At last count there were about 600 Gulf War Era II veterans looking for work in Delaware and that is just about 7.6 percent, according to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data for that group. And while at first blush that seem like a small or almost reasonable number, it needs to be taken in context.
The problem is of course, we just might be at the tip of the iceberg for returning service members. And like an iceberg, which has most of its mass below the surface of the water, there may be many, many more service members returning as the military continues its drawdown in the post-war world, where special operations forces and air power are the new power projection platforms of choice. It’s also good to remember the unemployment for Gulf War Era II veterans is still higher than that of the overall labor market. The last time I checked the overall Delaware unemployment rate was 6.2.
So it appears there is a collision looming and all the good works so far may be in jeopardy unless we double-down on our hiring vets efforts and take advantage of a potential labor pool that has so much to offer.
According to military.com at http://mil-com.me/1wjFgTB the top ten reasons for hiring vets are:
- Accelerated Learning Curve Veterans have the proven ability to learn new skills and concepts. In addition, they can enter your workforce with identifiable and transferable skills, proven in real world situations. This background can enhance your organization’s productivity.
- Leadership The military trains people to lead by example as well as through direction, delegation, motivation and inspiration. Veterans understand the practical ways to manage behaviors for results, even in the most trying circumstances. They also know the dynamics of leadership as part of both hierarchical and peer structures. …..
- Teamwork Veterans understand how genuine teamwork grows out of a responsibility to one’s colleagues. Military duties involve a blend of individual and group productivity. They also necessitate a perception of how groups of all sizes relate to each other and an overarching objective.
- Diversity and Inclusion in Action Veterans have learned to work side by side with individuals regardless of diverse race, gender, geographic origin, ethnic background, religion and economic status as well as mental, physical and attitudinal capabilities. They have the sensitivity to cooperate with many different types of individuals.
- Efficient performance under pressure Veterans understand the rigors of tight schedules and limited resources. They have developed the capacity to know how to accomplish priorities on time, in spite of tremendous stress. They know the critical importance of staying with a task until it is done right.
- Respect for procedures Veterans have gained a unique perspective on the value of accountability. They can grasp their place within an organizational framework, becoming responsible for subordinates’ actions to higher supervisory levels. They know how policies and procedures enable an organization to exist.
- Technology and globalization Because of their experiences in the service, veterans are usually aware of international and technical trends pertinent to business and industry. They can bring the kind of global outlook and technological savvy that all enterprises of any size need to succeed.
- Integrity Veterans know what it means to do “an honest day’s work.” Prospective employers can take advantage of a track record of integrity, often including security clearances. This integrity translates into qualities of sincerity and trustworthiness.
- Conscious of health and safety standards Thanks to extensive training, veterans are aware of health and safety protocols both for themselves and the welfare of others. Individually, they represent a drug-free workforce that is cognizant of maintaining personal health and fitness. On a company level, their awareness and conscientiousness translate into protection of employees, property and materials.
- Triumph over adversity
In addition to dealing positively with the typical issues of personal maturity, veterans have frequently triumphed over great adversity. They likely have proven their mettle in mission critical situations demanding endurance, stamina and flexibility. They may have overcome personal disabilities through strengths and determination
And this is all very good news for Delaware’s economy, employers, and veteran job seekers. Employers are constantly noting they can’t find quality people. Here is a ready pool of quality applicants waiting to be given a shot.
The other complaint is of that veterans, while good applicants, do not have the correct skill match for today’s jobs. While that may be partially true, it is also a bit hokum. Most veterans come with training money from the GI Bill and college funds from the individual services that could be used by veterans to train for a job when hired.
Anyway, Delaware employers and veterans are positioned for mutual success if they could only find each other – more on that late.