in 14 sites around the country to assist transitioning service members and their family members; and for the mentoring programs established by Citi’s businesses and the company-wide Military Veterans Employee Network to provide new service member employees with experienced managers who can serve as guides during their transition to the civilian workplace and throughout their careers with Citi.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. For their comprehensive and coordinated approach that includes dedicated hiring teams and relationships with military bases, recognizing the unique assets and needs of veterans, Guard and Reserve; for launching the 100,000 Jobs Mission coalition with ten other firms (now grown to 59) to collectively hire 100,000 service members, including wounded warriors, by 2020, and raise national awareness of the issue; for their “high-touch” recruiting practice that ensures that every veteran applicant receives a call within five days to discuss their resume, opportunities and next steps; for developing and participating in training (The Corporate Battlespace—an Essential Primer for the Newly Hired Military Veteran) and mentoring programs to bridge the gap between military and civilian cultures; for promoting the economic growth and development of veteran-owned suppliers; for co-founding the Institute for Veterans and Military Families with Syracuse University that houses educational programs such as the entrepreneurship bootcamp for disabled veterans; and for supporting the tuition-free Veterans Technology Program at Syracuse’s School of Information Studies for post-9/11 veterans seeking careers in information technology in large corporations.

USAA For their strategic partnerships with more than 30 veteran-focused organizations; for their Military Hiring and Transition Initiative and their Military Talent Management team—staffed and led by veterans—that is responsible for every aspect of their work from hiring, to on-boarding, to mentoring and professional development including a preferential hiring priority for veterans and military spouses; for creating rewarding entry-level hiring models with development opportunities like the Property and Casualty Claims Team for military members recently separated active duty; for building leadership training models such as the Junior Military Officer Career Development Program; for establishing complimentary support and culture programs such as VetNet—an internal community for veterans and military spouses; for their military acumen training targeting new employees and annual military training requirements for leaders; for benefit offerings assisting the military family such as military spouse Work From Home opportunities and flexible leave options addressing the specific needs of military family members.

The application deadline for this year’s award is Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14th 2013.

On Friday, January 11th from 11:30 to 12:30 (ET), FWI will host a conference call on best practice in hiring and supporting former military with Institute’s Board members:

Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
Deborah Mullen, military family advocate; and Ken Barrett, Captain, U.S. Navy (ret.) and GM’s Chief Diversity Officer along with representatives from some of the 2012 Work Life Legacy Military Award winning companies.

On Thursday, January 24th, FWI will hold a Q&A conference call from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM (ET) for those who wish to apply for the 2013 Work Life Legacy Military Award.

To register for these calls, please send an email to: EllenGalinskyWLLA@familiesandwork.org indicating which call/s you would like to be registered for. Space is limited. The call-in number/s will then be emailed to you.

If your company has made an effort to support veterans and their families in the workplace, let us know, or start the application process today by going here.

What is your company doing to support the men and women who sacrificed so much for our nation?

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