On Wednesday I spent 3 hours on The Intrepid talking to people attending NBC’s Hiring Our Heroes event. I spoke to veterans and also many of the employees there representing Corporate America. Thanks to NBC and The Chamber of Commerce for their efforts in helping our deserving heroes.
Ok, having said that, I have to tell you I was disappointed in the way many of our country’s largest corporations handled this effort. Yes, they were there handing out their promotional material but I wonder how many job seekers got a head start in getting the jobs they need so badly? One homeless woman vet I talked to was seeking a job as a driver. She was asked lots of questions about her experience and skills and then bluntly told “we can’t use you in our company”.
As I made my way from table to table on the huge aircraft carrier, I asked the reps of these different company’s what specifically they were doing for female veterans. Many of them didn’t have an answer. The party line was tell them to go to our website and check out our job boards and fill out an online application. Really? Did we really need to be there to hear those profound words?
Many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans leave the active-duty military only to find that their skills are not understood by civilian employers. Right now the unemployment rate for returning veterans is north of 17%.
More than a third of employers surveyed by Military.com were unaware that under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), many of the troops still experience employment discrimination because of their military service.
So yes, Corporate America is on this Hire Our Vets bandwagon, but how many are really following through in the best way for our vets? It sure looks good for their corporate image to be supporting this cause, but it takes more than a smile and handing out a brochure to fix this problem.
Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family. Our goal is successful re-integration to civilian life.