The jobless rate for veterans who have served since 9/11 is more than 9 percent, and even higher for younger and wounded vets, compared to 7.6 percent for the overall population, according to the most recent unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
We as a nation need to do more! That’s why Families and Work Institute’s board of directors created the Work Life Legacy Military Awards, an annual, national competition to recognize the top employers in hiring and supporting service men and women and their families.
“There’s a tremendous upside for hiring a vet,” said Admiral Michael Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a Families and Work Institute board member. “From a business case, it’s there. It’s there because of the discipline they have, the life experiences, the cultural exposure, the team mentality, the mission before self, their loyalty to an organization, their adaptability. They care about each other and care about people!”
There are employers who get this reality, and today the Institute revealed the names of the winners of the 2013 Work Life Legacy Military Awards competition – Cornell, JPMorgan Chase, Merck, and Verizon Communications.
These employers collectively hired and helped support the hiring of tens of thousands of veterans thanks to their innovative programs and focused efforts to help military transition to civilian life, and in turn help their own bottom lines by employing these skilled and dedicated employees.
“Veterans make excellent employees and they add tremendous value to our company,” maintained Maureen Casey, Managing Director of Military and Veterans Affairs at JPMorgan Chase. “If history tells us anything, our service members and veterans are the next greatest generation of leaders.”
By sharing best practices and success stories from employers, FWI is expanding the options for the 2 million former military members expected to transition into the civilian workforce by 2016. These best practices also help support the efforts of members of the National Guard and Reserves and the families of those who have and continue to serve.
The four winners provided a host of programs and initiatives focused on helping veterans and their families including everything from mentoring programs to in-house dedicated military recruiting teams:
* Cornell’s on campus Veterans Affairs office provides private professional counseling for their employees and the local community; a website dedicated to information specifically addressing the interests of the military community; and extensive support services for military families, including maintaining a family helper list with contact information and profiles of potential helpers to help veterans and their families with family care, education and household maintenance tasks and a guide to finding, hiring, and keeping informal care providers.
“We at Cornell University are extremely proud of this recognition, as we’ve been working hard to recruit and retain veterans in our workforce,” said Lynette Chappell Williams, University Title IX Coordinator and Associate Vice President, Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity Cornell University, where 5 percent of hires last year were veterans. (Only 1 percent of the U.S. population serves in the military.) “We recognize the talent and leadership that veterans offer to our campus, and in turn we offer a number of programs and assistance to further the professional and educational goals of our veterans and their families.”
* JPMorgan Chase has a dedicated military recruiting team and internal military training program for hiring managers and employees; they co-founded the Institute for Veterans and Military Families with Syracuse University to conduct and publish actionable research and share best practices, facilitate and strengthen relationships between individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for the military and veteran community and make a concerted effort to use veteran owned suppliers.
“Our nation’s military, veterans and their families have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation. We owe them more than our gratitude as they transition from military to civilian life. We owe them the opportunity for successful, healthy and happy lives, which is why we have a comprehensive strategy focused on employment, homeownership and education,” said Maureen Casey, Managing Director of Military and Veterans Affairs at JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase has hired more than 5,300 veterans in two years and actively recruits transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses.
The company also leads the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of private sector companies committed to hiring 100,000 veterans by 2020. In two years, the 100,000 Jobs Mission has grown from 11 companies to 101 companies that have collectively hired 64,628 veterans through the first quarter of 2013.
* Merck’s leadership team focused on leveraging the great talents veteran employees bring the table; established a veteran employee affinity group to help vets network and find mentors; and have a well-developed phase-in/transitional assistance program giving veterans employment opportunities that are compatible with the process for readjusting to civilian life.
“The Work Life Legacy Award underscores the importance of programs and policies that support veterans in their return to civilian life. Merck has a long history of supporting veterans, and we are honored to receive this recognition,” said Dottie Brienza, Chief Diversity Officer and Executive Talent Leader for Merck. Last year, 5% of the company’s total U.S. external hires were veterans.
* Verizon has a military spouse partnership to help spouses find jobs; and an Emergency Military Leave policy (EML) that provides employees on active duty with benefits for an additional year beyond the provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
“We believe that recruiting military veterans is a crucial part of hiring the best talent in the industry. With their unique leadership experience, technical skills, superb training and mission-driven attitudes, our veterans are a natural fit at Verizon,” said Raymond McConville, a spokesman for Verizon. The company currently employs 12,000 veterans.
In addition to these four Honorees, eight Honorable Mention Awards went to these companies for their exemplary work in hiring and advancing members of the military community: Bon Secours, Citi, Deloitte, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Sodexo, and The Walt Disney Company.
See Families and Work Institute’s website for more details on the honoree programs and initiatives.
For more information on why hiring veterans and supporting their families is so important watch Families and Work Institute board members Admiral Michael Mullen and Deborah Mullen, a military advocate, discuss the importance of hiring veterans and supporting their families during Families and Work Institute’s Immersion Learning Experience: